Harlan Coben (born January 4, 1962) is an American author of mystery novels and thriller. The plots of his novels often involve the resurfacing of unresolved or misinterpreted events in the past (such as murders, fatal accidents, etc.) and often have multiple plot twists. Both series of Coben's books are set in and around New York and New Jersey, and some of the supporting characters in the two series have appeared in both.
Coben was born to a Jewish family in Newark, New Jersey, but was raised and schooled in Livingston, New Jersey with childhood friend and future politician Chris Christie. While studying political science at Amherst College, he was a member of Psi Upsilon fraternity with author Dan Brown. After Amherst, Coben worked in the travel industry, in a company owned by his grandfather. He now lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey with his wife, Anne Armstrong-Coben MD, a pediatrician, and their four children.
Coben was in his senior year at college when he realized he wanted to write. His first book was accepted when he was twenty-six but after publishing two stand-alone thrillers in his twenties (Play Dead in 1990 and Miracle Cure in 1991) he decided on a change of direction and began a series of thrillers featuring his character Myron Bolitar. The novels of the popular series follow the tales of a former basketball player turned sports agent (Bolitar), who often finds himself investigating murders involving his clients.
Coben has won an Edgar Award, a Shamus Award and an Anthony Award, and is the first writer to have received all three. He is also the first writer in more than a decade to be invited to write fiction for the New York Times op-ed page. He wrote a short story entitled The Key to my Father, which appeared June 15, 2003.
In 2001 he released his first stand-alone thriller since the creation of the Myron Bolitar series in 1995, Tell No One, which went on to be his best selling novel to date. Film director Guillaume Canet made the book into a French thriller, Ne le dis à personne in 2006. Coben followed Tell No One with six more stand-alone novels. His 2008 novel Hold Tight was released on April 15, 2008 and became his first book to debut at No. 1 on the New York Times Best Seller list. Although this is another stand-alone novel, Coben commented on his official website that certain key characters from The Woods will make brief appearances. His most recent work, Long Lost, featured a return of Myron Bolitar and also debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times Bestseller List.