The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben
Grand Central Publishing: 3/17/20
review copy; 384 pages
The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben is a very highly recommended thriller with an unconventional investigator named Wilde.
Thirty years ago, Wilde was found as a six to eight year-old boy
living feral in the
woods near Westville, N.J. He had no memory of his past and still
doesn't know where he came from. He uses his exceptional detective
skills and insight working as a private investigator with his foster
sister - when he wants to. When Hester Crimstein, a well-known attorney
with a television show, is asked by her grandson Matthew to look into
the disappearance of a classmate, Naomi Pine, Hester immediately talks
to Wilde. Wilde has a connection to her family and Matthew is his
Wilde uses his unique skills to find Naomi the first time she
disappears. When she disappears a second time, it seems that there is
more going on under the surface in the community of Westville and
Naomi's disappearance may be connected to some powerful people. Wilde
knows that Crash Maynard, teenage son of TV producer, Dash
Maynard, relentlessly bullied Naomi. When Crash disappears too
and a ransom note is sent to his parents, Wilde needs to find out if the
disappearance of Naomi and Crash is connected or if there is something
else at play.
Wilde is an interesting, unique, well-developed character. His
backstory may seem a bit incredible, but it was believable in the plot
and setting Coben sets up for us in The Boy from the Woods.
Hester Crimstein always makes a splash as a memorable character, and
that is still the case here. There is also a romantic subplot starting
for her. Most of the teenagers were just standard teenage characters -
bullies, good kids, outcasts - but then standard characters are so
because it is the reality.
The plot and subplots are plentiful as the investigations are
underway and they are all fun to follow. Wilde is probably a bit more
interesting to follow if only to experience his powers of observation as
his investigation is underway, but Hester has her own strengths. There
were several surprises in the plot, with one being a complete surprise.
Politics rears its ugly head in the plot and novel, which I hope is just
a fluke and not going to become a ongoing occurrence. All in all The Boy from the Woods is a compelling novel. It may start out a bit slow, but once it picks up the pace you won't want to put it down.
My review copy was courtesy of Grand Central Publishing