Into it: Harlan Coben

The bestselling thriller author talks about what he's reading, watching, and listening to – and why one particular singer keeps getting mentioned in his books.

... Reading:

I've been reading mostly manuscripts and advance copies of books because I always feel an obligation, when I can, to blurb somebody who is unknown. It's been a while since I've read something unpredictable that has really knocked my socks off.

I liked Jesse Kellerman's new book, which will be out soon, called "The Genius." He's the son of very famous crime writers Jonathan and Faye Kellerman. It's actually an interesting story set in the art world [about] a man who discovers these drawings and [that] leads back to some terrible crimes that even reverberate in the hero's own family.

Almost every year, between [writing] books, I reread a book by Anne Lamont called "Bird by Bird." It's purported to be a writers guide, but it's a hilarious essay book about the insecurities and the mind of anyone involved in creative endeavors. I read it constantly, every year. It just sort of fills me up and gets me revved up to write another book.

... Watching:

The Lives of Others, a wonderful German film. I would say to readers, don't look at what it's about ... just see it. The payoff at the end is one of the greatest in history. It's one of those quiet moments that just explode.

One of my problems is that I have four kids between the ages of 14 and 6, so most of my movies are Enchanted, Cars – those sorts of things. TV-wise, we recently watched on DVD, all of Arrested Development, which we loved. I'm getting into 30 Rock and The Office. My all-time favorite that I'm still watching constantly is The Simpsons. It's still, to me, the greatest family sitcom in history.

...Listening to:

I discovered a young Australian singer called Missy Higgins. I think she's only about 20 years old. Every song is a heart-ripper. My personal favorite one – people can look at the video on YouTube or her MySpace webpage – is called "Where I Stood." I think she's going to get huge here, too. It's a little mix of folk, a little mix of rock. She's a little bit like Sara Bareilles, who is doing well with "Love Song" right now.

I'm a New Jersey boy, so you've got to go back to Bruce Springsteen. I've seen him in concert several times. I'm friendly with a few people in the band who read [my] books. I even wrote an op-ed piece on him for The New York Times. His music has meant a great deal in my life since I was 13 years old. I've met Bruce a few times. That was one of my fan moments.

My favorite discovery of the last five years would be Damien Rice, the Irish singer. I just love his stuff. Both albums, "O" and "Nine." But I would say "O" is probably my favorite CD of the 21st century.

I'm also a big fan of Alejandro Escovedo, who I think is going to start getting recognized more. He's an older artist. He's always been a musician's musician. If you want a song that will really make you think and move you deeply, the song "Across the River" was what I was listening to when I wrote my prologue to the book "The Woods." I've mentioned Alejandro in books. We've met since then and we even did something of a performance together in Paris, France, of all places, where I did a reading and then he did a song related to the reading. We may do it again in New York, soon.

Harlan Coben's new thriller, 'Hold Tight,' is now in stores. Visit

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