Harlan Coben Books In Order Of Publication

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harlan coben books in order of publication

If you seek mystery thriller recommendations on Reddit or Quora, you’ll likely come across at least one response along the lines of “Watch anything, Coben.” Netflix has an entire subgenre in its library titled “The Harlan Coben Collection,” which is a testament to the incredible storytelling acumen of the celebrated thriller writer.

In this article, you will find the best Harlan Coben books alongside his entire book list in the order of their publication. You will also find out more about the man who rules psychological thrillers in books and on screen. 

Before we get to the “all of Harlan Coben’s books in order” list, let’s look at the best Harlan Coben books.

Our best Harlan Coben Books at a glance:

Harlan Coben: The Master Of Psychological Thrillers

Coben was born in Newark, New Jersey, and grew up in Livingston. He went to Amherst College, where he shared a fraternity with Dan Brown, the author of The Da Vinci Code. Coben was one of the first people to get a review copy of the book.

He took up an interest in writing thrillers and finished his first novel in 1984. That novel, Play Dead, was published in 1991. Coben wrote a series around a character named Myron Bolitar, but his peak came with Tell No One, a standalone thriller after the Myron series.

Coben’s career trajectory became steeper, and he hasn’t looked back since, penning thrillers with psychological themes that have come to define his work.

Harlan Coben Books In Order

Myron Bolitar Books In Order

Mickey Bolitar Books In Order Of Publication

Wilde Books In Order of Publication

Harlan Coben Books In Order
Harlan Coben Books

Windsor Horne Lockwood Books In Order Of Publication

Stand Alone Books In Order Of Publication

Best Harlan Coben Books To Read

Tell No One (2001)

Tell No One

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Tell No One is one of the most complex and immersive mystery-thriller combinations in contemporary literature.

A whodunit meets a frame job alongside impossible odds. The protagonist has to prove his innocence while helping uncover a crime that he or someone close to him could have committed. Saying more about the plot would spoil the narrative immersion and reader experience.

This book is an excellent read for anyone who likes mystery, whodunnit, and thriller fiction. It sits comfortably in multiple genre formats and is unapologetically original and commercial in its setup, pacing, and plot twists.

Tell No One is one of Coben’s most successful books, and for good reason. A large majority of his readership considers it the best Coben title.

The Woods (2007)

The Woods

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The protagonist’s sister walked into the woods twenty years before the events of this movie. The connecting theme is that the protagonist is a prosecutor, and the case at hand could be connected to the disappearance of his sister.

A body turns up with clear signs of a possible homicide. And the prosecutor, Paul Copeland, is pretty sure that the victim is the boy who vanished alongside his sister.

If you like slow-burning suspense and thriller narratives, you will enjoy this book. It has been turned into a Netflix series, but a Coben book getting adapted for the screen is nothing new.

The Woods is a title truly worthy of in-depth exploration and can be a great introductory read if you’re interested in getting into Harlan Coben’s biography.

Fool Me Once (2016)

Fool Me Once

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This book has a self-selling premise. Widely considered one of Harland Coben’s most original works, Fool Me Once is the opposite of a whodunnit. Instead of a murdered victim, there is a living murder victim.

The ex-pilot for Special Ops, Maya, sees on her nanny cam something that would shock any human, much less a mother. Her daughter is playing with her husband, who was murdered two weeks before the live view.

The story requires more than a distant unwrapping of this mystery. Maya has to avoid the cops while trying to solve the murder of her sister. All the while, she keeps getting hit with things she didn’t know and didn’t expect to learn.

Her husband’s family secrets, plenty of bad guys, and a whistleblower in hiding all contribute to the thrill and suspense of this classic Harlan Coben narrative.

The Boy from the Woods (2020)

The Boy from the Woods

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A man resurfaces after being lost for a long time. He has no memories but must find a teenage girl before it is too late. This premise leaves enough room for resurfacing facts, past events, and the unreliable narrator’s subsequent retcons to make the type of story that Harlan Coben is best known for.

That said, this book isn’t the plot twist galore you would expect it to be. Instead, Coben masterfully manages the narrative, building it up to a single surprising end.

This book is ideal for fans of mystery and suspense fiction as well as drama readers. It balances multiple storytelling devices and produces a great “parts of a whole” type story that eventually adds up in a very satisfying way.

The Stranger (2015)

The Stranger

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If you find the prospect of strangers knowing stuff about you to be creepy, then imagine the horror of meeting a stranger who knows more about your private life than you do. The Stranger is one of Coben’s works that was adapted for the screen to critical and commercial acclaim.

The premise of this book has an unsuspecting protagonist going about his life until he is met with undeniable information from a stranger.

It is not any stranger but “The Stranger.” His information is accurate, and in this instance, it is about the protagonist, Adam Price’s wife. When his wife asks him to wait for her so she can explain herself, she never arrives. Who is the stranger?

Where did Price’s wife go? And what else is there to the story? Plenty of questions set up this story for a great start, and Coben drops nuggets and breadcrumbs up to the finale.

It is one of the few books where you truly cannot predict what might happen. It is a great read for suspense, mystery, and crime noir fiction.

Don’t Let Go (2017)

Don't Let Go

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An old flame might be to blame. This is the story of Nap Dumas, a New Jersey cop investigating the murder of a fellow cop. Things take an interesting turn when it is revealed that the victim is one of Dumas’s old schoolmates as well.

And to make matters even more interesting, the fingerprints belong to his high school sweetheart, who disappeared 15 years ago without an explanation.

Dumas figures out more about the murder of his high school girlfriend’s brother, the reason for her disappearance, and the murder of his colleague when he gets a clue in the form of fingerprints on the rental car used to shoot up a cop car.

Six Years (2013)

Six Years

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If you like any of Harlan Coben’s books because of the “wait a second” moments that the protagonists go through, then you need to read Six Years. In the author’s entire bibliography, there is no other story that pulls off the unreliable narrator device as brilliantly as Six Years.

The story starts with Jake, the protagonist, who was dumped by his girlfriend six years ago. While he did everything he could to forget her, her husband Todd’s obituary in the papers made it difficult for him not to attend the funeral.

But what he thought would be a straightforward reunion turned out to be a series of mysteries and puzzles.

The widow isn’t his ex-girlfriend, Natalie. More importantly, she married Todd ten years ago. Clearly, Jake didn’t have the facts. As he tries to find their mutual friends, he continues to fail. And with that, the “best time” of his life starts to seem like a carefully crafted story.

Read Six Years to find out what happens when the facade collapses. This book is a true page-turner that will appeal to most readers, including those who don’t know much about Harlan Coben. It is a good entry point into Coben’s fiction, as it familiarizes one with the malleable memory trope the author uses.

Since Harlan Coben’s books don’t follow a multi-volume chronology, they can be read out of order. That means you can read Six Years without having read any other titles.

Caught (2010)


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Moving on from a title that embodies all the elements of Coben’s fiction, we have Caught, which comes with a thematic and literary shift. This title still reads like a Harlan Coben book, but with fewer altered memories and more missing protagonists.

The novel follows Dan Mercer, a social worker who gets set up in a sting operation meant to expose pedophiles. Aside from Mercer’s character, an actual minor’s life is on the line.

And Wendy, the reporter who thinks she’s doing good by shaming men who talk to teens, is paving the path to hell with good (yet debatable) intentions.

This book is ideal for people who like drama and tension built around social stakes. It is an intellectually stimulating read that stands out from the rest of Coben’s bibliography.

Run Away (2019)

Run Away

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This book came later in Coben’s career and managed to establish him more firmly as a writer of domestic suspense. In hindsight, many of his titles had elements of domestic and romantic conflicts alongside psychological and cognitive twists. Run Away finds a family torn apart by a romantic interest that happens to be a bad influence.

The story begins with a missing daughter. She has given in to her abusive boyfriend and made it clear that she is not to be pursued. When she is found by chance busking in Central Park, the protagonist tries to bring her back, but she runs away.

As her parent, the protagonist goes behind her and lands in the underbelly of New York, where gangs and criminals have a serious influence. This book is a great read and has garnered positive reviews and acclaim from a very broad demographic.

Gone for Good (2002)

Gone for Good

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Harlan Coben’s Gone For Good has found a new home on Netflix, which has further fuelled his appeal as the source material maestro for streaming service thrillers.

It has all the elements of a Coben narrative: family, wrong judgments that get checked by time, and of course, a dead body.

Will Klien once loved a girl. She is found murdered, and his heroic brother seems to be the prime suspect. With such a simple premise, Coben weaves a story that unfolds over 350 pages. There are some cliches and some predictable “twists,” but overall, the story lands at a cathartic conclusion.]

Harlan Coben FAQs

Is Harlan Coben Married?

Harlan Coben is married to his college sweetheart, Anne Armstrong-Coben.

What Religion Is Harlan Coben?

Coben was born and raised Jewish and hasn’t publicly converted to any other religion.

How Many Books Did Harlan Coben Write?

Coben has written over 33 novels in his career.

Is Harlan Coben Still Writing?

Harlan Coben is still writing novels and has also started creating shows while consulting on the adaptation of his works for the screen.

Wrapping It Up

If you like any Coben novel after the Myron Bolistar series, you will like everything else he has written since. 

The man has a gift for writing stories that seem familiar yet are entirely new. Whether you want to get the top recommendations or read through his entire bibliography, the choice is yours.

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Jessica started off as an avid book reader. After reading one too many romance novels (really... is it ever really enough?), she decided to jump to the other side and started writing her own stories. She now shares what she has learned (the good and the not so good) here at When You Write, hoping she can inspire more up and coming wordsmiths to take the leap and share their own stories with the world.