Reviews for The Boy From The Woods

by Harlan Coben

Library Journal
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Found as a child living untrammeled in the woods with no memory of his past, the appropriately named Wilde has returned there to live as an adult after being raised in foster care. He's happiest by himself, but his outdoorsy skills are being tapped by celebrity TV lawyer Hester Crimstein as one teenager and then another goes missing. Journalists and creepy security experts soon come calling, and Wilde must uncover—and survive—a terrible secret. From a thriller giant.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Coben's latest darkest-suburbs thriller sets a decidedly offbeat detective on the trail of a crime with overtones unmistakably redolent of once and future presidential elections.Wilde is called Wilde because nobody's known his real name from the moment a pair of hikers found him foraging for himself in Ramapo Mountain State Forest 24 years ago. Now over 40, he's had experience as both a lost boy and a private investigator. That makes him an obvious person to help when his godson, Sweet Water High School student Matthew Crimstein, expresses concern to his grandmother, attorney Hester Crimstein, that his bullied classmate Naomi Pine has gone missing. Matthew doesn't really want anyone to help. He doesn't even want anyone to notice his agitation. But Hester, taking the time from her criminal defense of financial consultant Simon Greene (Run Away, 2019) to worm the details out of him, asks Wilde to lend a hand, and sure enough, Wilde, unearthing an unsavory backstory that links Naomi to bullying classmate Crash Maynard, whose TV producer father, Dash Maynard, is close friends with reality TV star-turned-presidential hopeful Rusty Eggers, finds Naomi hale and hearty. Everything's hunky-dory for one week, and then she disappears again. And this time, so does Crash after a brief visit to Matthew in which he tearfully confesses his guilt about the bad stuff he did to Naomi. This second disappearance veers into more obviously criminal territory with the arrival of a ransom note that demands, not money, but the allegedly incriminating videotapes of Rusty Eggers that Dash and Delia Maynard have had squirreled away for 30 years. The tapes link Rusty to a forgotten and forgettable homicide and add a paranoid new ripped-from-the-headlines dimension to the author's formidable range. Readers who can tune out all the subplots will find the kidnappers easy to spot, but Coben finds room for three climactic surprises, one of them a honey.Now that Coben's added politics to his heady brew, expect sex and religion to join the mix. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

This subpar thriller from Edgar winner Coben (the Myron Bolitar series) pairs an improbable lead with an improbable plot. In 1986, a boy, who looks to be between six and eight years old, is found living on his own in the woods near Westville, N.J. Flash forward 34 years. The boy is now known simply as Wilde, “a beautiful man with his dark sun-kissed complexion, his build of coiled muscles, his forearms looking like high tension wires.” Wilde is also a genius and a brilliant PI. His detective skills are called upon after his late best friend’s mother, celebrity lawyer Hester Crimstein, learns from her teenage grandson that a bullied classmate of her grandson, Naomi Pine, has disappeared from her Westville home. Naomi’s father falsely claims that his daughter went to visit her mother, raising suspicions of foul play. Naomi’s story is somehow connected with the presidential aspirations of Sen. Rusty Eggers, a nihilistic tyrant viewed by some on the left as even more of a threat to America than Donald Trump, a hard-to-swallow plotline that Coben does nothing to make feel plausible. This gifted author is capable of better. 7-city author tour. Agent: Lisa Erbach Vance, Aaron M. Priest Literary. (Mar.)