Every time I read a Harlan Coben novel, it surpasses the previous one and becomes my new favorite. The Boy From the Woods was no different. Harlan is amazing at hooking the reader very early and then delivering nonstop thrills until the final pages turn. And then the whiplash of surprise at the very end leaves readers reeling…in a good way! I just love his books! I want to give a shout-out to Grand Central Publishing for sending me an ARC of The Boy From the Woods in exchange for an honest review. This one releases March 17th.
Now for the review…
A teenage girl, Naomi Pine, is missing and no one really seems to notice. She’s the girl at school who is bullied by the rich, popular kids because she is seen as less than them, an outcast. Matthew, however, lives on the line between being one of the “in” kids and being like Naomi. He mentions to his grandmother Hester Crimstein, famous criminal attorney, that a classmate is missing. Hester calls on a friend who possesses highly unique skills for finding someone, and being invisible while doing so. Wilde, who was Hester’s late son David’s best friend and assumed a sort of father role to Matthew when David was killed, has a very interesting past. He was the boy from the woods, found thirty years ago living in the woods with no memory of where he came from or what his name was. Still, after thirty years have passed, no one has stepped forward to claim him or provide any information about his birth. So, he went by the name of Wilde and the Crimstein family sort of took him in as one of their own. Since then, he went to college and served in the military, allowing him to be highly skilled in his side job of security and surveillance. The fact that he can stealthily and silently move through the woods with no one the wiser is also a bonus.
Wilde can’t resist an outcast in trouble, because he feels like very much an outcast still. So, when Hester calls on him to help locate Naomi, he becomes deeply involved. By doing so, he is forced to leave his very secluded, heavily guarded micro-home in the woods more than he has in the past thirty years. The woods is where he feels at peace – the woods was always his home. As Hester and Wilde try to locate Naomi, secrets being held by a very wealthy, powerful family start to surface. Someone resourceful and smart, like Wilde, really wants to get the secrets revealed, no matter what the cost. When a second kid goes missing, Wilde will stop at nothing to find out the truth, and hopefully save the lives of the kids before it’s too late.
What a great atmospheric and thrilling book! The storyline is timely set against today’s highly-charged political environment. I loved Wilde’s character because he was so unique from what I have read in the past. Readers will root for Wilde, even when he may not be rooting for himself. I also loved the wicked plot twist in the final chapters, as well as the last line of the book, which throws the future into an entirely different direction for Wilde and the Crimsteins. Sequel, please?
Oh, and by the way, @Netflix, this one would be AWESOME as a mini-series. Hint, hint.
Again, thank you so much to Grand Central Publishing for providing me with an early review copy of this title!