Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The Boy From the Woods by Harlan Coben

Hester Crimstein's grandson has asked for help. A girl in his class has gone missing and no one seems to be concerned. And since he's never asked for anything of this kind from her, Hester is inclined to take him very seriously. 

She reaches out to Wilde, her son's best friend. Wilde spent time in the military and also as a PI with a private firm, so he's perfect for the job. Plus, he's her grandson's godfather, which means he too is inclined to believe the boy. 

But there's more to Wilde's past than his work history. Wilde was discovered hiding out in the woods as a boy. No one knows how long he was on his own and no one ever stepped forward to claim him. Wilde grew up an outsider, something he has in common with the missing girl. 

But when the case takes a bizarre turn beyond that of a missing teenager, Wilde and Hester both find themselves in the crosshairs. And the repercussions of this case could have a huge fallout!

Coben's latest is another fast paced and fun read. But this time, rather than his usual ordinary man or woman dragged into extraordinary circumstances, he's created a pretty extraordinary character in Wilde.

One thing I'd hoped was that we would get some sort of explanation or closure in Wilde's actual story. We do not. But the last pages of the book do seem to hint at a possibility of that to come, so we can still hope!

Naomi Pine is bullied relentlessly. But when she doesn't turn up for school for a few days, no one seems concerned. Except Matthew. Matthew feels guilty for not stepping in to defend Naomi. And there's more to it than that. So Matthew turns to the person he knows has enough clout to do something about it: his grandmother, Hester Crimstein. Hester is a well knows lawyer with the platform and the know how to really get the ball rolling on an investigation. And she does exactly that.

Long time readers of Coben's work will remember Hester, considering she's appeared in multiple titles. She's never been a main character herself and I don't recall ever getting any of her backstory before.

She's fun and feisty and it was really great to finally get a book focused around her and her family.

Coben is always a sure bet for me, but I will say that this one didn't feel as strong as some of my favorites by him. There was the dangling thread of Wilde's story, for one, which I do trust is being held for another book. For another, things just seemed to come together a bit too quickly and easily this time around. I wanted to sink further into the story and get depth overall in terms of characters and plot.

I will say that I quite enjoyed the turn the plot took. I won't give it away, but I was surprised that Coben took the story where he did. If you're a longtime reader, you'll love this latest. Don't make the mistake I did, though. Stock up on Yoo-hoo before you start reading!

Order it from BookBar!

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