The Woods

The Woods

4.2 326
by Harlan Coben
     
 

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Twenty years ago, four teenagers at summer camp walked into the woods at night. Two were found murdered, and the others were never seen again. Four families had their lives changed forever. Now, two decades later, they are about to change again.

For Paul Copeland, the county prosecutor of Essex, New Jersey, mourning the loss of his sister has only recently…  See more details below

Overview

Twenty years ago, four teenagers at summer camp walked into the woods at night. Two were found murdered, and the others were never seen again. Four families had their lives changed forever. Now, two decades later, they are about to change again.

For Paul Copeland, the county prosecutor of Essex, New Jersey, mourning the loss of his sister has only recently begun to subside. Cope, as he is known, is now dealing with raising his six-year-old daughter as a single father after his wife has died of cancer. Balancing family life and a rapidly ascending career as a prosecutor distracts him from his past traumas, but only for so long. When a homicide victim is found with evidence linking him to Cope, the well-buried secrets of the prosecutor's family are threatened.

Is this homicide victim one of the campers who disappeared with his sister? Could his sister be alive? Cope has to confront so much he left behind that summer twenty years ago: his first love, Lucy; his mother, who abandoned the family; and the secrets that his Russian parents might have been hiding even from their own children. Cope must decide what is better left hidden in the dark and what truths can be brought to the light.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
While the pulse-pounding action of Harlan Coben's stand-alone thriller takes place in a familiar (almost cinematic) setting -- the ominous woodlands surrounding a summer camp -- the plotline of this wild roller-coaster ride is anything but predictable.

In the midst of the biggest case of his career, acting Essex County prosecutor Paul Copeland is contacted by investigators who have linked him to a middle-aged man found dead in Manhattan. When he views the corpse, he is shocked by the man's uncanny resemblance to Gil Perez, one of four teenagers (including Copeland's own sister Camille) supposedly killed decades earlier in the woods near a New Jersey summer camp. Working as a camp security guard that summer, Copeland neglected his duties for a tryst with his girlfriend on the night of the murders, and he has lived all these years with crippling guilt and grief. Now he's forced to revisit that tragic event as he embarks on a quest to unravel the mystery behind the brutal crime.

Coben pulls out all of the stops in The Woods, a wild ride featuring a rogues' gallery of sadistic serial killers, ruthless private investigators, brain-damaged hippies, hardcore porn addicts, and former KGB agents. Readers will find it virtually impossible to unglue their eyes from the pages of this utterly compelling thriller. Paul Goat Allen
Publishers Weekly

At the start of this disappointing stand-alone from bestseller Coben (Promise Me), Paul "Cope" Copeland, acting county prosecutor for Essex County, N.J., and Lucy Gold, his long-lost summer camp love, are still haunted by a fateful night, decades earlier, when their nighttime tryst allowed some younger campers, including Cope's sister, to venture into the nearby forest, where they apparently fell victim to the Summer Slasher, a serial killer. Cope's intense focus on a high-profile rape prosecution of some wealthy college students shifts after one of the Slasher's victims, whose body was never found, turns up as a recent corpse in Manhattan, casting doubt on the official theory of the old case. Cope's own actions on that night again come under scrutiny, even as the highly placed fathers of the men he's prosecuting work to unearth as many skeletons as possible to pressure him into dropping the rape case. Less than compelling characters fail to compensate for a host of implausibilities. Hopefully, Coben will return to form with his next book. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Forbes Magazine
This read will cure you of any inclination to send your kids (if you love 'em) to summer camp or traipse through the woods yourself. Coben has spun a gripping, chilling tale, whose plot has more tributaries than a swamp. The unexpected turns of events and characters with less-than-wholesome agendas or secrets from the past are astonishing, yet you never get lost in the complexity. From the first page you're hooked. (17 Sep 2007)
—Steve Forbes
Library Journal

Paul Copeland is a county prosecutor working on a difficult case when two policemen arrive and take him to the morgue to identify a body. The case sets up echoes from Paul's past, forcing him to relive 20-year-old events and the day that destroyed his innocence. When he was a teenager, Paul was at a summer camp with his sister. He neglected his duties, instead rendezvousing with a girl, and in the end what started as a prank resulted in four deaths. Haunted daily by his actions, Paul now sees an opportunity for redemption. Can he sort out what really happened on that fateful night? The exploration of ordinary people with life-shattering secrets is a common thread in Coben's novels. Instead of this premise becoming stale, though, he has created another surprising and emotional story that will remain with the reader long after the last page is finished. One of Coben's best, and a necessary purchase. [See Prepub Alert, LJ1/07; Mystery Guild, Literary Guild, BOMC, and Doubleday Book Club main selections.]
—Jeff Ayers

From the Publisher
"One of Coben's best." -Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780752874418
Publisher:
Gardners Books
Publication date:
05/16/2007

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From the Publisher

"One of Coben's best." -Library Journal

Meet the Author

Harlan Coben is the internationally bestselling author of more than twenty previous novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers The Stranger,Missing YouSix YearsStay Close, Live WireCaughtLong Lost, and Hold Tight, as well as the Myron Bolitar series and a series aimed at young adults featuring Myron’s nephew, Mickey Bolitar. The winner of the Edgar, Shamus, and Anthony Awards, he lives in New Jersey.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Ridgewood, New Jersey
Date of Birth:
January 4, 1962
Place of Birth:
Newark, New Jersey
Education:
B.A. in political science, Amherst College, 1984
Website:
http://www.harlancoben.com

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