Harlan Coben
Author, TV producer
Born: January 4, 1962, in Newark, New Jersey
Lives in: Ridgewood, New Jersey
New Jersey Hall of Fame, Class of 2017: Arts & Letters

You might wonder how Harlan Coben has found the time and inspiration to write a new novel (or two) almost every year for the past three decades. That’s a mystery only Coben—a master of suspense—can unravel.

Born in Newark and raised in Livingston, Coben attended Livingston High School (with friend and future New Jersey Governor Chris Christie). He studied political science at Amherst College in Massachusetts, where he decided to become a professional writer.

Coben’s first novel, the romantic thriller “Play Dead,” was published in 1990, when he was 28. In 1995, his third novel, “Deal Breaker,” kicked off his popular series of 11 mysteries centered around Coben’s recurring character, a crime-solver and sports agent named Myron Bolitar. Two spin-off series have resulted in four additional novels.

In all, Coben has penned 36 works of fiction and won numerous awards for mystery writing. Among his many bestsellers are “Hold Tight” (his first book to debut at No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list), “The Boy from the Woods,” “Run Away,” “Don’t Let Go,” “Home” and “Fool Me Once.” He has been published in 43 languages and has more than 75 million books in print worldwide.

In 2006, a French-language version of Coben’s novel “Tell No One” was adapted for the screen. This began Coben’s exposure to film and television audiences. In subsequent years, two more of his books were produced for serialization on French TV. In 2016, Coben created a crime drama, “The Five,” for British television. Next up was “Safe,” a crime drama he created for Netflix. Under a long-term production deal with Netflix, he is now developing as many as 14 original series to be released in markets around the world.

Remarkably, much of Coben’s work is based in or inspired by New Jersey, which he describes as “a fertile ground to create and build.”

In a March 2021 interview with New Jersey Monthly, Coben explained the many New Jersey references in his novels. “The key, I think I’ve learned, is the more specific you are, the more universal the appeal. So, in the case of the books, the more that I actually do make it New Jersey, the more universal that appeal will be.”

Intro/Acceptance Video