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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. Is this homicide victim one of the campers who disappeared with his sister? Could his sister be alive? Cope has to confront so much he left behind that summer twenty years ago: his first love, Lucy; his mother, who abandoned the family; and the secrets that his Russian parents might have been hiding even from their own children. Cope must decide what is better left hidden in the dark and what truths can be brought to the light.
- The Woods by Harlan Coben
This was my first Harlan Coben, but not my last. I couldn't put it down after the first page, literally! It is a great mystery and the twists just keep coming. Our book club read it and we all loved it. This is a great read!...more info
- Nothing Special, But, A Pleasant Enough Read
Sometimes good writers find themselves just going through the motions and this is what Coben appears to be doing in this novel. Not that it's a bad novel or even a bad story, it's just not that engrossing. It's as predictable as a 'slasher' movie set at a summer camp, where just after (or during sex) the requisite looney murders the couple in some strange and bizarre way. Like a car accident, you don't want to watch but you can't turn away.
There are just too many coincidences in the book (and people appearing from nowhere after twenty years) for this to be believable; not to mention the rip-off rap that brings to mind a certain sports team from a certain North Carolina school. Lastly, the whole book swings on a group of CSI wannabes having an unseemly run of luck and a videotape that was slipped in from nowhere. (Big sigh, big sigh, throat clear.)...more info
- Twists, turns, the cost of choices, and living with them afterwards
The fiction I read generally fall into two classes: 1) that which I read cover to cover (5% or less) and 2) the rest, which I skim, on account of because I should probably spend a lot less time reading than I do. This book has created a third class: worth reading, but if you skim to hit the highs of the book, you still A LOT to think about. Like the heroine of "Sophie's Choice" what do you do when faced with horrible choices? And how do you live with yourself afterwards? And how do you deal with the choices others have made? The book is excellent....more info
- More Suspense than You Can Shake a Stick At
New Jersey County Prosecutor Paul Copeland has seen more than his share of grief and loss. Twenty years ago his sister and three others were murdered at summer camp. Two of the bodies were never found. Paul is still haunted by what happened back in the woods when his sister died and to further his pain he has never come to terms about his mother's desertion.
So long ago, but the past doesn't seem to want to stay buried. A murdered body is discovered and clues seem to point to Paul. How can this be possible? Paul begins to suspect that the dead man is somehow linked to his past and what's more, may be one of the victims of that crime that happened twenty years ago, maybe they all didn't perish back then.
There are also secrets long buried that will come to light and they will threaten everything Paul believes in, believes to be true. Paul's nerves will be stretched to the limit and yours will be too as you read through this Harlan Coben thriller. As usual with a Coben thriller there are plenty of twists and turns in this mystery that will keep you guessing as you anticipate your way through the story.
Reviewed by Sara Hackett, who just adore's her husband Jack Priest's books Ragged Man, Gecko & Night Witch....more info
- The Woods Review
"The Woods",. Harlan Coben proves to be one of the most consistent thriller writers around. This is familiar territory, with familiar themes and characters (even a few carryovers from previous stories), and yet Coben manages to connect with us on emotional and intellectual levels.
Twenty years earlier, the Copeland family dealt with a horrific situation involving the woods surrounding a summer camp. Now, one of the original homicide victims has resurfaced--with a different name and hints that he survived. Paul Copeland finds himself dragged back into the anguish of that dreadful evening. Not only did he lose his sister, he lost real connection with his parents, due to their grief. As he explores the widening mysteries, he is faced to confront hard truths about each and every person he has loved. Harlan Coben is a writer who specializes in domestic thrillers with a twist: Instead of the protagonist being a woman, Coben's heroes are men with deep dark secrets. Coben takes folks who, at first glance, are fairly ordinary and then puts them in extraordinary situations. This helps makes the novels stand out in a genre populated with cops, private detectives and world weary types in general.
I thought "The Woods" was a great book. It reminded me of a movie, which keep you off your seat. When I started reading "The Woods" I never wanted to put it down. I understood what was going on and everything. The book was well written but the characters could have different life situations. The women were all good looking and I don't think every female in the book should be hot. The plot had some twists and turns. I believe one thing then the next it was something different; but that's what made the book good to me. It kept me wondering, what's going to happen next. I also loved how everything came together at the end. "The Woods" is one of the best books I read in years. Because this book was so good to me, I decided to read another book by Harlan Coben, "Hold Tight". I like how the stories carryover to the next book.
- How's That Again?
I like Harlan Coben's work--he can really keep you turning the pages. I enjoyed this book, but I think it completely fell apart at the end. Won't give any spoilers, but the reasoning behind the whole attack in the woods was very flimsy, and the KGB plot was just plain ridiculous. The other two sub-plots, i.e., the rape case and the charity theft--were interesting, but Coben just lets them drop by the wayside. The problem I see with all Mr. Coben's books is that he just tries to tell too darned many stories at one time. Is "The Woods" readable? Yes. But pay close attention, or you'll be lost. ...more info
- Good Harlan Coben
I really enjoy Harlan Coben, he sure keeps you engrossed. The characters were believable, the plot well done. The only problem I have is with the ending, I like an author to finish the book - not leave me guessing, but many of them do. Still a good read....more info
- The Woods
Harlen Coben again grabs you on the very first page and doesn't let you go until the last. I lent this book to my daughter and she couldn't put it down all day until she was done with it. If you read Harlen Coben, just make sure you have all your duties for the day done, because you won't want to get out of your chair....more info
- Formulaic, Lousy writing!!
I wanted to read Tell No One by Harlan Coben, since the French movie based on the book got rave reviews... I ended up reading this instead. I have not read any other Harlan Coben books before this...
In my opinion the book was extremely formulaic. The DA, the investigator, the victim's father, ex-KGB thug... all seem to be caricatures from popular TV crime dramas! I did not find their actions, dialogues (you cannot call it normal speech or conversation!!), loyalties, thought processes convincing or intelligent.
To be fair to the author, I was extremely interested in the plot for the first few chapters... But midway, the plot gets murky to the point where I did not care anymore about the characters or their 'I Know What I did Last Summer' angst. The relationship between the DA and Lucy was as juvenile as something an amateur teenage author would have written in a first draft - 80s cheesy pop numbers to capture the mood and thoughts? Utterly unimaginative.
All in all by the time I got to the end I was disappointed... I didn't care for the plot or the ending or the people... Too bad even for a summer beach read....more info
- Oh, please....
Another serious waste of my money and my time. This was predictable and it was boring at best. I had never read Coben before and read this at a friend's suggestion. Who knew?...more info
- Be sure to go into "The Woods"
I ordered "The Woods" because my husband and I have greatly enjoyed reading previous books by Harlan Coben. We were not disappointed. The book is now making the rounds of neighbors who share our enthusiasm. We have lots of time to read during the COLD WEATHER we are experiencing. "The Woods" gets 5* from us! Nancy in Nebraska...more info
- Harlan Coben-Still The Master of The Thriller
This is another one of Coben's books that will suck you in and not let you go until the very last page. It was not quite at the level of Gone For Good, but what is? He used a familiar theme of missing person, but the story is different from Tell No One or Gone For Good. The plot still works wonderfully. I think in this book he creates even better characters that the reader pulls for. You know that whenever you read a Harlan Coben book that you will be up all night reading it and highly entertained even in an emotional way. This one is no exception, The Woods is worth of 5 stars....more info
- Fine book.
Really good writing.
Interesting characters. Enough suspense.
I enoyed it....more info
- Excellent thriller, plot driven, well written.
The Woods is a wonderful thriller about facing the past. Sometimes the past needs to stay the past.
The story is fast moving and enveloping. The characters are well written and deep. Each character is well written and deep. Even those that are secondary or minor characters seem to come alive in a way that only a great author can do.
It is also the first person narrative that I could get through. Though I usually detest books written in this voice, Mr. Coben pulls it off through excellent exposition and witty commentary.
The negative, which I guess can be viewed as a positive, is that sometimes Coben keeps you hanging on with some scenes that are longer than they should. He usually does this with sidebars and often times long drawn out dialogue. But in a thriller it keeps you turning the pages, instead of just giving you the answer he makes you hold on for as long as you can until he gives up the goods.
Overall, this is a well written exciting story. A real page turner.
- A Gripping Page Turner with a Multifarious Plot
The Woods kept me reading until late at night. Coben is a great writer and has put together a suspenseful novel. The story gets complex and is certainly asking readers to expand their parameters of realistic story lines, but it is entertaining reading and keeps it thick until the end.
I don't think fans of Coben's will be disappointed at all. Those new to Coben will be glad to have found a new writer to catch up on....more info
- First but not my last!
This was my first Harlan Coben novel. I am officially putting all of his books on my list! The story itself was interesting but there was never a dull moment. Not once did I get bored. I was constantly on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next all the way to the very end, even when I thought there was nothing else to surprise me with. The characters were all likeable but flawed making them very real and easy to relate to. I can always tell when I love a book if I can't leave it alone. I got through 1/2 the book on the first day & finished it up a few days later. Even during favorite tv shows I would find myself sneaking in some reading because I just couldn't stop! Loved it & can't wait to read more by Harlan!
- Good but seemed familiar
No doubt, Coben keeps you in suspense until the last page. I just got back from vacation and read through two of his books in that many days. I really enjoyed the read but having read two so closely together, I can't help but notice how similar they were. Still, if he found a recipe that works for him, maybe there is no harm using it again...and again......more info
- A good fun mystery.
This was my first novel by Harlan Coban and it was really a lot of fun. My first impression of this author was it was too elementary in its execution. I found that the writing was not well researched or too simplistic to be a compelling mystery. Then the novel took off and manage to load up with many subtle hints and clues that eventually came to a very satisfying head towards the end. I love a novel that builds slowly and the events you considered unimportant end up being the final piece of the puzzle. Coban also creates charactors you believe in, and care about all throughout the novel. I also loved the fact the author lives and writes about Northern New Jersey, which is where I now reside and the streets and avenues are ones I also travel on daily. I highly recommend this novel. ...more info
- Another great read by Coben
I couldn't wait to finish my day and curl up with this thriller. Another great book by Coben. LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!...more info
- What happens in the woods, stays in the woods ...
Well, at least it should have stayed in the woods. Highly formulaic, low-execution writing with a mindboggling conclusion (and not in a good way).
Another Coben audiobook that, when I finished it, left me thinking out loud, "Are you kidding, I wasted ten hours of my life on this!"...more info
- great read!!
This is my first book by Coben. I thought the story was really well thought out, having so many twists, almost a few too many, nonethless I'd recommend it to anyone who likes a good page-turner....more info
- Couldnt put it down
I loved this book! My girlfriends mother suggested she read it, then I happen to see it on our coffee table. I dont consider myself an "active" or "avid" reader... but after I read the first chapter I knew I wouldnt be able to sleep if I stopped. I read from 9:30pm to 4:30am!!!...more info
- "I see my father with that shovel...'
...and that shovel is not nearly big enough to to dig out of this pile of politically correct manure, 'The Woods', by the 'I'm forever doing penance for being a white male' author Harlan Coben.
If you are a wealthy Caucasian man, you are suspect in this propaganda piece disguised as a mystery about a two decades old murder. But if you are a non-white, tattooed, bisexual, meth smoking stripper with a baby out of wedlock, and you sleep with farm animals (not that there's anything wrong with that--who am I to judge? as Coben might say), then you are on the side of the angels. And that is the problem with 'The Woods'.Coben's Northeastern liberal New Jersey bias telegraphs all the good guys and all the bad guys well in advance and sucks the life out of the story. That is a fatal flaw in a category of literature that is dependent on twists and surprises to keep the reader engaged.
If you want a good mystery, you best look elsewhere. If you want a manifesto of white male guilt, 'The Woods' is for you....more info
- 3.5 stars. Nicely wrapped up twists - after a pleasant roller coaster ride
It's been a Coben couple of weeks. Last week I read Hold Tight. I debated if this one was better or worse. In the end, I decided unlike most critics that it's different, but that's not bad. And it's as good orbetter than the last.
While some other reviewers thought it shallow - I found that somehow in Coben's unique way he managed to keep me hooked with multiples story lines throughout (Who killed the people in the woods really? Were any of them alive? Would he win the case against the college kids? Would he get back with his old love? What was his Dad involved in? What was the camp director involved in?...) All of which were organized enough to stay up with them and tied up beautifully into a couple of nice, pleasant roller coaster twists and turns and a surprise ending. (Gratifyingly, one that didn't end up with some maniac doing the ever-so-popular over-the-top action scene to drive the story to a conclusion.
And for all the talk of shallowness - this one shared a common Coben theme about the lengths parents will go to to protect their kids (something that must be weighing on him lately - but makes it a tad more thoughtful, all the same). Maybe because it was less action-oriented and more about the story - it's less a page-turner than some of his (I confess I did put it down in favor of another book I was reading at the time for a bit) - but I was hooked to find out the answers to my questions.
I've always found Cobens characters to be less developed than Koontz - who can create the delightful odd ball, but with rarely the roller-coaster thrills that Coben manages. This one is no exception - but I still cared about them ---- through all it's twists and turns. ...more info
- The Woods
Starts off a bit on the slow side but soon enough I was unable to put it down. Had me guessing till the very end. ...more info
- Solid Thriller
Mr. Coben consistently provides us with solid, plot driven thrillers and "The Woods" is no exception. The plot centers on a New Jersey county prosecutor, Paul Copeland, and the murder, 20 years ago, of his sister. Mr. Coben is the master of the plot twist and this one does not disappoint. This is a true page turner that will keep you guessing until the end....more info
- Well Written & Wonderfully Entertaining -- 4.5 stars!!
Warning! Once you start this book, you'll be hard pressed to put it down. It's like a bag of chips or peanuts. You can't have just one! This is a well written, fast paced suspense novel that beats anything [well almost] that TV offers. I liked that it wasn't pretentious. Paul Copeland is so sympathetic! Coben's characters are well drawn and finely nuanced. I was abe to picture Cope, as well as so many other characters. [Hickory was too much! So funny...] Some chapter endings left me gasping! This book engages from page one. You'll visit the woods, the camp, Lucy's apt. & office, the court, prison...Coben takes the reader on an unbelievable ride. This book offers so much -- love, death, murder, parent/child relationships, espionage, etc. If you want to be immediately engaged in suspense, buy this book! The minute I reached page 250 [which took less than 1 reading], I immediately ordered more of Harlan Coben's works. I'm stocked for a couple of weeks. Buy & enjoy!!...more info
- One heck of a roller coaster ride!
I have to admit, I was so disgusted with the court case re-hash (and revision) of the Duke "rape" case that I almost set this book aside. I'm glad I didn't. I gaggingly suffered through that part only because the premise of the book, Paul's sister's disappearance in the woods at summer camp twenty years ago, was so riveting.
I'm glad I stuck with it. This book is one heck of a roller coaster ride and Paul Copeland (Harlan Coben?) will manage to tick you off no matter what your political beliefs are!
The book raises some important questions. It's great to have morals but how will those morals survive when it comes to protecting YOUR loved one? How far will you go?
Good book. ...more info
- COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!!!!
THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I'VE READ IN A LONG TIME SUSPENSE UNTIL THE LAST PAGE. YOU WILL NOT BE DISSAPPOINTED!!!!...more info
- Shark Infested Waters Lurk Within These Woods!
When it comes down to it, Harlan Coben is nothing less than one of the best. With me it gets fun, simply because I tend to find little pet peeves of mine. Yet I keep coming back to Coben eventually, and he keeps getting better. "The Woods" is no exception, because he really gets twisted in this one. And when you think it doesn't get worse, that somehow he's done, Harlan Coben cranks the knife one more twist! And for dealing with "The Woods," Coben seriously drifts into shark infested waters, and is out for blood.
Paul Copeland sure loved his sister, and he still thinks of her twenty years to this day. But that's just the beginning, because he is a widower, and he has a high caliber case. And that's when things start getting weird, and things start going back to the past. And it digs into a family past, one that Paul Copeland now isn't so sure of. But it also means that his sister just might be alive. And things do start to get creepy. The people you thought you trusted become suspects, and the plot only thickens! Simply allow yourself to get lost in these WOODS, and see if it doesn't play with your head. It might.
Coben put together one heck of a page turner. And he didn't peeve me off too bad this time, but he got me wound up a little bit. And that's ok, it just doesn't always impress me to the fullest. But "The Woods" as a whole did convince me to recommend this mystery in the making! If you happen to be a shark, you may be licking your chops. There is blood to be tasted, and it may not leave too much room for dessert! Good work, Mr. Coben!...more info
- This book was amazing.
The book kept me wanting to read on and on and never put it down. There are only a couple of things I would have changed. First, I would have liked to have seen through the rest of the rape case; reading about the sentences the frat boys receive. The other would have been a cleaner ending to the book. Overall, I loved the book and was happy that, through the grapevine, this was recommended....more info
- What happened in those woods??
Reading Coben's book was very enjoyable. I have to give it 5 out of 5 stars. He managed to outline a great story filled with everything from KGB spies to a summer camp Slasher. This is another author I truly appreciated for giving the reader intellectual credit. You don't find that often with a lot of the popular writers. A court case rape trail starts as the primary plot followed by a re-hash of the mystery behind Paul Copeland's sister. Slowly, as you progress through the story the sister becomes the main interest while the court case falls into the background. The great thing about the book is the fact that you never feel this transition.
Before I read this book I noticed a lot of reference to Mr. Harlan Coben as "the master of the plot twist." I have to admit he does a great job of presenting a couple jaw dropping surprises. The characters unfold in a way that had me turning the pages all night long. I just really wanted to find out what happened in those Woods. The best part of this story was the witty comebacks. If your not laughing after the reading Cope's banter with the slimy ambulance chasing lawyer; then your bound to crack a smile for the conversations Muse has with the security guard at the murder site.
After this book I have become a Coben fan!!
I recommend this book it is worth the read summer, winter, or fall!