Caught

 

by Harlan Coben

 

Dutton

 

Reader Appeal: Older teens and adults

 

Genre: Thriller/mystery

 

When Haley McWaid's parents awake to discover that their teenaged daughter never came home the night before, they're alarmed. When she remains missing without a trace or clue for several months, they're fraught with anxiety.

 

Around the time of Haley's disappearance, a social worker named Dan Mercer is caught on a reality TV show, apparently trying to meet a young girl he's met online. The reporter who set up this sting, Wendy Tynes, is sure of herself when she goes to catch Dan on camera...but becomes uncertain of what she's done when she witnesses Dan's brutal murder. Did she go after the wrong guy? Was she actually an unknowing helper in this crime?

 

These two stories intertwine in Harlen Coben's usual twisty manner, leaving readers to turn the pages as quickly as possible to find out exactly what's going on. While this isn't a Myron Bolitar story (Coben's usual hero), the book does bring in a number of characters that readers have met in previous books. The fast-paced story is relatively clean (only mild profanities and no descriptive sexual content), and features themes of forgiveness, grace, and redemption. Those who can't take "child in peril" stories may want to think twice before reading this one, but anyone who enjoys a thriller that keeps you guessing will love Caught.

 

Let’s Talk About It

 

If your family members are interested in this book, then encourage discussion about it afterward. You can use these questions to get started:

 

• The key characters in this story deal with forgiveness in very different ways. List characters who had a reason to be angry and hold a grudge, and how they dealt with their emotions. Which of these characters do you most relate to, and why?

 

• One set of parents in this story makes several bad decisions, one leading to another. Consider their initial decision that started all the trouble. They believed their intentions were right. What's your opinion? How can parents provide safe fun for their teens?

 

• Teens in this story have various secrets from their parents. How private should the life of a teenager be?

 

--AN

 

Note: All book or comics-related graphics in this column are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.

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