Sunday, April 4, 2010 By: Suzanne

The Woods: Audio

The Woods by Harlan Coben is a mystery/thriller told (mostly) from the point of view of Paul Copeland. Twenty years ago, Paul lost his sister and three other teenagers to a serial killer in the woods near his summer camp. He has felt guilty for twenty years, feeling as if he should have been able to stop the murders since he was the counselor on duty that night. Now, as the prosecutor for Essex County, New Jersey, he has been called into a case that makes him question everything he knew about that night.

The story is told by Scott Brick, an obviously talented actor who makes up for the short comings of Coben's writing. While I enjoyed the plot, I felt some of the scenes were a but too contrived. He was just trying way too hard to make it work. For most of the book, we're following Paul and then out of the blue we get a peek from one of the other detectives, Paul's high school girlfriend, and a cop from New York. These all come at just the right moment to make you realize the truth but to continue to keep Paul in the dark. I felt there could have been a better way to progress the plot and still put Paul in danger in the end without giving away too much. Or, if Coben wanted a book told from several different points of view, then he should have given us a little in the beginning from each of those characters. Let us get to know their voices before the "big reveal." As it is, it feel very contrived.

Of course, I also have to take into account the fact that if I can figure out who the killer is long before the "big reveal" then I don't like mysteries. It's boring to wait for the characters to catch up to me. It kind of feels like the author has made his characters slightly stupid.

Overall, I did enjoy the plot and thought it was very well thought out, just poorly executed near the end.