Beloved Author Claps Back at Viewers' Biggest Criticism of His Popular Netflix Shows

Netflix has now adapted four of author Harlan Coben's novels into TV series, and Coben is finally responding to some fans' criticisms of the shows. The new thriller Stay Close is based on Coben's book by the same name, though the book was set in the United States while the show is set in the United Kingdom. Coben – an executive producer on the adaptation – defended that change in an interview with Express.

"I know some people are like 'you're not keeping true to the book' but I love that hybrid of what a British crime show does so well and what I do in novels," the 59-year-old author said. "The hybrid somehow ends up being fun and interesting to change things around. I love making changes, a book is a book and a TV series is a TV series, they are not the same thing and they shouldn't be. Both should be compelling stories but the worst adaptations are the ones that are slavishly devoted to the text."

"So if I'm able to work with this cast of characters in front of me that you see, who wouldn't move [on] the story?" Coben concluded. The author has a massive 5-year overall deal with Netflix, which includes plans to adapt 14 of his books into TV series. The contract stipulates that Coben will be a producer on all of the shows, as he has already been on Safe, The Stranger, The Woods and now on Stay Close.

These shows are not connected by narrative or characters and do not seem to take place in the same fictional universe. However, they do share a lot of the same talent both behind the camera and in front of it. For example, Stay Close is the second of these series to star Richard Armitage and the third where Coben is working with screenwriter Daniel Brocklehurst and director Daniel O'Hara.

Other stars of Stay Close include Cush Jumbo, James Nesbitt, Eddie Izzard, Jo Joyner, Youssef Kerkour, Sarah Parish, Daniel Francis, Dylan Francis, Andi Osho, Bethany Antonia, Rachel Andrews, Poppy Gilbert and Hyoie O'Grady. The show is about a seemingly normal suburban family uncovering its own dark secrets, including a past criminal entanglement that they thought they could escape.


Stay Close premiered on Netflix on Friday, Dec. 31. All 8 episodes are available to stream now. Aside from the book purists that Coben addressed above, reviews of the series seem to be middling to positive.