Harlan Coben is one of this generation’s best writers. He’s a New York Times #1 bestselling author and a master of psychological suspense, twists, and turns that leave his readers eagerly turning page after page of his compendium of mystery-thrillers. Like every exceptional writer of his caliber, his work has been given the very best on-screen treatment, in this case, via Netflix.
So far, seven of his stories have been released on the platform, one of which was streamed as a standalone adaptation while six have been subsequently produced through a 14-series deal with the streamer. Another eight are slated to appear in the future, with Coben as the constant executive producer of each series.
While his stories are reliably entertaining, some actually do outrank others. Here are all of Coben’s projects to be released on Netflix so far ⏤ and stay there ⏤ ranked from worst to first.
Gone For Good
This 2021 drama features a young French man (played by Finnegan Oldfield) who goes through a series of trials and tribulations in an attempt to make sense of two past murders and the current disappearance of his girlfriend. Along for the ride is the protagonist’s best friend, who isn’t squeaky clean himself, making things even more interesting.
The story, based on the 2002 novel, consists of only five episodes but has plenty of twists and turns that will leave viewers hooked enough to find out what happens next. That said, the coincidences that occur therein are a little too predictable, lowering the shock value from episode to episode and resulting in a lackluster ending with no real payoff.
This pick is the most recent series to stream on Netflix, as it was just released in April of 2022. It was developed straight from Coben’s 2008 novel and was spread out over the course of six episodes. The story is set in a suburban neighborhood in Poland and hinges on the disappearance of one character after the mysterious death of his friend. A family of four are themselves the main characters, but they’re not the only ones with skeletons in their closets ⏤ nearly every single person the audience sees has a damning secret of some kind. It’s a decent story at best, but with everyone seeming like they’re hiding something, viewers might find themselves confused about who, if anyone, can be trusted throughout the whole ordeal, and not in a good way.
This 2020 production focuses on a suburban dad, played by British actor Richard Armitage, who is abruptly faced with some rather disturbing accusations regarding his wife. When he decides to act on what he’s heard, the missus goes missing and that’s just one of the threads that make this story ever so tangled. Based on the 2015 book of the same name, The Stranger is definitely a story worth watching. However, some viewers will note that while witnessing the eight episodes unfold, the mixture of what’s truly strange and the apparent lack of emotion in some parts will make for an odd experience. All the same, there are some terrific performances in this heart-pounding drama and more than a few surprising moments.
This eight-episode series was released at the very end of 2021 and was based on Coben’s 2012 novel of the same name. Starring Cush Jumbo as the female protagonist ⏤ a rarity amongst Coben’s stories ⏤ Stay Close centers around a woman whose checkered past resurfaces and drastically interferes with her quiet suburban life. Of course, her storyline is not without mysteries, nor are the ones involving the supporting characters. What’s going on with all of the involved parties might be a little too much for some viewers to navigate, but the last episode alone is worth the complicated journey ⏤ as long as you can stomach the pair of truly creepy dancing assassins that pop up along the way.
This mystery, set in Poland, is based on the 2007 novel of the same name, and was released in 2020. An attorney, played by Polish actor Grzegorz Damięcki, revisits adolescent memories after he’s tasked with identifying a victim that has died under mysterious circumstances. The deceased triggers the lawyer’s memories from his teenage years, which took place at a local summer camp. Trying to piece things together along with the lead character forces the audience to bounce between two timelines: the present day and the summer of 1994. Old faces from his past certainly make things all the more intriguing and viewers are even faced with a cliffhanger ending, making this entry all the more worthwhile and unique.
This eight-episode series based on Coben’s 2005 novel follows a man who is fresh out of prison and eagerly looking to start a new life. Spanish actor Mario Casas plays the lead role wonderfully, and his character does indeed rebuild his new life only to have it shrouded in confusion by his new wife. From the beginning, the audience is cleverly misdirected by past details about the main character that don’t add up, and by the time viewers recognize their inherent cloud of confusion, they have no other choice but to watch The Innocent through to the very end to know for certain what’s going on.