The Stranger

The Stranger

Hardcover | March 24, 2015

byHarlan Coben

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#1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense Harlan Coben delivers his most shocking thriller yet, proving that a well-placed lie can help build a wonderful life—and a secret has the same explosive power to destroy it.
 
The Stranger appears out of nowhere, perhaps in a bar, or a parking lot, or at the grocery store. His identity is unknown. His motives are unclear. His information is undeniable. Then he whispers a few words in your ear and disappears, leaving you picking up the pieces of your shattered world.
 
Adam Price has a lot to lose: a comfortable marriage to a beautiful woman, two wonderful sons, and all the trappings of the American Dream: a big house, a good job, a seemingly perfect life.
 
Then he runs into the Stranger. When he learns a devastating secret about his wife, Corinne, he confronts her, and the mirage of perfection disappears as if it never existed at all. Soon Adam finds himself tangled in something far darker than even Corinne’s deception, and realizes that if he doesn’t make exactly the right moves, the conspiracy he’s stumbled into will not only ruin lives—it will end them.

The Stranger

Hardcover | March 24, 2015
Out of stock online Available in select stores
$32.95

From the Publisher

#1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense Harlan Coben delivers his most shocking thriller yet, proving that a well-placed lie can help build a wonderful life—and a secret has the same explosive power to destroy it.   The Stranger appears out of nowhere, perhaps in a bar, or a parking lot, or at the grocery store. His identity i...

With over 70 million books in print worldwide, Harlan Coben is the internationally bestselling author of more than twenty-five previous novels. His last nine consecutive novels have all debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and lists around the world. His books are published in 43 languages around the globe and have been ...

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see all books by Harlan Coben
Format:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 9.25 × 6.31 × 1.41 inPublished:March 24, 2015Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0525953507

ISBN - 13:9780525953500

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Chapter 1The stranger didn’t shatter Adam’s world all at once. That was what Adam Price would tell himself later, but that was a lie. Adam somehow knew right away, right from the very first sentence, that the life he had known as a content suburban married father of two was forever gone. It was a simple sentence  on  the  face  of  it,  but there was  something   in  the  tone, something  knowing  and  even  caring,  that  let Adam  know  that nothing  would ever be the same. “You didn’t have to stay with her,” the stranger said. They were in the American Legion Hall in Cedarfield, New Jersey. Cedarfield was a town loaded up with wealthy hedge fund managers and bankers and other financial masters-of-the-universe types. They liked to drink  beer in the American  Legion Hall  be- cause  it was  comfortable slumming,  a way  to  pretend  that  they were  salt-of-the-earth good  ol’ boys,  like something  in a Dodge Ram commercial, when they were anything  but. Adam stood by the sticky bar. There was a dartboard behind him. Neon signs advertised Miller Lite, but Adam had a bottle of Budweiser in his right hand.  He turned to the man, who had just sidled up to him, and even though Adam already knew the answer, he asked the man, “Are you talking to me?” The guy was younger than most of the fathers, thinner, almost gaunt, with big, piercing blue eyes. His arms were white and reedy with a hint of a tattoo showing beneath one of the short sleeves. He was wearing a baseball cap. He wasn’t quite a hipster, but there was something of a wonk attitude coming off him, like some guy who ran a tech department and never saw the sun. The  piercing  blue  eyes held Adam’s  with  an  earnestness  that made  him  want  to  turn  away. “She told you she was pregnant, right?” Adam felt his grip on the bottle tighten. “That’s why you stayed. Corinne told you she was pregnant.” It was right then that Adam felt some kind of switch go off in his chest, as if someone had tripped the red digital timer on some movie bomb and now it had started to tick down. Tick, tick, tick, tick. “Do I know you?” Adam asked. “She told you she was pregnant,” the stranger continued. “Corinne, I mean. She told you she was pregnant and then she lost the baby.” The American Legion Hall was loaded up with town dads sporting those white baseball T-shirts with the three-quarter sleeves and either baggy cargo shorts or perfectly no-assed Dad jeans. Lots of them wore baseball caps. Tonight was the fourth-, fifth-, and sixth- grade boys’ lacrosse draft and A-team selections. If you ever wanted to witness type As behaving as such in their natural habitat, Adam thought, watch when parents get involved in their own offsprings’ team selections. The Discovery Channel should film this. “You felt obligated to stay, am I right?” the man asked. “I don’t know who the hell—” “She lied, Adam.” The younger man spoke with such conviction, not just as though he knew for certain but that, at the end of the day, he had Adam’s best interest at heart. “Corinne made it all up. She was never pregnant.” The words kept landing like punches, dazing Adam, sapping his resistance, leaving him shaken and confused and ready to take a standing  eight count. He wanted to fight back, grab the guy by the shirt, toss him across the room for insulting his wife like this. But he didn’t for two reasons. One, there was the whole  dazed-like-taking-punches, sapped- resistance thing. Two, something about the way the man spoke, something about the guy’s confident tone, the damn conviction in his voice, made Adam start thinking it might be smartest to listen. “Who are you?” Adam asked. “Does it matter?” “Yeah, it does.” “I’m the stranger,” he said. “The stranger with important knowledge. She lied to you, Adam. Corinne.  She was never pregnant. It was all a ruse to get you back.” Adam shook his head. He swam through, tried to stay rational and calm. “I saw the pregnancy test.” “Fake.” “I saw the sonogram.” “Again fake.” He held up a hand before Adam could say more. “And yes, so was the stomach.  Or should I say stomachs.  Once Corinne started to show, you never saw her naked, right? What did she do, claim some kind of late-night sickness so you wouldn’t have sex? That’s what happens most times.  So when the miscarriage occurs, you can kinda look back on the whole thing and realize the pregnancy was difficult right from the start.” A booming voice from the other side of the hall called out, “Okay, guys, grab a fresh beer and let’s get this show on the road.” The voice belonged to Tripp Evans, the president of the lacrosse league, a former Madison Avenue ad exec and a pretty good guy. The other dads started to grab aluminum chairs, the kind you use for your kid’s school concert, from a rack and placed them in a circle around the room. Tripp Evans looked over at Adam, spotted the undoubtedly pale expression on his face, and frowned his concern. Adam shook him off and turned back to the stranger. “Who the hell are you?” “Think of me as your savior. Or like the friend who just released you from prison.” “You’re full of crap.” All conversation had pretty much ended.  The voices were hushed now, the sounds of scraping chairs echoing in the still hall. The fathers were getting their game faces on for the draft. Adam hated this. He wasn’t even supposed to be here—Corinne was. She was the treasurer of the lacrosse board, but her school had changed the scheduling of her teachers’ conference in Atlantic City, and even though this was the biggest day of the year for Cedarfield lacrosse— indeed the main reason Corinne had become so active—Adam had been forced to step in for her. “You should be thanking me,” the man said. “What are you talking about?” For the first time, the man smiled. It was, Adam couldn’t help but notice, a kind smile, the smile of a healer, of a man who just wants to do the right thing. “You’re free,” the stranger said. “You’re a liar.” “You know better, don’t you, Adam?” From across the room, Tripp Evans called, “Adam?” He turned toward them. Everyone was seated now except Adam and the stranger. “I have to go now,” the stranger whispered. “But if you really need proof, check your Visa card.  Look for a charge to Novelty Funsy.” “Wait—” “One more thing.” The man leaned in close. “If I were you, I’d probably run DNA tests on your two boys.” Tick, tick, tick . . . ka-boom. “What?” “I have no evidence on that, but when a woman is willing to lie about something like this, well, it’s a pretty good bet it isn’t her first time.” And then, with Adam dazed anew by this final accusation, the stranger hurried out the door.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for The Stranger"Coben describes Adam’s search for the truth behind these allegations — and the identity of the person who made them — with masterly skill, springing surprises, raising stakes, seamlessly integrating other victims of the 'stranger' into Adam’s tale. He’s also a smooth, funny writer."-- New York Times Book Review"This page-turner is one stranger that readers will want to meet." -- Associated Press"Seamless storytelling at a breathtaking pace." -- Houston Chronicle "Coben can always be relied on to generate thrills from the simplest premises, but his finest tales maintain a core of logic throughout the twists. This 100-proof nightmare ranks among his most potent." -- Kirkus, starred review"Coben’s latest stand-alone is a great story for people who like to examine the ephemeral nature of those strings that bind our dreams to our reality." -- Library Journal""The Stranger" isn’t just a great thriller, it’s a stunningly effective, probative novel about one man’s search, essentially, for his own identity…Flat-out great and not to be missed.” -- Providence Journal"Master of 'the hook'" -- Charlotte Observer“[A]nother suspenseful thriller whose gripping and intricate plot is completely plausible, and chilling.” — Huffington Post“[T]horoughly entertaining.” — Publishers Weekly Praise for Harlan Coben and his novels“Coben is simply one of the all-time greats—pick up any one of his thrillers and you’ll find a riveting, twisty, surprising story with a big, beating heart at its core.”  —Gillian Flynn, bestselling author of Gone Girl "Once again, Coben has brilliantly used a current trend, in this case Internet dating, to create a can't-put-it-down thriller." —Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Missing You "Coben... has written another twisty ripped-from-the-headlines page-turning stand-alone that could be his best yet." — Library Journal (starred review) on Missing You "Once again, Coben has expertly constructed and then dismantled a time bomb of a plot." —Booklist on Missing You "Missing You is another winner in Coben's stack of winners." — Huffington Post "This is a dive-in, lose-sleep and miss-your-bus-stop reading experience." — Associated Press on Missing You “The narrative is immersive, and the well-drawn characters and twisting plotting are stellar. With such a cool hook and a surprising and satisfying payoff, don’t wait six years to read what might be Coben’s best since Tell No One.” —Library Journal (starred review) on Six Years “Any new book from Coben is a cause for celebration, and one as good as Six Years is cause for jubilation.” —The Huffington Post “With Six Years, the author shows once more how it’s done. . . . The beauty of Coben’s craftsmanship here is how often he can lure us into not perceiving what’s clearly right in front of our eyes.” —The Washington Post “A Harlan Coben Home Run. Stunningly effective. This is Coben’s Vertigo, his masterpiece.” —Providence Sunday Journal on Six Years "Energetic and action-packed, this is one of those novels that has you flipping pages at warp speed.” —USA Today on Six Years “A tour de force stand-alone . . . satisfying on every level.” —Booklist (starred review) on Stay Close