Caught

CaughtI spent most of the night reading Caught by Harlan Coben. Graduate school impaired by mental abilities, and I seem to only be able to read fast-paced mysteries. I am very picky, though, and Harlan Coben is one of the few mystery writers I consistently enjoy (though he really needs to lose Win’s catch phrase). The primary characters in Caught, set in the familiar terrain of New Jersey, rotated around some of the stalwarts from Coben’s other novels. I have to admit I was a little skeptical: in the prologue a seemingly good guy is snared by a television news program as a predator trolling online chat rooms for young children. A larger theme is the conflict between intuition and data, especially in the internet age. I found this quite interesting especially since the plot of one of Coben’s other recent books, Hold Tight, also relied on cell phones and the internet. The use – or more appropriately, misuse – of the information online also drove the plot of Michael Connelly’s The Scarecrow. It is interesting to me how these books reflect our collective unease with access to our information online, yet reveal our reliance on it as well. Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, said privacy was no longer a social norm. Of course, he has a vested interest in debunking the norm of privacy, but we are complicit. After all, for example, I’m writing this on a public blog. These books seem to struggle with what happens when that norm is shattered.

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