Sunday, July 19, 2020

Review: The Boy From The Woods

The Boy from the WoodsThe Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars for this one.

Wow. Just imagine me whistling, here, because this one kept me guessing up until the last minute.

I see some complaints and comparisons to Coben's other books, but this is the first book that I've read by him so I have nothing to compare it to! I'm a bit glad if it means that I would enjoy this one less.

Take a bit of romance, add a dash of political intrigue, some good ol' 'whodunnit' and mystery and you have 'The Boy From The Woods'.

One thing I really enjoyed about this book is that what you think you're getting into when you start the book is not at all the case. The plot takes many twists and turns along the way and builds on itself, and one thing I liked about it is that just when you *think* it's all wrapped up, it turns out that it isn't. There's a good dash of reflection on our society as it is today and American politics, and I enjoyed that without it being too ham-handed or condescending.

I will say that there was a point in the book where I rolled my eyes a bit at a touch of exposition, which is why this isn't a five star read to me. I know it's partly because Coben wanted to keep us guessing, but I think the book would have benefited if he'd taken his time to think of a way to do that without having certain things that one of the main characters did concealed from us.

I quite enjoyed the characters, here. You could probably say that Wilde is a bit of a cliché, and I'd agree with that, but sometimes clichés are loveable and enjoyable anyway, and I found that to be the case here. Give me a moody boy with a bit of a tortured past and I'm definitely there, I guess you could say! I'm invested, now, and definitely open if it turns out that this book will have a sequel. The 'tropeish' parts were ones that I could overlook as they didn't interfere with my enjoyment of the book, and I found myself invested in him.

I also found myself invested in Hester, the irascible lawyer. She's all prickles and snark and wit, which I love, but she's also got a past and a history, which I also love.

Beyond these two there's also a cast of characters that are interested and nuanced in and of themselves. What the reader thinks of any one person throughout the book isn't necessarily the case, and it's interesting to see the hidden motives (dark ulterior ones and otherwise) put on display as the book comes to a close.

I just thoroughly enjoyed this, really. Definitely going to check out more of Coben's books!

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