That makes him an obvious person to help when his godson, Sweet Water High School student Matthew Crimstein, expresses concern to his grandmother, attorney Hester Crimstein, that his bullied classmate Naomi Pine has gone missing. But Hester, taking the time from her criminal defense of financial consultant Simon Greene Run Away, to worm the details out of him, asks Wilde to lend a hand, and sure enough, Wilde, unearthing an unsavory backstory that links Naomi to bullying classmate Crash Maynard, whose TV producer father, Dash Maynard, is close friends with reality TV star—turned—presidential hopeful Rusty Eggers, finds Naomi hale and hearty. And this time, so does Crash after a brief visit to Matthew in which he tearfully confesses his guilt about the bad stuff he did to Naomi. This second disappearance veers into more obviously criminal territory with the arrival of a ransom note that demands, not money, but the allegedly incriminating videotapes of Rusty Eggers that Dash and Delia Maynard have had squirreled away for 30 years. Readers who can tune out all the subplots will find the kidnappers easy to spot, but Coben finds room for three climactic surprises, one of them a honey.
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Now with a cute owl for your enjoyment. He had smoked a second marijuana joint and he felt strong enough to climb on all fours the Himalayas as long as Laura paid attention to him. For a moment he was tempted to return to the cave where they had stored the wine. He restrained himself because there was no drug strong enough to make him lose the respect of his elders.
Unlike most other literary prizes, where already-published books are submitted to a jury by publishers, the Premio Alfaguara solicits manuscripts from the Spanish-speaking world including the United States , with pseudonyms and alternate titles given in place of author and work.
Caracol Beach is a compact, sometimes surrealistic novel whose action takes place at a ritzy Florida beach in He is haunted by a yellow Bengal tiger with wings who visits him in waking nightmares, pressuring him to seek suicide and failing at that task.
It is also a story of a tragic teen love triangle whose grisly end is foretold from the beginning chapters with remarks similar to the passage quoted above. However, Caracol Beach is more than the sum of its parts. Each of these elements blends together to create something vital and moving for its readers. As we witness his degradation and descent into full-blown madness, or as the tiger becomes more and more "real" on-page, the tragedy of his imminent dissolution becomes inevitable.
Yet like a rubber-necking driver going past a deadly crash, we read on with fascination. What in the hell is this crazy fucker going to do? From there, the policeman Sam Ramos is belatedly put on the trail after his deputy screws things up. But Ramos has connections with this unfolding violent tragedy that go far beyond trying to prevent the fateful denouement promised for several of the actors involved.
Chance and Fate are the twin themes of Caracol Beach. What an intricate web of connections that are revealed as the story unfolds; a single conversation shifts the course of action dramatically while seemingly minor actors and actresses end up playing key roles in creating the tragedy that follows. Fate looms large throughout all this, as we just know things are going to go down badly. In the hands of a less skilled writer, this could be overbearing and deleterious to the overall narrative flow.
While we know what is going to happen, the hows and whys of that we are led to anticipate. This creates a cathartic effect similar to that achieved by the best Greek tragedians. We care what happens to that crazed soldier and to those doomed kids and we want to see what the others learn from being witnesses to their ends.
He easily shifts from elegant, descriptive scenes to powerful, damning denunciations in the course of a single paragraph. Anticipation without a suitable conclusion would ruin a work. The panorama of human life, those ties that bind and those that cut into us, is presented here wonderfully.
His co-win sets the tone for the other Premio Alfaguara winners to follow. Highly recommended and available in English translation.