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The Woods

The Woods

4.2 328
by Harlan Coben

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#1 New York Times bestselling author Harlan Coben takes readers into the heart of family loyalty in this twisty page-turner that proves that the darkest secrets are often closest to home.

Paul Copeland, a New Jersey county prosecutor, is still grieving the loss of his sister twenty years ago—the night she walked into the woods,


#1 New York Times bestselling author Harlan Coben takes readers into the heart of family loyalty in this twisty page-turner that proves that the darkest secrets are often closest to home.

Paul Copeland, a New Jersey county prosecutor, is still grieving the loss of his sister twenty years ago—the night she walked into the woods, never to be seen again. But now, a homicide victim is found with evidence linking him to the disappearance. The victim could be the boy who vanished along with Paul's sister. And, as hope rises that his sister could still be alive, dangerous secrets from his family's past threaten to tear apart everything Paul has been trying to hold together...

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
Praise for The Woods

“[The Woods] might just be the best thing Coben has written...A gripping story, filled with fine characters and dark secrets.”—Chicago Sun Times

“A lively, fast-moving entertainment, jam packed with the bizarre plot twists that are his stock in trade.”—The Washington Post
“A fast-paced, complex plot...Coben’s talent for creating involving and compelling stories shines.”—South Florida Sun-Sentinel
“Dark and deep.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Coben turns the idyll of summer camp into a nightmare...Enter, you who dare.”—The Columbus Dispatch

“Another surprising and emotional story that will remain with the reader long after the last page is finished. One of Coben’s best.”—Library Journal

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
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Penguin Group
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File size:
375 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

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

Meet the Author

International bestselling author Harlan Coben’s last seven novels, The Woods, Promise Me, The Innocent, Just One Look, No Second Chance, Gone for Good, and Tell No One have appeared at the top of all the major bestseller lists, including The New York Times, Book Sense, The Times (London), Le Monde, Publishers Weekly, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal, as well as many others throughout the United States and the world. His most recent book The Woods (2007) was a bestseller on lists across the country including USA Today, Publishers Weekly, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Nielsen Bookscan and Entertainment Weekly. Promise Me and The Woods were both named one of the best thrillers of the year by Library Journal. Coben’s books are published in 38 languages and have 40 million copies in print world wide. His new novel, Hold Tight, will be published in the U.S. on April 15, 2008.

In his first books, Coben immersed himself in the exploits of sports agent Myron Bolitar. Critics loved the series, saying, “You race to turn pages…both suspenseful and often surprisingly funny” (People). After seven whodunit books Coben moved away from Myron Bolitar. “I came up with a great idea that simply would not work for Myron,” says Coben. The result was the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller Tell No One, which has been credited by many as reinventing the thriller and which became the most decorated thriller of 2001 – nominated for an Edgar, an Anthony, a Macavity, a Nero, and a Barry; winner of the Audie award for Best Audio Mystery/Suspense Book; and a #1 hardcover book on the Book Sense 76 list. Coben followed the success of Tell No One with the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers Gone For Good (2002), No Second Chance (2003), Just One Look (2004), The Innocent (2005), Promise Me (2006) and The Woods (2007).

Coben’s unique take on the American dream has struck an international chord. Bookspan, recognizing his broad appeal, named No Second Chance its first ever International Book of the Month in 2003.

Since 1995, Harlan Coben has won the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award, the Private Eye Writers of America’s Shamus Award, and the Anthony Award – the first writer to win all three. In 2004 he was shortlisted for the Author of the Year Award for the British Book Awards, dubbed “The Oscars of the Book Trade.” He was the first American to make the list.

Tell No One, Coben's first stand alone novel, was released as a film in France in 2006. A runaway smash, Tell No One has grossed over $32 million in France and Variety called the film, "a sharp, efficient package." Tell No One was directed by Guillaume Canet (Mon Idole), and features an all-star cast including Kristin Scott Thomas (Gosford Park), Nathalie Baye (Catch Me If You Can), and Marie-Josée Croze (Munich). The movie will be released in theaters in the US in the summer of 2008. FOX TV has purchased the rights to Coben’s popular Myron Bolitar series for a pilot by Bones creator-executive producer Hart Hanson.

A graduate of Amherst College, Harlan Coben was born and raised in New Jersey, where he still lives with his wife, Anne Armstrong-Coben. Harlan and Anne have four young children and two dogs.

With more than seventy million books in print worldwide, Harlan Coben is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of thirty novels, including the Myron Bolitar series and a series aimed at young adults featuring Myron's newphew, Mickey Bolitar. His books are published in forty-three languages around the globe and have been number one bestsellers in more than a dozen countries. The winner of the Edgar, Shamus, and Anthony Awards, he lives in New Jersey.

Brief Biography

Ridgewood, New Jersey
Date of Birth:
January 4, 1962
Place of Birth:
Newark, New Jersey
B.A. in political science, Amherst College, 1984

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The Woods 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 328 reviews.
JerseyAngel More than 1 year ago
This was my first Harlan Coben novel. I came across it as a B&N Bargain Book and so glad I did! I am officially putting all of his books on my list. The story itself was interesting but there was never a dull moment. Not once did I get bored. I was constantly on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next all the way to the very end, even when I thought there was nothing else to surprise me with. The characters were all likeable but flawed making them very real and easy to relate to. I can always tell when I love a book if I can't leave it alone. I got through 1/2 the book on the first day & finished it up a few days later. Even during favorite tv shows I would find myself sneaking in some reading because I just couldn't stop! Loved it & can't wait to read more by Harlan!
vivico1 More than 1 year ago
My first Harlan Coben book. Great suspense, great characters and great humor at the right spots. If you pick it up, you wont put it down. This book made me a Harlan Coben fan instantly and wanting more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story was very interesting until the last fifty or so pages. Was Coben under time constraints to finish this book? The ending was certainly contrived and most disappointing. This novel didn't match his other works.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Harlan's books have always been part Andrew Vachss wannabee with a suburban New Jersey twist. His heroes are not tough guys but jewish lawyers and he usually writes so dynamically well you buy all the coincidences and last minute appearances to get to some rather remarkable conclusions. I've loved all his previous work. Not this time. This time you can see the end coming real early on. I won't spoil it but if you've read Harlan before you will be very surprised when you guess correctly and he does NOT whisk the answer away like a magician. Worse, the 'hero' of this tale is just a bit too much of an Alan Alda lefty for me to buy as a real he man whenever Harland decides he should have backbone. Worse, the man is hardly above being a total fraud and hypocrite, often resorting in his own investigations into twenty year old misdeeds to tactics exactly the same as those he abhores in those he is attempting to prosecute. I found this comparison both ridiculous, typically hypocritical and awful writing construction. In short the main character is an unsympathetic hypocrite who does one thing to those he chooses to prosecute but sees no problem in employing their scorched earth tactics for his OWN ends. And this time, his use of characters from previous novels seems too much a throwaway practice. I didn't give him one star because I love all his previous work and I couldn't ever give him NO stars because, quite frankly, we are not offered that choice.
JgleJne More than 1 year ago
i actually bought this one on CD to listen to at work but found that i couldn't stop listening when work was over. i had to take the cds in my truck to listen on the way home...and i was totally blown away by the end...i thought i had the ending figured out but then Harlan threw me for a loop i never saw coming
Farmerswife15 More than 1 year ago
This is the first novel by Harlan Coben I have read. A friend suggested this author and what a GREAT read!! I am hooked!! I will be purchasing more of Harlan's work. I was drawn in to the story, characters, and the twists and turns that they went through. I was not able to put the book down!! The ending was a surprise.
wik23 More than 1 year ago
This is a fun read that has two stories within one. The subplot involves a rape case similar to the Duke athletic incident a few years ago. The plot reminds me of summer camp as a youth or going camping. Regardless, take the time to read this...it's a quick read. The author's style is simple and much of the book contains dialogue between characters which makes for a quick page turner.
deb-oh More than 1 year ago
I thought this was one of his best, really enjoyed it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'am a fan of Harlan Coben's books. I like his style of writing. Intriguing, thrilling, lots of interacting plots in the story. His characters take on their own personality's. The Woods offers psychological intrigue as well as a little romance, danger and murder...the book has it all wrapped into one and just when I thought I had it all figured out...surprise! That's another thing I like about Coben's books...he keeps me glued to the very end! I read this and it was passed along my family members and everyone loved it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was another great book by a GREAT author. His books always pull you in and force you to keep reading. I read this one in 2 days! You just want to keep finding out what happens next.
sedonadustbunny More than 1 year ago
One of his best books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was my second Coben novel I've read. Lets just say I can't stop reading his stand alone now. I thought The Woods was excellent. Might be my favorite so far. Coben has a gift when it comes to storytelling and keeps me captivated throughout the entire book. I look forward to reading every Coben novel he's published.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book kept my attention the whole way thru. There were so many twists and turns that I was kept guessing the entire time. Mr. Cobane is one of my favorite writers. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery. I was somewhat disappointed at the end of the book only because I wanted Lucy and Paul to be together and have a happy ending. Great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As with most of his books, tons of suspense and surprises!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great writer!
Arlene70AL More than 1 year ago
Harland Coben mysteries are always exciting and interesting. He places his story in northeaster New Jersey and mentions many places I know and have been to. That makes it almost personal and is fun. He keeps you guessing to the very end. This is a great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She purred. "Okay!"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its ok. Goes back to camp. And caught my mouse & ate it in one bite.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"KitClan needs no fighting help!" She runs back to the rondevou.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She runs to the deepest/ darkest part of the woods.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She purred happily before dozing off again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Disapprars in a flash after reburying the body (yes hazelfeather likes me she said 'i love you' when i died)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Watches, inquisitive.