Book #80

The Woods by Harlan Coben

Twenty years ago, four teenagers at summer camp walked into the woods at night. Two were found murdered, and the others were never seen again. Four families had their lives changed forever. Now, two decades later, they are about to change again. For Paul Copeland, the county prosecutor of Essex, New Jersey, mourning the loss of his sister has only recently begun to subside. Cope, as he is known, is now dealing with raising his six- year-old daughter as a single father after his wife has died of cancer. Balancing family life and a rapidly ascending career as a prosecutor distracts him from his past traumas, but only for so long. When a homicide victim is found with evidence linking him to Cope, the well-buried secrets of the prosecutor's family are threatened.

I usually find Coben has this innate ability to grab hold of my brain and force it to pay attention only to him, whilst also giving it a good shake every once in a while. Reading The Woods was no different, although I did feel even more compelled to read than I have during some of his other works.

As is usual with these types of thrillers, it’s almost impossible to write a review without giving anything away. We have our usual fast pace, twisty plot, red herrings, and unreliable characters, all creating feelings of unsettlement and confusion. Coben never allows you to relax and you find yourself speeding through in search of answers.

Of course it’s not a literary masterpiece, and some of the plot points edge toward the unfeasible, but if you suspend your disbelief for the duration, it’s a quick and exciting read. I particularly enjoy a wee touch of courtroom drama, and those scenes were the ones which I inhaled most vigorously.

Take this for what it is, and run with it to a quiet place. Not the woods, but somewhere else.