“It’s a Library So it’s Perfectly Okay to Check You Out!” Coben Turns a Public Library into a Cheesy Public Bar

Six yearsSix Years, Harlan Coben

This isn’t Coben’s best standalone storyline novel but what I did love about Six Years though, was the library bar that they visited a few times where Coben has turned an old library into a cheesy public bar.  This a quite interesting setting where once an hour a loud Shssshhh would come over the loud speakers and staff must take off their glasses, let down their hair and move their head like the stereotypical fantasy librarian movements.  I remember working for Marie’s Pizza back in the second half of the 90s and Pizza
Hut brought out these terrible commercials with Dougie the Pizza boy and every time you were out on the road some loser would think it was funny and they were original to yell Dougie! There’s quite a few cheesy library related pick up lines in Six Years and I imagine in the library over the next couple of months we’ll be hearing quite a few them such as “it’s a library so it’s perfectly okay to check you out.”

Six Years commercially seems to be one of Coben’s most successful novels, and
according to USA Today and other websites’ news columns who reported it back on
March 18, this one is also going to be turned into a movie, with Hugh Jackman
rumoured to play the book’s narrator and main character, Jack Sanders. I could
see Six Years being a decent movie and I will definitely check it out, but for
me though, although this book was still a good read and very enjoyable, it’s not
in the masterpiece league of some of his previous standalone story novels. It
also lacks the put yourself in the main character’s shoes factor, simply because
Jack firstly is a huge guy who has Myron Bolitar over the top style fighting
skills, and secondly because he keeps on with his obsession even when it
endangers the lives of many people around him, including innocent kids, and
there doesn’t seem to be any payoff for him or valid reason to do so other than
seeing a girl he was obsessed with again. In fact this factor also makes Jack a
bit of an unlikeable character. I also can’t see other people in real life wanting to help a guy
who comes across as a bit of an obsessed stalker. “So Jack when did you last see
this woman?” “On her wedding day when she came up to me after the ceremony and
made me promise to leave her alone.” I don’t think too many people would help a
clearly obsessed guy look for a woman after that is revealed simply because
you’d be concerned for her welfare if he actually did find her.

There were a few minor plot inconsistencies or holes but the novel was enjoyable
enough not to impact on the overall story. It also probably tries too hard to
pay homage to the Myron series with Jack thinking too much Myron like in the
fight scenes such as 99% of people would expect a person in this situation to do
this, so I will do the opposite. Also sleeping with a woman named Windy to pay
homage to Win was a little too obvious. Readers really should be thinking about the
plot of the story they are reading not have their minds stimulated to think of
other books as they’re turning the pages of a supposed to be standalone story. The
two aspects that I thought brought down the overall satisfaction though was the probably
slowest start and longest time to get to any action of any of his standalone
novels. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if those reading Coben for the first time, would stop reading before the better stuff starts.  The biggest fault though is the epilogue (called one year later). It is simply ridiculous after the former events of the novel and something no one with any intelligence would do.