Win by Harlan Coben [5/10]

Harlan Coben has always been a paragon of thriller writers to me, the one author seemingly able to conjure jackknife plots out of any human situation, always written with flair, always graced with deft characterization. But in “Win,” Coben has taken a storytelling risk that backfires. The Myron Bolitar series, eleven books strong, has buddied up the hero with an antihero facilitator, Windsor Horne Lockwood III, a super-rich, martial-arts-endowed, nerves-of-steel, amoral machine who helps out. This time Windsor, known as Win, is the protagonist in a mystery that springs open upon the discovery of a dead man in a room next to a suitcase stolen two decades earlier from the Lockwood family mansion. The book’s plot gyrations, revolving around a tragic radical leftists group and Win’s sister’s past, is suitably intriguing and unpredictable, but for this reader, Windsor’s cold unlikability and apparent indestructibility conspired to reduce a fast read to a “meh” experience. Win feels skillful but pointless.

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