Written by Harlan Coben

Review written by Adrian Magson

Adrian Magson is the author of 27 crime and spy thrillers. 'Death at the Old Asylum', the 8th title in the Inspector Lucas Rocco series set in 1960s France, currently in ebook, comes out in paperback on the 14th March via Canelo Books. More information:

Orion Books
RRP: £12.99
Released: 15th September 2011

M. Bolitar is back!


Sadly (for me, anyway), it isn’t Myron, the wise-cracking sports agent with the psychotic sidekick, but Mickey, his troubled nephew. With Myron playing the part of watchful uncle, and only making a couple of brief appearances, the focus is very much on the younger Bolitar, a fifteen-year-old high school student whose father is dead, his mother is in drugs rehab and he’s been lumbered with a stern and watchful Myron as his guardian.


The problem for Mickey (quite apart from the above, which would be enough for most teenagers), is that his girlfriend, Ashley, a sweet and beautiful fellow student, has gone missing. Being a Bolitar, he’s determined to find out why and where.


Of course, you and I would take the easy route and ask Uncle Myron to help out, hopefully bringing Win along for company and a little casual blood-letting, since they have the right background for this kind of stuff. But Mickey resents his uncle somewhat, and decides to do things his own way.


This soon thrusts him into a face-first meeting with a world he can barely imagine, where ‘nice’ girls like Ashley should not go and people often end of dead, and the realisation that there are simple truths in life... and then there are the real truths; and the real ones have a nasty habit of turning your world upside down.


This first in a new series has three great strengths: the first is Mickey, a sort of junior Myron (only without the all-knowing wiseass approach); the second is Ema, an overweight but engaging girl Goth and fellow high school student, and the third is Spoon, another student and general nerd who can’t take ‘go away’ for an answer. The interaction between these three disparate characters is a real delight, and forms the core of the story, driving it along nicely.


Clearly aimed (if I judge it right) at a YA audience, Shelter doesn’t forget that there is a large Myron fan base out there who might willingly overlook the idea that the new M. Bolitar on the block carries schoolbooks rather than a gun, and that mysteries don’t have to be solved by high-kicking adults with a financial genius psychopath for a friend.

I enjoyed it.

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