Friday 9 January 2015

The Woods by Harlan Coben

Reviewer: Gillian Hamer, author of The Charter, Closure, Complicit, Crimson Shore. (

What we thought: This was my first Harlan Coben read and it’s always a joy to meet a writer you know you are going to re-visit time and again.

The book was one of those rare gems for me. An ‘unputdownable’ novel that had a superb balance of strong characterisation, excellent crime storyline, and an added level of humour that brought the novel to life. Some of the one-liners from lead protagonist, Paul ‘Cope’ Copeland made me laugh out loud.

All of his characters are very strong, likeable, three-dimensional and believable. There are also lots of them! Even the bit-part players were great, I particularly enjoyed his relationship with coroner, Tara O’Neill, who I think should have played a much bigger role!

As well as a complex crime story, there’s a nice echo of romance here too. Primarily about re-discovering a lost love. How many of us have wondered what became of our very first love and how would we feel if we met up again? Would we fall in love again or would the spark have died? These are questions dealt with extensively in The Woods, and it's rich material that’s handled well.

But it's also a love story in terms of family. Virtually every character in this book does something inconceivable in order to protect a family member. Good and bad. This is something that seems to be are the core of Coben's thoughts and he projects the intensity of emotion very well. Relationships are at the very heart of The Woods and it makes for some heart-thumping moments.

The Woods is an excellent piece of writing, and I am now biting at the bit to read everything he's ever written. Yet more to add to the TBR pile!

You’ll enjoy this if you like: Jeffrey Deaver, Val McDermid, Karin Slaughter.

Avoid if you don’t like: Dark crimes and gritty storylines

Ideal accompaniments: A steak burger and a cold lager.

Genre: Crime Fiction.

Available from Amazon

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