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Now in our tenth calendar year!
PCR #469 (Vol. 10, No. 12). This edition is for the week of March 16--22, 2009.

"Knowing"  by Mike Smith
Gasparilla Film Festival 2009: Bill Grefe  by ED Tucker
Book Review: Hold Tight  Harlan Coben  by Lisa Scherer Ciurro
Cutler Wants Out .... World Baseball Classic .... A-rod Caught Kissing……a-rod .... Stallworth In Trouble .... Joey Galloway Joins Patriots .... .... .... u  by Chris Munger
Rondo Voting Ends Midnite 3/21 .... .... .... o  by Matt Drinnenberg
Passing On .... Captain Crunch Or Honeycomb? .... The End Of Newsprint? .... .... .... .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2... a  by Mike Smith
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FANGRRL by Lisa Scherer Ciurro

Book Review:
Hold Tight
Harlan Coben

Plot Summary:

Bad things happen to other people – bad people. Other families have tragedies and secrets. Other neighborhoods – dangerous neighborhoods in the bad part of town – have gangs and drugs and crimes.

In Hold Tight, author Harlan Coben reminds us of the unsettling truth that nothing is really "safe" in this world. Anything can happen to anyone at any time.

It was all so damn fragile – that was the thing. Obvious, sure, but for the most part we block – we refuse to think about how easily our lives could be torn asunder, because when we recognize it, we lose our minds. The ones who are fearful all the time, who need to medicate to function? It is because they understand the reality, how thin the line is. It isn't that they can't accept the truth – it's that they can't block it.

Mike and Tia Baye have it all – successful careers, two happy kids, a nice home in a safe, pleasant neighborhood – until all of a sudden they don't. Two women are viciously murdered by an unstable psychopath with distant, unknown – but present nonetheless – connections to their family. Their eleven-year-old daughter Jill is troubled over a disturbing incident at school. One of the patients Mike Baye sees at his medical practice is his next-door neighbor, a kid who desperately needs a kidney transplant but probably isn't going to get one because of his family's secrets. Their sixteen-year-old son Adam has become increasingly withdrawn and sullen since the recent suicide of his best friend.

Deciding that safety trumps privacy, the Bayes install tracking software on Adam's computer. Now they can see every website visited, every instant message, every email sent or received. Now they can monitor his communications and understand his moodiness. Now they can protect him, prevent bad things from happening, and keep their family safe. Or can they?

About the Author:

Harlan Coben is a New York Times-bestselling author and the creator of the popular Myron Bolitar mystery series. In addition to winning the Edgar, Shamus and Anthony awards, Coben hold the distinction of being the writer to win all three.

What I Liked:

I liked the way Coben incorporated current technology to create realistic suspense and intrigue. GPS, keyloggers, wireless networks, Google, MySpace, texting, IMs, Blackberrys, cyberstalking, online bullying, computer hacking and blogging are things most people have at least read about, if not directly experienced or used themselves.

Woven throughout the different plotlines is the overriding theme that danger is always lurking behind the seemingly safe normalcy of ordinary life. For the most part, Coben's characters are regular people doing the best they can to deal with what fate gives them. Just like in real life, there are good choices and bad choices, smart responses and dumb actions, and everything can turn on a dime. I find that far more frightening than the boogeyman or Michael Myers.

What I Disliked:

It takes quite a while for the different storylines presented throughout the book to converge; unfortunately, several of those last-minute connections seemed forced and quite frankly, unwelcome. The plotline transitions in the beginning of the book were jarring and difficult to follow, but the quick jumps at the end were worse: annoying and unsatisfying.

Bottom Line:
Hold Tight was vastly different than what the back book cover blurb promised, but the suspense is still there. Despite the disappointing ending, the first two-thirds of the book were intriguing and entertaining enough for me to say that I enjoyed reading it

Rating: B

"FANGRRL" is ©2009 by Lisa Scherer Ciurro.   All graphics, except where otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova.