Cover Image: The Boy from the Woods

The Boy from the Woods

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Member Reviews

Another gem of a book from Harlan Coben who doesn't disappoint- great setting, characters and storyline  - i love it when you get a book you just can't put down and this was one of them. I don't think the plot was particularly clever, as we expect these days,  but the excellent writing and character development made up for it. I look forward to this one being on the TV. Perfect holiday / lockdown read
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I am a massive Harlan Coben fan so couldn't wait to read his most recent novel.  I loved the characters (recognising Hester whom I adore) and the premise.  I did find this one a little more stilted than the usual fast paced, I can't wait to keep reading way I usually feel reading Harlan but I still really enjoyed it.  Quite a political slant to this one but with plenty of drama and mystery, I definitely need to know more about Wilde so I hope there will be more to come involving him!
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This book has all the ingredients found in a Harlan Coben novel,  interesting characters, twisting plot, surprises throughout. It just didn't hit the mark.for me, I found the slow pace of the first half and the numerous plot lines distracted from my enjoyment of this
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Unusually for me for a Harlan Coben book, this read just didn't hook me at all and believe me, I really persevered.  I simply found it slow and with so many characters, somewhat confusing and hard to keep up with everything.  Unfortunately, at around about the half-way point, I gave up with it.  Sorry Mr. Coben.

Many thanks to Netgalley for a copy of this ARC for which I have given my voluntary and unbiased review.
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Wilde is a man who spent his early years living a feral life in the woods. No one knew where he came from, hence his given name Wilde. The book had a rather slow start and I was confused with all of the characters, but after about a third in, it started to get more addictive. Raced through the last third of the book and really enjoyed this new different character that Harlen has introduced his readers to. I feel that there may be more novels involving Wilde - let's hope so!
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A fantastic story. I did find it a slow start and all the way through it was very convoluted.  Wilde was such a lovely person although a little on the bizarre side. The story winds around and as the reader I could not work out what was going to happen, who was telling the truth  and who was lying. Coben is a superb writer.
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Wilde is an oddball, found feral in the woods as a child he now lives in a pod in the woods.  He works on and off with Hester, a supersuccessful lawyer and  TV broadcaster who gets involved when a young girl disappears from her school.  At first it seems likely she's been bullied and run away but Wilde tracks her down.  The plot thickens when she disappears again and so does the son of a local plutocrat.  It moves quickly and there are several clever twists to the plot.  Very american in style.
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A huge plot line with multiple, sometimes overwhelming, subplots by the talented author, the story had everything going for it from politics to bullying to conspiracy. 

Wilde was the boy from the woods who didn't remember his past. When a teen went missing he was hired to search for her.

Having read many books by the author, I was pulled into the action packed story where the characters played their part to keep me intrigued.

It was more like an action thriller movie with many scenes added to it as the book progressed, rather than a truly suspenseful novel. Overall, a good escape from real life.
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I enjoyed this right from the start, I love this author and this book was exact what I needed to sink into just now. 

As always with Cobens writing I enjoy the way he includes sarcasm into some of his characters and this was done well with the characters in this book. I particularly liked Hester and Wilde 🤪

For me some more ‘bigger’ developments could have happened earlier on in the book but then we may have lost potential scene setting which could have been detrimental to the process the characters went through so that’s just a niggle of my own, not at all a criticism. 

I loved the route this book took towards the end! As always Coben keeps us guessi - I just wish I’d had more free time to read his quicker!
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EXCERPT: From the North Jersey Gazette April 18 1986


Huge Mystery Surrounding Discovery of 'Real Life Mowgli

WESTVILLE, N.J.- In one of the most bizarre cases in recent history, a wild-haired young boy, estimated to be between six and eight years old, was discovered living on his own in the Ramapo State Forest near the suburb of Westville. Even more bizarre, authorities have no idea who the boy is or how long he had been there.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: The man known as Wilde is a mystery to everyone, including himself. Decades ago, he was found as a boy living feral in the woods, with no memory of his past. After the police concluded an exhaustive hunt for the child's family, which was never found, he was turned over to the foster system.

Now, thirty years later, Wilde still doesn't know where he comes from, and he's back living in the woods on the outskirts of town, content to be an outcast, comfortable only outdoors, preferably alone, and with few deep connections to other people.

When a local girl goes missing, famous TV lawyer Hester Crimstein--with whom Wilde shares a tragic connection--asks him to use his unique skills to help find her. Meanwhile, a group of ex-military security experts arrive in town, and when another teen disappears, the case's impact expands far beyond the borders of the peaceful suburb. Wilde must return to the community where he has never fit in, and where the powerful are protected even when they harbor secrets that could destroy the lives of millions . . . secrets that Wilde must uncover before it's too late.

MY THOUGHTS: I have read better books by Harlan Coben, and I have read worse ones. The Boy From the Woods sits somewhere in the middle. It's not a bad read, but neither is it anything special. I wasn't tempted to abandon this read, but I was easily distracted by things I normally ignore when I am reading.

None of the characters were completely convincing. Even Wilde, who was easily the most interesting, was a mass of contradictions. I did enjoy the way Naomi's disappearance was wrapped up.

There are a lot of current issues incorporated into this novel, fake news, political machinations, bullying in the school system and the home. Sometimes less is more.

I think that this may make a better movie than book. There is quite a lot of unbelievable 'action' that would be better portrayed on the big screen.


#TheBoyFromTheWoods #NetGalley

'Being a parent is like being a car mechanic-you can repair the car and take care of the car and keep the car on the road, but you can't fundamentally change the car. If a sports car drives into your garage for repairs, it isn't driving out a SUV. Same with kids.'

THE AUTHOR: Harlan Coben was born in Newark, New Jersey. He still lives in New Jersey with his wife, Anne Armstrong-Coben MD, a pediatrician, and their four children.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Random House UK, Cornerstone, Century via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of The Boy From the Woods by Harlan Coben for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my profile page or the about page on

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and my webpage
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In some ways  this was a classic  Coben like the multiple  strands of stories and layers of sub plots but in other ways it didn’t seem like one of his books at all. I checked at the end if I had missed a prequel as there seemed to be something missing. The two main characters are Wilde ( the boy in the title) and Hester and unfortunately I never gelled with either of them so I never found myself gripped by them or the story. Not the worst book I’ve ever read by a long way but not one of Coben’s best. Promised more than it delivered but I do think there is the opportunity to develop Hester and Wilde more but in a les# muddled story next time.
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Harlan Coben is one of those exceptional guys. Really nice when you meet him; he has a great sense of humour, is a family man and a belter of a novelist. This is a man whose books I have been reading for years and who never fails to offer interest and excitement even, like now, in the most distracting of times. Simply put, he knows how to tell a good story.

Our protagonist is Wilde, who as a young boy lived in the woods of Ramapo Mountain State Forest, N.J. foraging for himself and knowing nothing about where he came from or what his parentage is, until he was found and looked after.

Now Wilde is a grown man with a distinguished service history who is now a partner in a security firm with his ‘sister’ who was in the home he was brought up in. Wilde still lives in the woods, in an eco-pod, and he still has the restless spirit that doesn’t like to be confined in any place for too long. As a boy, alone in the woods, he had been David’s invisible best friend and that friendship stuck until David was killed in a road accident on the mountains. Now Wilde looks out for his godson, David’s son Matthew Crimstein and his mother, Laila.

Naomi Pine is ‘that girl’ at Matthew’s school. The one who isn’t popular; the one who sits alone and is bullied for the sheer affrontery of being different.  When she disappears, Matthew, who likes her but has never had the courage to openly side with her, asks his grandmother Lawyer and TV personality, Hester Crimstein what can be done to find her.

Crash Maynard is the polar opposite of Naomi. He’s the cool, rich guy. His parents are documentary film makers and their friends are all involved in the movers and shakers world of celebrity, film making and politics.

When Crash goes missing, despite the Maynards top notch security, Wilde is called on for help. Have Naomi and Crash’s disappearances got something in common?

Harlan Coben’s skill is in creating vivid, memorable characters and putting them into exciting situations fraught with danger and full of secrets and lies. He takes real life and skews it just enough to have a truth based foundation for some spectacular story spinning and gosh, but it doesn’t half work well.

His understanding of social media manipulation is a brilliant expose of how to manage a reputational crisis and bend the masses to your will.

Best of all, Coben has left a distinct clue that there will be more to come from his Wilde character, and that’s great news for his millions of fans.

Verdict: Exceptional story-telling, well drawn and  vivid characterisation and a fast-paced and riveting plotline carry the reader along open mouthed as layer upon layer is peeled back to reveal the truth. I needed this diversion from grim reality and now feel much better for it. Highly recommended.
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Harlan Cohen is one of my favourite authors, his Myron Bolitar series is both witty and pacey.

The Boy From The Woods is a stand alone novel. Wilde, no first name, is the boy who was discovered living in the wild in the woods, there’s no real explanation of why. Years later he is an ex special forces, loner investigator searching for Naomi, the target of the class bully, who has gone missing, then the bully goes missing! Confused? Add in a couple of distracting side plots and an unsatisfactory ending 😤

Not my favourite Coben book.
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He was found wandering the New Jersey woods, a child who, despite living wild, could read and write. Nobody knew where he came from, least of all himself. But he grew up, made good friends and near-family, joined the army and now lives off the grid. But when a girl goes missing, his friend, the criminal attorney Hester Crimstein, contacts him for his help.
No one seems particular concerned, apart from Hester’s grandson, but it seems that something sinister is going on. And when a brief glimpse of hope is shattered when another child disappears, it seems somebody is desperate to find a long-hidden secret – or to expose it…
You might or might not have watched the recent Netflix series, The Stranger. It was rather good, full of good performance and some very tense moments, twisting all over the place. I thought the last episode, where everything had to be tied up, didn’t quite work, in part with the realisation that a number of the plot strands had nearly nothing to do with the main story – you expect red herrings in a mystery, but there seemed to be a lot here.
Anyway, that was based on a book by Harlan Coben. Coben has an important part in my reading history, as he was an author that I was reading in an hiatus of a few years of reading crime fiction in my late twenties. The Myron Bolitar books are a really strong series of American mysteries that I still recall fondly. Since then, however, Coben has concentrated for the most part on standalone thrillers.
But is this standalone? Wilde is an interesting lead, and there are still a number of open questions about him. I’d certainly be interested in reading more about him after this book.
It’s a good twisty thriller, starting with a disappearing girl and spiralling up to involve a possible future president of the USA. The pacing is smart and there’s some clever misdirection without ever resorting to gimmicky tricks like an unreliable narrator. The central characters, Wilde and Crimstein, are well constructed, and I do hope the plan is to see more of them.
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Well if you already love Harlan Coben books you won't be disappointed with this new one.

Good characters that you don't want to leave at the end. Good plot as always. Holds your attention and chapters run smoothly into the next

Roll on the hext HC novel. Write quicker!!
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Thirty years ago a young boy was discovered living ferally in some woods near New York. No one could find where he had come from and no one claimed to know him. Move on to the present day and Wilde, as the boy became known, is still living near to where he was found but is living under the radar keeping his whereabouts secret. He has worked for the armed forces and in security and when a young teen goes missing a top lawyer asks for his help.
It appears that the missing girl has been badly bullied at school and one boy in particular, Crash Maynard, is implicated. He is the son of an extremely wealthy and connected couple who themselves become thrown into the middle of the investigation.
There are numerous threads as you would expect from Harlan Corben and some misdirects. I’m not sure it’s his best but still an engaging read.
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One day I will read a Harlan Coben's book I don't like but I can say I loved this one.
Wilde was my favorite characters and I appreciated the character development and his story.
The plot is gripping and fast paced, it keeps you hooked and turning pages as fast as you can.
The cast of characters is well thought and they are interesting.
It was an excellent read, highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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A stand alone novel, but I would like to see how these characters develop.
Wilde was discovered in the woods with no idea how he arrived there or who are his family.
Now a decorated former soldier, he still prefers to live alone in the woods.
Until a local girl goes missing.
This is where this story starts but does not end there!
I was entranced by this book and devoured it. I am eagerly waiting for the next Harlan Coven!!
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4 Stars from me

Classic Coben! The book packs so much in that you will fast be immersed in the story and invested in the characters.

Wilde is a 'Jack Reacher' style guy with an incredible past that ties him to the family of ruthless criminal attorney Hester Crimstein. He is liked and respected by men and adored by (several) women.

The story focuses on a missing teenager and a murky political past but also manages to weave in some nice emotive touches and several peaks of tension.

Overall, very Coben and very readable!
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The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben was truly unputdownable for me. I loved the skilled  mixture of elements in this book. Observation of human behaviour particularly with Crash, Matthew and Naomi. Wilde’s intriguing story (I just know there’s definitely more of that to come) and the political and societal backdrop of the Maynards and Rusty alongside the all-American ex military guys. Without spoilers I’ll have to leave it there but I hope I’ve conveyed how there’s something for everyone-did I mention co-ercive control, commitment issues and trauma? I especially loved the potential romance for Hester- there’s life in us old dogs, and healing with the right people and circumstances if we open ourselves to it.  A cracking five star read I loved every page.
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