WINNER OF THE EDGAR AWARD • “What sets Harlan Coben above the crowd are wit and . . . an entertaining plot.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review
In novels that crackle with wit and suspense, Harlan Coben has created one of the most fascinating heroes in suspense fiction: the wisecracking, tenderhearted sports agent Myron Bolitar. In this gripping third novel in the acclaimed series, Myron must confront a past that is dead and buried—and more dangerous than ever before.
The home is top-notch New Jersey suburban. The living room is Martha Stewart. The basement is Legos—and blood. The signs of a violent struggle. For Myron Bolitar, the disappearance of a man he once competed against is bringing back memories—of the sport he and Greg Downing had both played and the woman they both loved. Now, among the stars, the wannabes, the gamblers, and the groupies, Myron is embarking upon the strange ride of a sports hero gone wrong that just may lead to certain death. Namely, his own.
Praise for Fade Away
“Brilliant . . . perfect for fans of Sue Grafton, Robert B. Parker, and everyone else.”—Nancy Pickard, author of The Scent of Rain and Lightning
“Fast action, snappy dialogue . . . [an] enjoyable read.”—The Toronto Star
“Great fun.”—Houston Chronicle
About the Author
From the Paperback edition.
Hometown:Ridgewood, New Jersey
Date of Birth:January 4, 1962
Place of Birth:Newark, New Jersey
Education:B.A. in political science, Amherst College, 1984
Read an Excerpt
“Me?” Myron said. “I’m always a delight.”
Myron Bolitar was being led through the corridor of the darkened Meadowlands Arena by Calvin Johnson, the New Jersey Dragons new general manager. Their dress shoes clacked sharply against the tile and echoed through empty Harry M. Stevens food stands, Carvel Ice Cream carts, pretzel vendors, souvenir booths. The smell of sporting-event hot dogs—that sort of rubbery, chemically, yet nostalgically delicious aroma—wafted from the walls. The stillness of the place consumed them; there is nothing more hollow and lifeless than an empty sports arena.
Calvin Johnson stopped in front of a door leading to a luxury box. “This may all seem a bit strange,” he said. “Just go with the flow, okay?”
Calvin reached for the knob and took a deep breath. “Clip Arnstein, the owner of the Dragons, is in there waiting for us.”
“And yet I’m not trembling,” Myron said.
Calvin Johnson shook his head. “Just don’t be an ass.”
Myron pointed to his chest. “I wore a tie and ?everything.”
Calvin Johnson opened the door. The luxury box faced midcourt. Several workers were putting down the basketball floor over the hockey ice. The Devils had played the night before. Tonight was the Dragons’ turn. The box was cozy. Twenty-four cushioned seats. Two tele?vision monitors. To the right was a wood-paneled counter for the food—usually fried chicken, hot dogs, po?tato knishes, sausage and pepper sandwiches, that sort of stuff. To the left was a brass cart with a nicely stocked bar and minifridge. The box also had its own bathroom—this so the corporate high rollers would not have to urinate with the great unwashed.
Clip Arnstein faced them, standing. He wore a dark blue suit with a red tie. He was bald with patches of gray over both ears. He was burly, his chest still a barrel after seventy-some-odd years. His large hands had brown spots and fat blue veins like garden hoses. No one spoke. No one moved. Clip glared hard at Myron for several seconds, examining him from head to toe.
“Like the tie?” Myron asked.
Calvin Johnson shot him a warning glance.
The old man made no movement toward them. “How old are you now, Myron?”
Interesting opening question. “Thirty-two.”
“You playing any ball?”
“Some,” Myron said.
“You keep in good shape?”
“Want me to flex?”
“No, that won’t be necessary.”
No one offered Myron a seat and no one took one. Of course the only chairs in here were the spectator seats, but it still felt weird to stand in a business setting where you’re supposed to sit. Standing suddenly became difficult. Myron felt antsy. He didn’t know what to do with his hands. He took out a pen and held it, but that didn’t feel right. Too Bob Dole. He stuck his hands in his pockets and stood at a weird angle, like the casual guy in the Sears circular.
“Myron, we have an interesting proposition for you,” Clip Arnstein said.
“Proposition?” Always the probing interrogatory.
“Yes. I was the one who drafted you, you know.”
“Ten, eleven years ago. When I was with the Celtics.”
“I know all this, Mr. Arnstein.”
“You were a hell of a prospect, Myron. You were smart. You had an unbelievable touch. You were loaded with talent.” “I coulda been a contenda,” Myron said.
Arnstein scowled. It was a famous scowl, developed over some fifty-plus years in professional basketball. The scowl had made its first appearance when Clip played for the now-defunct Rochester Royals in the forties. It grew more famous when he coached the Boston Celtics to numerous championships. It became a legendary trade?mark when he made all the famous trades (“clipping” the competition, ergo the nickname) as team president. Three years ago Clip had become majority owner of the New Jer?sey Dragons and the scowl now resided in East Ruther?ford, right off Exit 16 of the New Jersey Turnpike. His voice was gruff. “Was that supposed to be Brando?”
“Eerie, isn’t it? Like Marlon’s actually in the room.”
Clip Arnstein’s face suddenly softened. He nodded slowly, giving Myron the doelike, father-figure eyes. “You make jokes to cover the pain,” he said gravely. “I understand that.”
Dr. Joyce Brothers.
“Is there something I can do for you, Mr. Arnstein?”
“You never played in a single professional game, did you, Myron?”
“You know very well I didn’t.”
Clip nodded. “Your first preseason game. Third quarter. You already had eighteen points that game. Not bad for a rookie in his first scrimmage. That was when fate took over.”
Fate took the form of big Burt Wesson of the Washington Bullets. There had been a collision, a searing pain, and then nothing.
“Awful thing,” Clip said.
“I always felt bad about what happened to you. Such a waste.”
Myron glanced at Calvin Johnson. Calvin was looking off, arms crossed, his smooth black features a placid pool. “Uh huh,” Myron said again.
“That’s why I’d like to give you another chance.”
Myron was sure he’d heard wrong. “Pardon?”
“We have a slot open on the team. I’d like to sign you.”
Myron waited. He looked at Clip. Then he looked at Calvin Johnson. Neither one was laughing. “Where is it?” Myron asked.
“The camera. This is one of those hidden camera shows, right? Is this the one with Ed McMahon? I’m a big fan of his work.”
“It’s not a joke, Myron.”
“It must be, Mr. Arnstein. I haven’t played competitive ball in ten years. I shattered my knee, remember?”
“All too well. But as you said, it was ten years ago. I know you went through rehabilitation to rebuild it.”
“And you also know I tried a comeback. Seven years ago. The knee wouldn’t hold up.”
“It was still too early,” Clip said. “You just told me you’re playing again.”
“Pickup games on weekends. It’s a tad different than the NBA.”
Clip dismissed the argument with a wave of his hand. “You’re in shape. You even volunteered to flex.”
Myron’s eyes narrowed, swerving from Clip to Calvin Johnson, back to Clip. Their expressions were neutral. “Why do I have the feeling,” Myron asked, “that I’m missing something here?”
Clip finally smiled. He looked over to Calvin Johnson. Calvin Johnson forced up a return smile.
“Perhaps I should be less”—Clip paused, searched for the word—“opaque.”
“That might be helpful.”
“I want you on the team. I don’t much care if you play or not.”
Myron waited again. When no one continued, he said, “It’s still a bit opaque.”
Clip let loose a long breath. He walked over to the bar, opened a small hotel-style fridge, and removed a can of Yoo-Hoo. Stocking Yoo-Hoos. Hmm. Clip had been prepared. “You still drink this sludge?”
“Yes,” Myron said.
He tossed Myron the can and poured something from a decanter into two glasses. He handed one to Calvin Johnson. He signaled to the seats by the glass window. Exactly midcourt. Very nice. Nice leg room too. Even Calvin, who was six-eight, was able to stretch a bit. The three men sat next to one another, all facing the same way, which again felt weird in a business setting. You were supposed to sit across from one another, preferably at a table or desk. Instead they sat shoulder to shoulder, watching the work crew pound the floor into place.
“Cheers,” Clip said.
He sipped his whiskey. Calvin Johnson just held his. Myron, obeying the instructions on the can, shook his Yoo-Hoo.
“If I’m not mistaken,” Clip continued, “you’re a lawyer now.”
“I’m a member of the bar,” Myron said. “I don’t practice much law.”
“You’re a sports agent.”
“I don’t trust agents,” Clip said.
“Neither do I.”
“For the most part, they’re bloodsucking leeches.”
“We prefer the term ‘parasitic entities,’?” Myron said. “It’s more PC.”
Clip Arnstein leaned forward, his eyes zeroing in on Myron’s. “How do I know I can trust you?”
Myron pointed at himself. “My face,” he said. “It screams trustworthiness.”
Clip did not smile. He leaned a little closer. “What I’m about to tell you must remain confidential.”
“Do you give me your word it won’t go any farther than this room?”
“Yes.” Clip hesitated, glanced at Calvin Johnson, shifted in his seat. “You know, of course, Greg Downing.”
Of course. Myron had grown up with Greg Downing. From the time they had first competed as sixth graders in a town league less than twenty miles from where Myron now sat, they were instant rivals. When they reached high school, Greg’s family moved to the neighboring town of Essex Fells because Greg’s father did not want his son sharing the basketball spotlight with Myron. The personal rivalry then began to take serious flight. They played against each other eight times in high school, each winning four games. Myron and Greg became New Jersey’s hottest recruits and both matriculated at big-time basketball colleges with a storied rivalry of their own—Myron to Duke, Greg to North Carolina.
The personal rivalry soared.
During their college careers, they had shared two Sports Illustrated covers. Both teams won the ACC twice, but Myron picked up a national championship. Both Myron and Greg were picked first-team All-American, both at the guard spots. By the time they both graduated, Duke and North Carolina had played each other twelve times. The Myron-led Duke had won eight of them. When the NBA draft came, both men went in the first round.
The personal rivalry crashed and burned.
Myron’s career ended when he collided with big Burt Wesson. Greg Downing sidestepped fate and went on to become one of the NBA premier guards. During his ten-year career with the New Jersey Dragons Downing had been named to the All-Star team eight times. He led the league twice in three-point shooting. Four times he led the league in free-throw percentage and once in assists. He’d been on three Sports Illustrated covers and had won an NBA championship.
Table of Contents
What People are Saying About This
"Harlan Coben is one of the best new crime writers...he tells a first-rate story."
"Brilliant! Perfect for fans of Sue Grafton, Robert B. Parker and everyone else!"
"Superb writing...Harlan Coben serves up an ace with Dropshot."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is the First Myron Bolitar series and I could not put it down. The first Book of Coban's I read was The Woods and after that I was hooked. As I explained to my father (who also enjoys a good book) Coban's books are non stop from page 1 throughout the end. I used to think Dan Brown was my favorite author, but Harlan Coban beats him by leaps and bounds. Read this book and all the rest - anyone who enjoys a good can't put down book will love all the Harlan Coban's.
If you like any of Bruce Willis's movies where he is a tad bit of a smartie pants, you'll love Myron. I've thoroughly enjoyed this series and can hardly wait to start the next book.
Some of my favorite books of all time are from coben like Tell No One and No Second Chance. I love sports and thought the combination of basketball and mystery would be great. But this book was not memorable and the basketball scenes are not possible. Still one ofmy top 5 authors.
I discovered Harlan Coben and Myron a few months ago and I just love it. I have so much reading them and this book is no different than the others. They are equally great and the best one is whatever I am currently reading. The audio-books are great too if anybody is interested. The characters make these books so much fun. Winn is the coolest guy ever! i hope they have a Myron Bolitar movie or movies one day.
Coben has a writing style that is fun to read and the characters are fun to follow
Fade Away is a solid Thriller/Mystery novel from cover to cover. I am not usually a big fan of the genre and even though my father bought this book for me, I still really enjoyed it. Coben's character Marvin Bolitar is a ex-FBI agent who previously had a career ending injury and is now asked to join the New Jersey Dragons, a NBA team. The reader is thrust from the beginning beyond this simple story of living ones dream when we learn that Bolitar is not expected to actually play for the team, but rather he is investigating the murder of one of the star players who has mysteriously dissapeared who just happens to be his former rival. The novel begins with basketball being a main focus eventually transitioning to more of a mystery and involves a robbery and many other elements of crime from the past. One of the reasons I enjoyed the novel is because it is able to remain serious throughout the novel while being humourous at the same time because of Marvin's actions and thoughts. Many of the characters such as Esperanza and Big Cyndi have a large part in creating this effect. The main part of the storyline keeps the reader interested and preparted for the fantastic ending that Corben has written, which was truly surprising and fufilling of a great novel such as this one. One of the main reasons that this novel really kept me entertained was the dialogue. It was able to move the story foward in an effective manner while at the same time able to remain witty and insightful. Marvin's many comments on the world around him serve as one of the more entertaining parts of the novel to me. The best part of the novel to me was the ending. Coben is able to create an ending that though it is not expexted and surprising is still reasonable and makes sense when one looks at the novel at a whole. Harlan creatively ties together the multiple story lines of the novel into one cohesive ending, and even leaves the reader with some suspsense of what is going to come afterwords. I would recommend this book to others and I plan on reading more of Corbens work.
Ten years ago an injury ended his stint in the NBA without him playing one professional regular season game, but though Myron Bolitar has always thought of what could have been he uses self deprecating humor to move on and mope over what was lost to fate. He spent time as the most visible undercover FBI agent in the country (remember this is pre Plame days) before deciding to become a sports agent.---------------- New Jersey Dragons owner Chip Arnstein wants to hire Myron to find his longtime sports rival going back to the sixth grade and the ACC, Greg Downing, who has had an illustrious pro career. The word to the media is he sprained his ankle but on the street and in the Dragons front office Greg vanished five days ago. Using his not so honed FBI skills, Myron investigates with clues leading to a corpse, gambling, bold thirsty point shaving mobsters and a bit of everything else. Myron realizes he never came to grips with the injury that ended his career before it began.--------- The reprint of the third Bolitar tale (see DEAL BREAKER and DROPSHOT) is a superb story that easily overcomes the initial credibility of an owner hiring a sports agent to play sleuth due to the hero. Myron is wisecracking throughout targeting himself more so than others, but as he gets closer to finding his firmer rival, he realizes the humor hides his disappointment. This is a terrific series that holds up nicely a decade plus since its first printing as this entry affirms.------------ Harriet Klausner
FAVORITE so far! I have read the first two as well, and just wrapped up this novel! This book has so many twists you keep thinking you know how it will end and you just keep getting surprised!
This is the 3rd book in the Myron Bolitar series. My least favorite of the series thus far. Although, I did find the book enjoyable and liked the surprise ending. I am looking forward to reading book 4.
he home was top-notch New Jersey suburban. The living room was Martha Stewart. The basement was Legos - and blood. For sports agent Myron Bolitar, the disappearance of a man he'd once competed against was bringing back memories - of the sport he and Greg Downing had both played and the woman they both loved. Now, among the stars, the wanna-bes, the gamblers and groupies, Myron is unraveling the strange, violent life of a sports hero gone wrong, and coming face-to-face with a past he can't relive, and a present he may not survive.
Myron gets another chance at pro-basketball. Great story, great mystery - didn't see it coming until the end. Still wondering what exactly did Win do at the very end. Hurrying to the next one to see if any clues will be revealed.
I think this was my favorite Myron Boiltar book so far. I learned more about Myron and his basketball career in this one. Myron is one of my favorite characters, along with Thursday Next. I don't read many series books, but I love this series. I am looking forward to reading book #4.
Another great book in the Myron Bolitar series. What I like about these books are that Myron is just a plain joe trying to make things right. He does not get bought out - he keeps searching till he finds the answer. Coben weaves you in and out of several story lines - keeping the mystery afloat. I found it hard to put this book down - had this great sense of urgency to find out who done it. This story takes Myron back in his past to his basketball playing days and there the story begins. Myron is offered a position on his former basketball team, but in taking this position, he is really trying to find where the star basketball player has gone to - he is missing. Through the web Coben weaves - there is murder and of course Myron will prevail and figure it out. I love part of the intro in the book - "Now, among the star, the wannabes, the gamblers and groupies, Myron is unraveling the strange, violent ride of a sports hero gone wrong, and coming face-to-face with a past he can't relive, and a present he may not survive." This is what this book is all about. Enjoy!
Tone of language: Tough talk, simple observations, earthy humor convey the harshness of lifePlot twists: A side story unexpectedly becomes keyCharacters: Wounded, they speak their own compromised truthsValues: People should not hurt othersPace: Multilayered backstory involving many characters slows the sorting outBackground research: Pro BasketballSexuality: Misplaced flirtationEnding: Desperation leads to unwise behaviorOffensive to any group: LesbiansTarget audience: EveryoneFlaws: Although Myron's thought processes are shared with the reader, we are suddenly excluded from Myron's thoughts when he figures out who the murderer is.
Myron Bolitar's professional basketball careeer ended before it ever really began with a severe knee injury sustained during a pre-season game. He is therefore astonished when the owner of the New Jersey Dragons, a team headed for the playoffs, offers him a job as a player. But it turns out that this is to be a cover for the real job--finding the whereabouts of one of the team's star players, Greg Downing, who has disappeared on the eve of the playoffs. Myron and Greg have a history as rivals going back to their high school basketball days.Myron and his Philadelphia Main Line Old Family assistant Win immediately run into signs of trouble when they discover blood in the basement playroom of Downing's house. Soon a body shows up, that of a mysterious "Carla", and the puzzle thickens.Coben is in fine feather with this series installment. Myron and Win are two of the more original "detectives" in the mystery genre, and Coben's comic touch, as usual, really enlivens the story. Win is definitely everyone's favorite sociopath.The plot is excellent with a gratifying number of twists and turns. The climax is completely unexpected and well-written; the ending, quite appropriately, is somewhat somber and a little ambivalent.There are aspects of the plot, however, that do not tie up neatly at the end, and that left me uncomfortable trying to figure out just exactly how they actually did fit in to the overall plot. There is a brief and pretty superficial look at the price sports superstars pay for their celebrity status that is crucial to the plot.As always, Myron and Win are the chief attractions in a highly entertaining--many times truly funny--book. Highly recommended for a good, light read.
I've read many of the Myron Boltiar series books. Mr. Coben has developed a character that is not a super hero, he's kind of old fashioned ex. basketball player, now a sports agent. Myron is flawed, funny, and interesting. He is surrounded by great characters, Winn his best friend is a wonderful addition to the always interesting story line. I'm half way through Fade Away, and it is as good as advertised. The Series is a winner!
Soooooooooo good! Please, please, please write more!!!!!! Character app!<p> Name: Odessa Sanders<br> Age: 12<br> Appearance: she is Ella's best friend. long, shiny black hair, pale skin, and dark eyes flecked with gold. A goth, she dresses in all black and sticks safety pins through her ears. She likes Ella because they are both loners in school and because Ella doesn't judge her on how she looks.<p> Read my story at 'petros' first res! Three comments and i'll write the next chapter.