Drop Shot – Harlan Coben

Title – Drop Shot

Author – Harlan Coben

Published – 1996

Genre – Crime fiction

I read the first Harlan Coben / Myron Bolitar title (Deal Breaker) a few years ago, when it was one of the titles in a boxed set of mixed crime fiction from WH Smith. So for Christmas this year part of my 19 book gifts was a 10 book set of Harlan Coben titles, and I thought it about time I got around to reading some of them.

Myron Bolitar is a US sports agent, ex-basketball player, and has studied law at Harvard. He appears with two other regular characters – his partner Win (Windsor Horne Lockwood III) and his  assistant Esperanza. In Drop Shot he is representing a new star making his debut on the tennis circuit at the US Open. While Myron & Win watch their new star on the court there’s a gunshot from elsewhere in the stadium and they race to the scene only to find that the victim is Valerie Simpson – a former tennis prodigy who had recently been in touch with Myron.

Feeling in some way responsible for her death, and having his new tennis player implicated in the shooting, Myron forges ahead to investigate Valerie’s murder. Along the way he manages to uncover an unpleasant side to the tennis circuit and cross some very violent and unforgiving characters. Win plays a pivotal role in delivering justice – not necessarily with Myron’s agreement.

Myron is a proper “wise-ass”, he treats most situations, regardless of their seriousness, with humour & although it lightens the tone of the book I’m surprised that he hasn’t suffered more injuries as a result. I also find the books are very “American”. Perhaps this seems to be an odd thing to say – but some books make more references to popular culture etc than others and with the sports setting & some other references I am probably missing some of the nuances that an American reader would have no trouble with.

For me the main problem with this book was that one of the mysteries that Myron was trying to unravel seemed pretty clear to me from the outset & I found it quite irritating that the characters couldn’t see what I found to be obvious. I’m not sure if it’s just one of those chance moments where I picked up on a small clue, or whether it just wasn’t hidden carefully enough.

Let’s hope the next 8 titles are an improvement on this one!

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