Select one of the keywords
The Woods    by Harlan Coben order for
by Harlan Coben
Order:  USA  Can
Dutton, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, Audio, CD

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

Most crimes, as the narrator of The Woods explains, start with something small. In this case, though, in Harlan Coben's newest and most highly recommended thriller, 'something big got the ball rolling,' and a 'lust for blood set everything in motion.'

When the action of The Woods opens, narrator Paul Copeland, a New Jersey county prosecutor and widower with a six-year old daughter, finds himself suddenly confronted again by painful reminders of a terrible past.

When fourteen year old Paul was a camp counselor, four fellow campers - including Paul's sister Camille - disappeared; two brutally murdered bodies were discovered, but the bodies of the other two victims - including Camille - remain lost, apparently buried somewhere in the New Jersey pine barrens. Two years later a demonic psychopath clearly responsible for at least four other killings elsewhere was also connected to the campground murders, whereupon he was sentenced to prison. So, except for painful memories and the failure of anyone to find Camille's and the other camper's bodies, the incident has remained buried and unresolved in Paul's consciousness.

Now, however, police have found the body of a man murdered in nearby NYC, and they have tentatively identified him as Manolo Santiago. Unfortunately for Copeland, the police think they have found a connection between Santiago and Copeland, so the prosecutor instantly becomes an unlikely 'person of interest' in the homicide. Further inquiries complicate matters because Manolo Santiago seems to have been an alias, and the dead body may, in fact, be that of the teen camper who had been presumably murdered and buried - along with Camille - somewhere decades earlier.

Meanwhile, while Copeland is aggressively prosecuting a rape case involving college students as defendants, certain people connected with the defendants are beginning to interfere with Copeland's case and his life. Now, as if by coincidence, all sorts of questions arise regarding what may have really happened in those woods surrounding the campground when Paul was fourteen years old.

Ah, but that is enough of a plot preview. Anything else would simply spoil the reader's experience. It is sufficient to say that readers will be blown away by what happens in The Woods. Harlan Coben's writing can be described and praised with all sorts of seemingly hyperbolic adjectives: spell-binding, frightening, gut-wrenching, perfect, etc.. None of that written applause, however, would be adequate. Coben's latest novel is so damned good that it simply has to be read and savored to be believed. Don't miss it!

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews