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Book Club Kits: Caught

Alamance County Public Libraries offer Book Club Kits for check out to area book clubs. Each kit contains 10 copies of a book and a reading guide.

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Book Summary

From the #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense comes a fast-paced, emotion-packed novel about guilt, grief, and our capacity to forgive.

17 year-old Haley McWaid is a good girl, the pride of her suburban New Jersey family, captain of the lacrosse team, headed off to college next year with all the hopes and dreams her doting parents can pin on her. Which is why, when her mother wakes one morning to find that Haley never came home the night before, and three months quickly pass without word from the girl, the community assumes the worst.

Wendy Tynes is a reporter on a mission, to identify and bring down sexual predators via elaborate—and nationally televised—sting operations. Working with local police on her news program Caught in the Act, Wendy and her team have publicly shamed dozens of men by the time she encounters her latest target. Dan Mercer is a social worker known as a friend to troubled teens, but his story soon becomes more complicated than Wendy could have imagined.

In a novel that challenges as much as it thrills, filled with the astonishing tension and unseen suburban machinations that have become Coben’s trademark, Caught tells the story of a missing girl, the community stunned by her loss, the predator who may have taken her, and the reporter who suddenly realizes she can’t trust her own instincts about this case—or the motives of the people around her.

Read an excerpt from the novel.

Discussion Questions

  • Is Harlan Coben able to juggle all the balls he's thrown into the air in this novel? Some critics have suggested there are there simply too many characters and mysteries to keep track of...or to cohere into a taut thriller. Do you agree or disagree? Were you able to follow all the twists and turns and stay on top of the storyline?

  • Talk about the way in which Coben juxtaposes ordinary, cozy domestic details with forces of evil in the larger society. Why? What might be his purpose as an author in using this narrative technique (which he does in many of his thrillers)?

  • Of the main characters, whom do you find most sympathetic—and why? Is it Wendy Tynes, Dan Mercer, Marcia McWaid...or others?

  • What do you think about Wendy's tactics of entrapment? Is she complicit in what happens to Dan—even if what happens is for a good cause?

  • What kind of pressures does Wendy, as a female, face at the TV station? How did you feel when she was fired from her job?

  • Talk about Wendy's coming to terms with the woman driver who killed her husband? What does she come to understand?

  • The book examines the role of TV, the Internet, and social media in creating public perception. What does the book suggest is the impact of all this high-speed communication on our lives, our identities, or the truth?

  • Of all the various plot strands and mysteries—a pedophile, an embezzling scheme, a college boys’ conspiracy, a missing girl, and a dead hooker—which was most intriguing or compelling? Were you ahead of the curve in figuring out how they all came together?

  • What about Jenna and her husband? What other course of action could they/should they have taken? What would have been the consequences?

  • Does this novel deliver? Does it offer a suspenseful plot and engaging characters? Was the ending a surprise...or predictable? Were all the loose ends tied up satisfactorily? Have you read other Coben books...if so, how does this one compare?

Book Trailer