The Woods

Harlan Coben

Mr. Coben has a series detective, Myron Bolitar, and several stand-alone's. This is a stand-alone. But the stand-alone's seem to have a theme, someone believed dead is not dead, but returns. In this case it is someone from a murder by a serial slasher at a teen-age camp 20 years earlier. Good enough, the guy turns up in the county morgue. The narrator of the book is also the county prosecutor, so he sees the corpse and recognizes him, since he was also at the camp. Now this makes for a good story, but that's not all. We have so many elements added. There is a KGB sub plot (that goes nowhere), a Duke like trial of some frat boys that rape an exotic dancer, and beautiful women everywhere. He even has a 6 year old daughter he is raising because his wife died of cancer. Very little is done with the daughter. My favorite though is the completely unnecessary county coroner (different county). She is drop-dead gorgeous, doesn't like people in general and men in particular. Doesn't matter, our hero doesn't ever meet her. Part of the story is told from her point of view so she can tell us she doesn't like people, etc, and make an important discovery. Yes, even though our hero narrates the book in the first person, we jump out of his story at times to add things to the plot. Disconcerting! Add to the fact that no one is as they seem and everyone in the story is lying about something, and it is hard to root for anyone. Nonetheless, I finished this book in two days. So I guess it held my interest. I am not sure I would recommend it. There is a great deal of courtroom testimony, and in general I avoid such books. This one slipped up on me, but it makes for a fast read since courtroom drama goes fast. All in all, Coben's series books are better.