Coben was born to a Jewish family in Newark, New Jersey, but was raised and schooled in Livingston, New Jersey. While attending Livingston High School, he became friends with the future New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
"I like writing novels set in suburbia, the last battleground of the American Dream, where everyone lives to do the right thing, but wrong still finds you underneath the mask."
Harlan was in his senior year at college when he realized he wanted to write. His first book was accepted when he was twenty-six but after publishing two stand-alone thrillers in the 1990's (Play Dead in 1990 and Miracle Cure in 1991) he decided on a change of direction and began a series of thrillers featuring his character Myron Bolitar. The novels of the popular series follow the tales of a former basketball player turned sports agent (Bolitar), who often finds himself investigating murders involving his clients. In addition to the Bolitar series, he has written several popular stand alone novels.
He has won an Edgar Award, a Shamus Award and an Anthony Award, and was the first writer to have received all three. Coben is also the first writer in more than a decade to be invited to write fiction for the New York Times op-ed page. He wrote a short story titled "The Key to my Father," which appeared June 15, 2003.
Shelter (2011) was his first work of young-adult fiction. It features Mickey Bolitar, nephew to Coben's popular protagonist Myron Bolitar. A second in the series, Seconds Away, was released in September 2012.¹
MICKEY BOLITAR SERIES (young adult)