Dutton, Apr 2008, $26.95
In Glen Rock, New Jersey, the recent suicide of teenager Spencer Hill has sent shockwaves throughout the community as parents wonder could their offspring follow suit and teens ponder what they could have done differently to prevent the tragedy. Since Spencer killed himself, his classmate, sixteen years old Adam Bave has been acting strange as he shows no enthusiasm for anything at all. His aloofness would have been ignored as a teen thing by his parents, Tia and Mike, but with the Spencer death they fear their child could be depressed and perhaps be the next suicide. Panic stricken as they debate security vs. privacy, the Bave pair place spy ware on their son’s hard drive.
A few days after their intrusion, Tia and Mike begin feeling a bit better and silly as nothing out of ordinary has happened until a message from an unknown source menacingly states: "Just stay quiet and all safe". At the same time a grieving Betsy Hill, Spencer’s mom keeps asking her self how she failed to see the signs; as she goes through an on-line memorial until one photograph stuns her; on the night her beloved son killed himself, neighbor Adam Bave or someone who looks similar is standing nearby her son.
Harlan Coben is at his best with this intimidating one sitting thriller that has the audience pondering on different levels security vs. privacy. Adding to the overall discomfit levels caused by this deep chiller is the knowledge the setting can be just about anywhere in the States as Glen Rock happens to be a suburb of New York City. However what makes HOLD TIGHT a strong suspense is not the menace though this culprit is frighteningly deadly and dangerous; it is the Bave parents’ dealing with the choice of to intrude or not to intrude that on a family level parallels the 9/11 to eavesdrop or not to eavesdrop. Readers will believe they could be the Bave or Hill family as Mr. Coben writes a thought-provoking timely profound thriller.