THE BOY FROM THE WOODS by Harlan Coben

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From the publisher:

A man with a mysterious past must find a missing teenage girl in this shocking thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Run Away.

Thirty years ago, Wilde was found as a boy living feral in the woods, with no memory of his past. Now an adult, he still doesn’t know where he comes from, and another child has gone missing.

No one seems to take Naomi Pine’s disappearance seriously, not even her father-with one exception. Hester Crimstein, a television criminal attorney, knows through her grandson that Naomi was relentlessly bullied at school. Hester asks Wilde-with whom she shares a tragic connection-to use his unique skills to help find Naomi.

Wilde can’t ignore an outcast in trouble, but in order to find Naomi he must venture back into the community where he has never fit in, a place 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.


Harlan Coben introduces a new character for his readers with this book. It is a man simply called Wilde due to his very unusual past.

Wilde was discovered as a boy roaming free in the woods. He has no memory of where he came from, but does speak and understand English and had lived and survived for years through entering homes of people living on or near the woods and taking food and clothing. Once picked up, he is taken in and adopted by a family, goes to school and serves in the military.

Now as an adult, Wilde makes a living as a person that does things for other people. He learns about the disappearance of Naomi Pine, the daughter of a man that he knew in school but does not react until asked to find her by Heather Crimstein, who is a television criminal attorney. Heather has learned from her grandson that Naomi has been relentlessly bullied in school and may have fled that life.

The search for Naomi and events following her disappearance are action-filled and as described by the author constitute the draw of the book for the reader. The story, while interesting, is not as mesmerizing as the normal Harlan Coben book generally is. The first section features a great deal of conversation with little action and the actions of Wilde in looking for the lost girl come across as a bit disjointed. The book is by Harlan Coben which makes it desirable but an ending that seems to terminate the series without setting up another Wilde novel could be what the author wants in testing the main character.

3/2020 Paul Lane

THE BOY FROM THE WOODS by Harlan Coben. Grand Central Publishing (March 17, 2020). ISBN: 978-1538748145. 384p.

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