Can We Talk About Harlen Coben’s The Stranger Now?

The Brits Adopt The Cobens As Their Own

In one scene, Johanna and Wes, aka ‘the infant,’ come into the tech room, my unscientific name for places for those electronic leads, like a tracker app used for an illegal rave. Sitting at one of the consoles was a man who can pass as Stanley Tucci’s relative, uttering not one line or else reveal he’s American-Harlen Coben himself. Authors making cameos is nothing new as my mind ticks off names like Stephen King (of course), Charlaine Harris (True Blood, at the end of season 2), and Diana Gabaldon (Outlander, the party scene with Mrs. Fitz.)

Alfred Hitchcock and M. Night Shyamalan also made cameos in their films and viewing can help but get a kick at the creators taking a seat in the middle of something happening in their imaginations. ‘The Stranger’ marks the third Coben work on Netflix along with ‘The Five’ and ‘Safe.’ It also marks the writing debut of Coben’s daughter Charlotte who helped craft the teenage storyline made of the series. I pressed ‘skip intro’ on my Netflix app and watched Mike, Daisy, and Thomas figure out what to do with the alpaca head. (Poor Louis. Your namesake had a rough week as well.)

Their classmate Dante, the guy running naked in the woods at the opening of the series, laid in a coma with Mike unable to recall what happened or if he had something to do with it. “If he dies,” he said, comic goofiness melting into worry. “It turns into a murder investigation.”

**Record scratch**

I filed the scene away for later after processing while discovering the ex-cop’s house had A FREAKING BODY PLASTIC WRAPPED IN ITS WALLS!!!!

Back to Mike Tripp’s declaration…

I watched enough British telly and heard enough Joy Ellis,  to know law enforcement has a soliloquy as opposed to Miranda Rights (a Miranda soliloquy?), it has beaker, lorry, lift, mobile, and murder INQUIRY. It’s natural for Ms. Coben to write investigation and shocking nobody picked up on it and corrected it to ‘inquiry.’ While it took me out of the series for a few seconds, it proved a good debut overall. While E.L. James gave a nightmare scenario, the Cobens charted a balanced path to trusting the production to what it does best, and it shows in the final result.

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