Release Date – March 17, 2020
The Boy from the Woods
Setting – New Jersey
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (March 17, 2020)
Hardcover: 384 pages
Kindle ASIN: B07TYBQJBM
A man with a mysterious past must find a missing teenage girl in this shocking thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Run Away.
Thirty years ago, Wilde was found as a boy living feral in the woods, with no memory of his past. Now an adult, he still doesn’t know where he comes from, and another child has gone missing.
No one seems to take Naomi Pine’s disappearance seriously, not even her father-with one exception. Hester Crimstein, a television criminal attorney, knows through her grandson that Naomi was relentlessly bullied at school. Hester asks Wilde-with whom she shares a tragic connection-to use his unique skills to help find Naomi.
Wilde can’t ignore an outcast in trouble, but in order to find Naomi he must venture back into the community where he has never fit in, a place where the powerful are protected even when they harbor secrets that could destroy the lives of millions . . . secrets that Wilde must uncover before it’s too late.
As soon as I find out the release date for a new Harlan Coben book I rush to my reading calendar and make sure I keep a date open to review it. Then I anxiously wait for the book to pop up for review. Coben is my favorite author when it comes to suspense and he never disappoints.
The story starts out with Naomi Pine being bullied and soon after the teenager disappears. No one seems to care that the girl is missing except a classmate who feels guilty for not stepping up to defend her and even played along with some of the pranks played on her. He is worried so he reaches out to his grandmother, Hester Crimstein, a television criminal attorney. Hester then reaches out to Wilde, a man who was found in the woods near her home 30 years ago and was befriended by her son. Wilde feels he has things in common with Naomi and immediately begins his search. A search that could cost him. A search that could hurt others. A search that will reveal secrets that could destroy lives.
This story is absolutely fabulous!
If you have read other Coben thrillers the name Hester Crimstein may be familiar. She is a woman who is tough as nails but we now see she has a soft spot for her grandson. Until now she has been a supporting character that pops up here and there. Through this story, we finally get to know more about this sassy broad who comes to town to see what her grandson Matthew really knows about a girl he says is missing.
We also meet Wilde, a boy found living in the woods about 30 years ago when he was between 6-8 years old. He spoke English but didn’t know his name or anything about where he came from. He soon became known as Wilde. No family ever claimed him so he was placed in foster care and he excelled in school. Upon graduation, he joined the military excelling there as well. That led to a post-military career in security and investigation. But the man is clearly a loner and is happiest living in the woods that will always be his home.
The thing Mr. Coben really does well is create characters with many layers. Some like Hester’s are revealed over time. Other’s like Wilde, Naomi, and Matthew are peeled back over the course of the story but I always feel like he holds just a bit back in case he wants to revisit them again in the future. All the characters are interesting and held my attention and I wanted to know more.
He has wrapped these characters into a story that starts as a missing person case and quickly becomes so much more. Wilde truly was all in when it came to finding Naomi and went to great lengths to get answers. He runs into roadblocks but pushes through, literally at times, to get in people’s faces to find out what the know or what they did. A surprising twist changes the game and ratchets up the suspense and takes us in new directions.
Coben blends social and political themes, really highlighting how far the rich will go to keep their secrets. We are immersed in the dark side seeing people who have created a great public facade but who truly have no morals or ethics. It made my cringe in places.
Mr. Coben also shows us a softer side as characters deal with loss and grief while trying to move forward. Grieving the loss of a loved one is something I am very familiar with and he captured and told this part of the story in a heartwarming and believable way. It was a nice little subplot alongside all the action and suspense.
As I said, this story is fabulous, it is filled with twists and thrills. I totally escaped into every aspect of the story. Well-plotted and written, with a perfect pace. The ending was a complete surprise, The Boy From The Woods is a complex story that was so compelling. I loved it! My world completely stopped when I started reading. In fact, Harlan Coben is responsible for my latest book hangover because I stayed up until the early morning hours to finish this book.
The Boy From The Woods deserves more than 5 stars. It earns my Paradise Rating and a place on my Best Reads of 2020.
Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent
Find out more about Harlan Coben and his book on his webpage here.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”