by Harlan Coben
Grand Central Publishing, March 2021, $29.00

Harlan Coben’s Win brings exactly what any longtime reader might hope—as much Windsor Horne Lockwood III as they could ask for. Usually appearing as longtime protagonist Myron Bolitar’s best friend and darker half, this book marks Win’s first solo outing. Myron himself never appears in person, though he is mentioned and Win often comes very close to contacting him; his presence lingers around the characters’ lives like a ghost.

So, for those uninitiated, who exactly is Win? Imagine Batman with little to no moral compass, a comparison our hero himself makes. Though as wealthy and skilled in hand-to-hand combat as the Caped Crusader, Win is snarkier, much more pleased with himself, and absolutely unopposed to killing. Though his tendency for violence is often self-serving, it’s also, more or less, usually for a good purpose. In this particular tale, that purpose is in service to his family.

When a stolen painting that had been missing for decades reemerges in a murdered man’s apartment, Win is called to the scene. It is, as it turns out, his family’s painting. Not only that, in the dead man’s closet is a distinctive suitcase with Win’s initials on it. How is the Lockwood family connected to this mysterious stranger, a man so cut off from the world no one ever saw him come or go? As Win dives in to investigate, he uncovers mystery after mystery—both in the case and in his family’s scattered past. He has a father who is aging and forgetful, but intent on protecting the family name; a mother long gone; and a cousin even more connected to the suitcase and the painting than Win. Years ago, cousin Patricia was kidnapped on the night of her father’s murder. She took only one bag with her—the very same bag, it turns out, that was found in the victim’s apartment.

The more he uncovers, the more the murders seem somehow connected and the less, perhaps, Win might really wish to know.

Win is a twisty, well-told tale with the sort of plot only Coben can deliver with such ease. The reader will be left guessing until the very last reveal and utterly charmed by the amoral rake of a main character they get to take that twisty joyride with. This looks like the start of a fun spin-off series with a fascinating character—a win, indeed.

Margaret Agnew
Teri Duerr
March 2021
Grand Central Publishing