"Champagne flutes tinkled in harmony with the Mozart sonata. A harp underscored the subdued pitch of the party chatter. Griffin Scope moved serprentine through the black tuxedos and shimmering gowns."
I don't normally read the sort of books whose chapters might start like that. Coben must have been imagining the Hollywood adaptation of his novel as he penned that awful triplet of sentences.
In the pages that follow, we witness of one many scenes pilfered from the American cinematic tradition. For example, 'serpentine' billionaire Scope is surprised to see one of his shady henchmen turn up at this clichéd society bash and quickly ushers him into one of those private studies that rich, bad men always seem to have.
In the end it was the French that adapted Coben's novel, and I read it out of a desire to see how Guillaume Canet had gone about it. For a start Canet junked Coben's pointless last page twist: that it was Dr Beck and not his wife (or her father) that killed the billionaire's son. Not only is it undramatic, it undermines much of what went on before.
I detected at least three narrative voices in play here: a third person narrator that relates every scene in which Beck himself is absent and two separate streams of Beck's first person narrative, one with hindsight and one without.
Whilst Coben starts to unravel his plot slowly from about the halfway line, Canet saves a lot up for a big reveal in the scene where Beck confronts his father-in-law. In the novel you have a sense that you know more than the doc does a little sooner, but then Coben has that silly twist and a rather ludicrous final act up his sleave which the French director has correctly dispensed with.
Coben does suggest an angle that, if developed further, could have made for a slightly more thought-provoking story: Scope reflects how his dead son was "magic", the kind of person whose very presence lit up people's lives. A fine charismatic character with perhaps one evil foible might have set up an interesting contrast with the Becks' own rather leaky ethics.