Harlan Coben writes his first novel for the young adults. He takes a minor character from his last book, Live Wire, making him the main character in Shelter: A Mickey Bolitar Novel. Fifteen-year-old Mickey Bolitar has gone through a tragedy. His father has died in a car accident. In the aftermath, his mother has turned to drugs and is now in rehab forcing Mickey to move in with his uncle Myron. He is in a new city going to a new school.
Ashley is also new to the school. Because of their circumstances, Mickey and Ashley become fast friends. After several weeks Ashley disappears. The mystery begins.
Walking to school each day, Mickey passes an old house where an old lady, nicknamed “The Bat Lady,” lives. Who is she? Will we find out?
Mickey has made other friends. Spoon is the son of the school janitor. Ema is an overweight goth, dressing in black. Rachel is an attractive girl who is attracted to Mickey, and who seems to be connected to Ashley’s disappearance.
There are a few events in Shelter that stretch believability. One is where Spoon’s dad, the school janitor, loans Spoon his keys so they can get into the school after it is closed. The second, near the end of the book, Mickey, Ema, and Rachel are able to enter a go-go dance club through the front door. Three tenth graders are allowed into this club. But both of these are essential to the plot.
The plot is compelling. I finished one chapter, and I immediately wanted to know what the next chapter had to say.
Shelter is a very good book, and I strongly recommend it for young adult readers who enjoy mysteries.
Thanks Howard for you review!