The Match by Harlan Coben [5/10]

Harlan Coben is a legend among thriller writers, penning 31 books by now, starting with his wonderful Myron Bolitar series and lately triumphing with one-offs that have spawned five successful Netflix series. He is a polished writer in the school of “less is more,” with an entertaining turn in sardonic dialogue, and his plotting is nonpareil. All those strengths are on full display in “The Match“. It is the second book to feature Wilde, “the boy from the woods,” an accomplished ex-soldier who prefers to reside in the wilderness. In this outing, Wilde follows up leads toward his unknown parents, at the same time as an altruistic hacker group targeting vicious trolls attracts a serial killer. The Match is a rocket of a read, and in time-honored fashion, the author provides plot twist upon plot twist until a denouement that wraps up all the loose ends. So, yes, a fun read, but this reader parsed the final para and looked back on the careening plot and wondered, “what was the point?” Marrying DNA, social media trolling, hacking, and a cast revolving around unknowable Wilde … all these plot elements served to mystify but never cohered with any overarching logic. The characters disappeared into a warm bath of baffling turns of logic. Reader, I was disappointed, but I turned the pages.

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