Book Review

Win by Harlan Coben

Over twenty years ago, heiress Patricia Lockwood was abducted during a robbery of her family’s estate, then locked inside an isolated cabin for months. Patricia escaped, but so did her captors, and the items stolen from her family were never recovered.

Until now.

On New York’s Upper West Side, a recluse is found murdered in his penthouse apartment, alongside two objects of note: a stolen Vermeer painting and a leather suitcase bearing the initials WHL3. For the first time in years, the authorities have a lead not only on Patricia’s kidnapping but also on another FBI cold case – with the suitcase and painting both pointing them towards one man.

Windsor Horne Lockwood III – or Win as his few friends call him – doesn’t know how his suitcase and his family’s stolen painting ended up in this dead man’s apartment. But he’s interested – especially when the FBI tell him that the man who kidnapped his cousin was also behind an act of domestic terrorism, and that he may still be at large.

The two cases have baffled the FBI for decades. But Win has three things the FBI does not: a personal connection to the case, a large fortune, and his own unique brand of justice…


Harlan Coben is an author who is new to me although I’ve seen the Netflix adaptations of The Stranger (which I really enjoyed) as well as Safe which was created by Coben but not based upon one of his novels. It’s fair to say that if Win is anything to go by I’ve been missing out.  It’s as clever as I expected based on the aforementioned shows and features a brilliant main character.  I thoroughly enjoyed this, and while it may be my first Coben it certainly won’t be my last.

Windsor Horne Lockwood III – Win – is a great protagonist, and one of the best antiheroes I’ve read for a long time.  Win is rich (and I do mean RICH) – he comes from old money and makes no bones about his circumstances.  He’s good looking – something else he likes to remind the reader – and, as you’ve no doubt gathered, has an incredible ego.  While some would wallow in the luxurious lifestyle afforded to them, Win does at least put his not inconsiderable resources to good use in obtaining vigilante justice – righting wrongs where he feels that the system isn’t doing what it should.  His wealth allows him the luxury of travel, enabling him to study various martial arts from around the world giving him an edge in a fight and, despite not being the biggest, he knows how to handle himself. 

Don’t I sound a bit like Batman?

If you think about it, Bruce Wayne’s only superpower was tremendous wealth.”

Like I said, Win has ego in spades, and while he’d never be so crass as to adopt an alter ego, I think he revels in the comparison he makes here.  He’s a great character – not entirely likeable, perhaps, but I do love to see someone seeking vigilante justice on behalf of those who can’t obtain it for themselves. 

The plot is fantastic and begins with the death of a reclusive man who is in possession of an original Vermeer that was stolen from Win’s family years ago.  From this intriguing start, the plot moves quickly and becomes increasingly complex as Win discovers more about the recluse. I raced through it. Each chapter begs you to read ‘just one more’ and I desperately wanted to know the outcome to both the main plot but also the wonderful subplots that are introduced as Win tries to get to the bottom of who this man his, why he has his painting, and how it relates to his cousin’s kidnapping on the night of the robbery.  I won’t go into the plot in any more detail than that – this really is a novel that you need to dive into and discover for yourselves. 

As mentioned, I’ve not read any of Coben’s novels, but I’m aware that Win won’t be a new character to long-time fans due to his appearance as a secondary character in the Myron Bolitar series, although this is the first – I believe – where Win has been given his own novel.  I didn’t find myself disadvantaged by having not read any of Coben’s previous novels, so don’t be put off if you’re tempted by this one but aren’t sure if it’s a good place to start. 

Win is a hugely enjoyable, fast paced read that I devoured in no time at all.  I really like Coben’s style and the wit that’s apparent in his writing and in Win he has created a fantastic antihero who’d I’d be more than happy to join again on further adventures.  A brilliantly entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable read.

Win will be published by Century on 18 March in the UK (16 March in the US).  Huge thanks to Becke Parker for providing an early copy for review. 

10 comments

    1. I loved it! I can’t compare it to his others, but I’ll definitely be trying more of his!

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