The boy from the woods

Harlan Coben, 1962-

Book - 2020

"The man known as Wilde is a mystery to everyone, including himself. Decades ago, he was found as a boy living feral in the woods, with no memory of his past. After the police concluded an exhaustive hunt for the child's family, which was never found, he was turned over to the foster system. Now, thirty years later, Wilde still doesn't know where he comes from, and he's back living in the woods on the outskirts of town, content to be an outcast, comfortable only outdoors, preferably alone, and with few deep connections to other people. When a local girl goes missing, famous TV lawyer Hester Crimstein--with whom Wilde shares a tragic connection--asks him to use his unique skills to help find her. Meanwhile, a group of ex-...military security experts arrive in town, and when another teen disappears, the case's impact expands far beyond the borders of the peaceful suburb. Wilde must return to the community where he has never fit in, and 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"--

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Suspense fiction
Mystery fiction
Detective and mystery fiction
Thrillers (Fiction)
New York : Grand Central Publishing [2020]
Main Author
Harlan Coben, 1962- (author)
First edition
Physical Description
371 pages ; 24 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Natty Bumppo of James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales seems to make a comeback in Coben's thirty-second mystery. The hero, Wilde, is a white man, discovered 34 years ago as a child living wild in the New Jersey woods. Wilde's origins are a mystery, but many suspect he was raised by members of the Ramapough Lenape Nation (which is a part of the Delaware Indians who raised Bumppo). Somehow, Wilde emerged, with no memory of how he was raised, but very fit, literate, and wise. Like Bumppo, Wilde has the advantage of knowing how to track and hunt, and his military training ramps these abilities up. A famous criminal attorney and TV commentator reaches out to Wilde when her grandson is upset by the disappearance of a classmate, a girl who has endured years of hard-core bullying. Coben is excellent, as always, at showing the perils of the everyday and the bit-by-bit escalations of cruelty. But the mystery seems hastily constructed, and the ending comes out of nowhere. Not up to Coben's usual level; this Natty Bumppo should return to the forest.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Even when not in top form, Coben draws a crowd, and this lesser effort is likely to climb best-seller lists.--Connie Fletcher Copyright 2020 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

This subpar thriller from Edgar winner Coben (the Myron Bolitar series) pairs an improbable lead with an improbable plot. In 1986, a boy, who looks to be between six and eight years old, is found living on his own in the woods near Westville, N.J. Flash forward 34 years. The boy is now known simply as Wilde, "a beautiful man with his dark sun-kissed complexion, his build of coiled muscles, his forearms looking like high tension wires." Wilde is also a genius and a brilliant PI. His detective skills are called upon after his late best friend's mother, celebrity lawyer Hester Crimstein, learns from her teenage grandson that a bullied classmate of her grandson, Naomi Pine, has disappeared from her Westville home. Naomi's father falsely claims that his daughter went to visit her mother, raising suspicions of foul play. Naomi's story is somehow connected with the presidential aspirations of Sen. Rusty Eggers, a nihilistic tyrant viewed by some on the left as even more of a threat to America than Donald Trump, a hard-to-swallow plotline that Coben does nothing to make feel plausible. This gifted author is capable of better. 7-city author tour. Agent: Lisa Erbach Vance, Aaron M. Priest Literary. (Mar.)

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Review by Library Journal Review

In 1986, a young boy was found living in the woods in Ramapo Mountain State Park in New Jersey. He was about six to eight years old, spoke English, but had no idea of his name. Thirty years later, Wilde, who was adpoted and raised by criminal defense attorney Hester Crimstein, still prefers being outside. When a teen girl, Naomi, who had been cruelly bullied goes missing, Hester broadcasts about the case on her television show and asks Wilde to help with the search. The investigation takes Wilde and Hester deep into the ugly underbelly of wealthy elites who never face repercussions for their actions. Wilde soon realizes that the secrets he's uncovering could destroy more than one girl's life. This riveting, action-packed novel by the author of the best-selling Run Away is intense from the first page, with dramatic plot twists eerily reminiscent of current political and social scandals. VERDICT Fans of complex heroes caught up in world-changing events will relish this latest from a master storyteller. [See Prepub Alert, 8/25/19.]--Lesa Holstine, Evansville Vanderburgh P.L., IN

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

Coben's latest darkest-suburbs thriller sets a decidedly offbeat detective on the trail of a crime with overtones unmistakably redolent of once and future presidential elections.Wilde is called Wilde because nobody's known his real name from the moment a pair of hikers found him foraging for himself in Ramapo Mountain State Forest 24 years ago. Now over 40, he's had experience as both a lost boy and a private investigator. That makes him an obvious person to help when his godson, Sweet Water High School student Matthew Crimstein, expresses concern to his grandmother, attorney Hester Crimstein, that his bullied classmate Naomi Pine has gone missing. Matthew doesn't really want anyone to help. He doesn't even want anyone to notice his agitation. But Hester, taking the time from her criminal defense of financial consultant Simon Greene (Run Away, 2019) to worm the details out of him, asks Wilde to lend a hand, and sure enough, Wilde, unearthing an unsavory backstory that links Naomi to bullying classmate Crash Maynard, whose TV producer father, Dash Maynard, is close friends with reality TV star-turned-presidential hopeful Rusty Eggers, finds Naomi hale and hearty. Everything's hunky-dory for one week, and then she disappears again. And this time, so does Crash after a brief visit to Matthew in which he tearfully confesses his guilt about the bad stuff he did to Naomi. This second disappearance veers into more obviously criminal territory with the arrival of a ransom note that demands, not money, but the allegedly incriminating videotapes of Rusty Eggers that Dash and Delia Maynard have had squirreled away for 30 years. The tapes link Rusty to a forgotten and forgettable homicide and add a paranoid new ripped-from-the-headlines dimension to the author's formidable range. Readers who can tune out all the subplots will find the kidnappers easy to spot, but Coben finds room for three climactic surprises, one of them a honey.Now that Coben's added politics to his heady brew, expect sex and religion to join the mix. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.