I was walking to school, lost in feeling sorry for myself—my dad was dead, my mom in rehab, my girlfriend missing—when I saw the Bat Lady for the first time.
I had heard the rumors, of course. The Bat Lady supposedly lived alone in the dilapidated house on the corner of Hobart Gap Road and Pine. You know the one. I stood in front of it now. The worn yellow paint was shedding like an old dog. The once-solid concrete walk was cracked into quarter-size fragments. The uncut lawn had dandelions tall enough for the adult rides at Six Flags.
The Bat Lady was said to be a hundred years old and only came out at night, and if some poor child hadn’t made it home from a playdate or practice at the Little League field before nightfall—if he or she risked walking home in the dark instead of getting a ride, or was maybe crazy enough to cut through her yard—the Bat Lady got you.
What she supposedly did with you was never made clear. No child had vanished from this town in years. Teenagers, like my girlfriend, Ashley, sure, they could be here one day, holding your hand, looking deep into your eyes, making your heart go boom-boom-boom—and be gone the next. But little kids? Nope. They were safe, even from the Bat Lady.
So I was just about to cross to the other side of the street— even I, a mature teenager entering my sophomore year at a brand-new high school, wanted to avoid that spooky house— when the door creaked open.
For a moment, nothing happened. The door was all the way open now, but no one was there. I stopped and waited. Maybe I blinked. I can’t be sure.
But when I looked again, the Bat Lady was there.
She could have been a hundred years old. Or maybe two hundred. I had no idea why they called her Bat Lady. She didn’t look like a bat. Her hair was gray and hippie long, hanging down to her waist. It blew in the wind, obscuring her face. She wore a torn white gown that resembled a bridal costume in an old horror movie or heavy-metal video. Her spine was bent like a question mark.
Slowly Bat Lady raised a hand so pale it was more vein-blue than white, and pointed a shaky, bony finger in my direction. I said nothing. She kept pointing until she was sure I was looking. When she saw that I was, Bat Lady’s wrinkled face spread into a smile that sent little icicles down my spine.
I had no idea how she knew my name.
“Your father isn’t dead,” Bat Lady said.
Her words sent a jolt that knocked me back a step.
“He is very much alive.”
But standing there, watching her vanish back into her decrepit cave, I knew what she was telling me wasn’t true.
Because I had seen my father die.
Okay, that was weird.
Copyright © 2011 by Harlan Coben
Harlan Coben’s Shelter is the first in a new series featuring the nephew of sports agent Myron Bolitar. As the action begins, 15-year-old Mickey is still disconsolate after witnessing the death of his father in a car accident. With his mother in rehab, he comes to live with his Uncle Myron, and the move means he’s now “the new guy” in school. Lucky for Mickey, he hooks up with pretty Ashley. When she vanishes without a trace, he’s not only heartbroken, he’s determined to find her. With the help of some new friends he recruits along the way, Mickey follows Ashley’s trail into a seedy underworld. But his world is rocked once again when he learns Ashley isn’t the person she claimed to be…and neither was his father.
Hardcover Book : 320 pages
Publisher: Putnam Pub Group/Mbr Of Penguin Put ( September 06, 2011 )
Item #: 13-441572
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 0.672inches
Product Weight: 14.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
I've read pretty much all of Coben's books. They are always wonderful reads, well except for his first book which was reprinted last year and I made the mistake of buying and reading it. Anyway, Shelter is a great book. Mickey very likable as is the weird girl Ema. I got a little disappointed when the book turned to Nazi's and such but totally loved the characterizations and am looking forward to another in this series. Thanks for many hours of good reading. Coben never disappoints.
I liked everything about this book except the lame ending.
Reviewer: Judi M
I can sum up my feelings for this book in one word: "OUTSTANDING". I have yet to dislike any novel that Harlan Coben has written. He has become one of my favorite authors. I look forward, and anxiously await, his next novel. Shelter has many twists and turns, but not to the point where it gets confusing. It keeps you guessing and you think you have figured it out. Quite the contrary!! I hope Mickey appears in other novels!!
Coben is one of my favorite authors. I'm looking forward to the next release of his adult series.
When I bought this I was thinking Myron (love him)but what a surprise that it was Mickey, Myron's nephew!! At first sign of trouble I thought Myron and the gang (especially
my favorite rich dude)would save the day! I kept waiting the whole book, but glad it went the way it did!!Enjoyed the outcome and totally freaked at the ending...more to come I'm sure!! Loved it, I wish you put your books out as fast as James!! Thanks for great entertainment, and I'm 59!! But high school is never forgotten is it?!?