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The Woods

The Woods - Harlan Coben The action and events that take place in The Woods are triggered by an event that happened twenty years previously. Paul Copeland, now a prosecutor in New Jersey, was in the woods and was supposed to be patrolling the summer camp where he worked. That night, two counselors died, and his sister and another boy disappeared, never to be seen again until the boy who disappeared shows up twenty years later murdered. This leads Paul to think that his sister might still be alive since her body was never found. While this is going on, Paul is embroiled in prosecuting a rape case of two wealthy frat brothers, whose fathers are willing to destroy Paul’s life and those around him in order for him to back off the case. Meanwhile, Paul rekindles the romance he had with his girlfriend all those years ago at camp.

This novel is a bit of a mixed bag. There is a lot of suspense and drama. I found myself compelled to go forward and continue reading to find out what really happened in those woods. I also found the writing to be very competent and professional. Paul is a good character, a man of high integrity who is haunted by his past. An interesting theme in this novel is the depths that parents are willing to go to in order to protect their children, something that was pervasive throughout the novel. There were two things I didn’t like about the novel. The first is that when the reveal was finally made, it was a bit convoluted and hard to believe. The second is that there were multiple people who committed murders in this novel—too many for my liking. I think it’s hard for a person to kill another person, and it came too easily in this novel.

Carl Alves – author of Blood Street