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Hold Tight

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Cassandra is the sister of Joe Lewiston, and had another brother named Curtis, who was murdered in an assumed robbery.

There are the parents desperately seeking a kidney donor before it is too late to save their son from an early death. But I have to wonder what Coben's personal obsession is with having all the characters in his books marry their first love (aw shucks, how sweet), having these marriages end almost never in divorce but in the untimely death of a partner, having those who cheat duly (and violently) punished for straying, and constantly reminding readers that his couples keep no secrets from each other and, when they do, are likewise punished. Tell No One, Gone for Good, No Second Chance, Just One Look, The Innocent, The Wods, Hold Tight, and Caught. So many characters, so many plot lines, it was hard to keep track of what was going on and who was doing what to whom. As the boy’s doctor, Mike suddenly finds himself in possession of an explosive secret that threatens to rip the Loriman family apart at the seams.As part of my recent Christopher Bram novel rereading binge, I was surprised by how much of the horrible and violent scenes that I forgot. Chapter Twenty-Eight gets even more curvy with Mike, the missing Adam's father, getting picked up by the FBI for questioning. There's some good material in here about the love lives of gay men before the Kinsey Report, before the Mattachine Society, and certainly before Stonewall. But, it is a compelling novel that follows a handful of endearing and despicable characters, very well-etched, whose thoughts are brilliantly presented in the intimate third-person, and the way they regard and understand each other makes for wonderful drama. Fluent, cinematic, engaging writing as usual (although I wonder if he lets a couple get together in any of his books now).

Discuss: Mo feels that, "all parents spy on their kids in some ways" such as checking on their grades and that "this isn't a republic.The story takes an unexpectedly dark and serious turn in the second act, one that I felt unprepared for, and the shift to self-serious is where the story remains. Oh wait, this last guy is more of a stereotype in gay erotica than in respectable (or “respectable”) literature, Genet possibly excepted; and since the sailor carries a lot of the emotional and moral weight of the novel, I’ll give Bram a point there. There are so many spies in this story that I had a very rough time deciding which were the good ones on our side and which ones were the bad guy.

I’ll limit myself to admiration for the novel’s superb pacing, which leads up to a chapter (the twentieth) which is a virtuoso scene of cinematic jump-cutting, complete with background soundtrack provided by Gene Krupa and Benny Goodman. These minor errs in judgment are completely cast aside when some of his IM conversations begin getting cryptic and seem to suggest their son might be getting involved in something a tad too dangerous and potentially illegal along with the son of the neighborhood cop, always a bad sign as those kids end up either total punks or policeman themselves, an undesirable fate either way.Immediately Chapter One had me wondering who Marianne was, why she was so sad, what she'd screwed up and how she was going to get out of it all. All of these elements eventually converge to form the sort of hokey climax which can be expected of the typical NY Times Bestseller in this day and age. Ultimately, the reason I gave the book two and not three stars is because of a particular plot development that is really quite a cliche. In this day and age of NetFlix ORIGINAL series I could see the story made into such with the characters, Hank, Juke and Erich, as the leading stars.

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