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Wilde #1

The Boy from the Woods

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Thirty years ago, Wilde was found as a boy living feral in the woods, with no memory of his past. Now an adult, he still doesn't know where he comes from, and another child has gone missing.

No one seems to take Naomi Pine's disappearance seriously, not even her father-with one exception. Hester Crimstein, a television criminal attorney, knows through her grandson that Naomi was relentlessly bullied at school. Hester asks Wilde-with whom she shares a tragic connection-to use his unique skills to help find Naomi.

Wilde can't ignore an outcast in trouble, but in order to find Naomi he must venture back into the community where he has never fit in, a place 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.

371 pages, Hardcover

First published March 1, 2020

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About the author

Harlan Coben

205 books30.6k followers
Harlan Coben is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and one of the world's leading storytellers. His suspense novels are published in forty-five languages and have been number one bestsellers in more than a dozen countries with seventy-five million books in print worldwide.

His books have earned the Edgar, Shamus, and Anthony Awards, and many have been developed into Netflix Original Drama series, including his adaptations of The Stranger, The Innocent, Gone for Good and The Woods. His most recent adaptation for Netflix, Stay Close, premiered on December 31, 2021 and stars Cush Jumbo, James Nesbitt, and Richard Armitage.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,737 reviews
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,414 reviews77.5k followers
October 21, 2022
"Well, well, well, as I live and breathe. Hester Crimstein in my little station."

Whether you are stumbling across this review in search of a new stand-alone thriller or as a long term fan of the author, you are equal parts welcome here. Friends, The Boy from the Woods is Harlan Coben at his best, and let me tell you why. Readers of Stephen King claim their loyalty as a fan base in part because he has an uncanny way of providing layers to his work. Sure, you can jump right in to most of his fictional pieces and get by just fine, but once you've experienced a few of his stories, you start to find the hidden gems, cross references, and golden nuggets that he leaves behind for those who wish to go deeper. What King does for science fiction, fantasy, and horror, Harlan Coben does for crime fiction.

Did you happen to read Run Away earlier this year? If so, you'll find out early on that the events of The Boy from the Woods happen tangentially to what Simon Greene experiences in Run Away. Don't worry if you haven't read it; there are no spoilers for that plot in this book, and you could still go back and read Run Away after finishing this one, as they are two separate entities. However, this is just an example of the easter eggs you'll find throughout if you're a dedicated fan. *clears throat*

---> insert Hester Crimstein

If you're new around here, let me catch you up to speed. Hester is a 70-something year old defense attorney who is a little bit of this:


And a whole lotta this:


Basically, she's one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. She's got style, she's got class, and she's a teeny tiny woman who's a great big smart ass. Each and every time she has shown up in one of the author's books as a supporting character, I've longed for an in depth peek into her story. Finally, it's here! I won't say too much, other than this was everything I have been waiting for over the past 12 years of reading Coben's novels. Also, Hester getting a romance will fix everything that is wrong in the world, I assure you. The reason Hester is a central character in this book is because her grandson, Matthew, is tangled up in something he shouldn't have been (teenagers, amiright?). There is another aspect of the story that is described in the synopsis, and I don't want to mention it here specifically, but it's worth stating that it kept my focus in a different place which, in turn, helped keep most of the twists and turns a surprise.

As a reader, I've always found that the very best thrillers are equal parts gripping plot progression and in depth character development. Harlan Coben manages to balance action scenes with emotional connections as a perfected art form, which is why he has become one of my most trusted go-to authors of the past decade. Perhaps being a long time fan allowed me to appreciate every instance of crossover characters, every exclamation of "Articulate!" when a phone was answered, and every familiar setting that I've grown exceptionally fond of between NJ and NYC, but I believe The Boy from the Woods stands on its own as a memorable thriller. I enjoyed every minute I spent with this book, and I hope to meet Hester, Oren, and a few other characters in future endeavors.


*Many thanks to the author for providing my review copy.
Profile Image for Joey R..
235 reviews296 followers
May 20, 2020
I just finished “The Boy From the Woods”, and I am speechless. I really can’t believe this was written by the same Harlan Coben that wrote so many books that I loved and gave 5 star reviews. To be honest, I can’t believe I even finished it, but I wanted to see if it got any better. Unfortunately, it didn’t. “The Boy From the Woods” begins when teenaged Matthew becomes nervous about a missing classmate and enlists the help of his celebrity lawyer grandmother, Hester, to find her. Hester of course calls the ‘Boy From the Woods”, Wilde. (Yes Wilde lol). After treating a possible missing teenager as serious as a full scale murder investigation, he finds her and the case is over. Right???? Not so fast —she disappears again and Wilde gets involved in finding her again. This (of course)turns into a massive investigation as well that leads to another missing person which leads to a different issue with a well-liked Presidential candidate and the secret he is trying to keep hidden. If this is your cup of tea — more power to you, but from beginning to end this had to be one of the most ridiculous plots I have ever read. Wilde, who was found abandoned as a child after surviving for weeks/ months in the woods has almost superhuman abilities to find clues and make deductions that no other human would be able to. The ending is so unbelievable that I can’t even begin to describe how far the author chooses to go to wrap up the two investigations that coincidentally occurred at the same time. Up until now Coben has been one of my favorites. He is such a good writer and has the ability to build suspense better than just about anyone. However, I hope he retires Wilde after this one and leaves him in the woods where he lives happily ever after, and I never have to read about him again.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,943 reviews291k followers
March 19, 2020
“Life isn’t lived in the black and white, Wilde. People like to think so nowadays. All the online outrage, things are either all good or all bad. But life is lived in the gray. Life is lived in the nuances.”

Action-wise, this book was as excellent as I have come to expect from Harlan Coben. Lots was going on at all times. Several subplots overlapped and came together, which made it so that the pacing never lagged. But where this differed from Coben's most recent book Run Away and the now almost-classic Tell No One is that The Boy from the Woods had no strong emotional pull for me.

I've said this before, but I am an emotional reader. I love to connect with characters, share their experiences, and become deeply-invested in what will happen to them. In this book, that never really happens. I think this may be because the two characters we follow - Hester and Wilde - had no real emotional attachment to the main mystery-- that of a missing girl and the missing son of local billionaires. And on top of that, the girl's parents do not seem to give much of a damn where she is and the rich boy's parents seem more interested in protecting their own secrets.

Because of this, I never felt emotionally drawn into the story. It never got my pulse racing as I wondered if these poor kids would be found. I experienced more of a mild curiosity about them, not that all-consuming need to know what would happen.

The book does tie well into current U.S. events and politics. There's a guy called Rusty Eggers running for president and he's a little bit of Trump, a little bit of Weinstein-- essentially, a powerful man with powerful connections and maybe a lot to hide. Political secrets and cover-ups abound!

Coben plays around with a number of subplots that feel like distractions because, well, they are. If you ignore them and look underneath to the bare bones of this book, it is very easy to figure out who is behind the kidnapping. Though, credit where it’s due: Coben lays out one twist after another in the final few chapters and I'm sure even the most astute readers will have a hard time spotting everything that is coming (I certainly didn't).

Of the two main perspectives the story is told from, Hester was undoubtedly the star for me. She's a badass, seventy-year-old lawyer who takes shit from no one. Wilde, unfortunately, was nowhere near as interesting as I thought he might be. He is the boy from the blurb who was found in the woods as a young child and remembers nothing from before that. His circumstances and mysterious history are intriguing, but he himself felt a little flat. I far preferred Hester's chapters.

The Boy from the Woods is definitely not a bad read for those who enjoy action, thrills, and some politics thrown in too. But I will always prefer books that I become emotionally invested in over lots of mindless action.

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Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,125 reviews39.2k followers
May 1, 2022
This is whirlwind, complex, action-packed and definitely wilder crazy train ride that I expected to take a full tour! Including: Political scandal, secret tapes, school bullying, disappearing teenager, a man’s stunning story who has been found in the woods, fighting to gather the pieces of his past.

This seems like a complex mix and Mr, Coben juggling too many balls at the same time but thankfully he doesn’t drop any of them and we get our answers for each detailed mysterious factors to finish the remarkable puzzle.

We’re introduced another mysterious character named Wilde. That’s why they call him anyways because decades ago he was found in the woods, trying to survive by himself, suffering from night terrors and a memory of auburn haired beautiful woman (could she be his mom? We have no clue!) His only friend was David who died in a car accident that he was driving that car. He stayed connected with David’s family including his mother Hester Crimstein who is kickass lawyer and famous TV personality, his grandson Malcolm and he’s having a secret affair with David’s wife.

But he likes to be distanced from people, live in a Ecocapsule house reminded us of a sc-ifi project), suffering from OCD, foster cared, having a sister he can call for urgent times, excelled in his studies, worked at special secret missions at the military and now he’s working as a private detective.

After a long introduction about our character, let’s move on the plot: Malcolm tells Hester a girl from his school named Naomi is absent and he worries about her well-being. He is tight lipped at first but Hester realizes the girl is outcast, got bullied at school and her father is heavy drinker. So Hester decides to check on her by visiting their house and Naomi’s father denies her absence. Something seems fishy! So Hester calls Wilde to help her. Everything starts with missing girl story who is being bullied by powerful, elite, popular school boys. Wilde finds out the girl was hiding in the basement. They easily connect because Wilde knows well how to be outcast and to survive in the real and metaphorical jungle.

But a few days later, the girl really disappears and this time, her father wants to hire Wilde to find her. And a kidnapper sends human fingers. Yes! I have to stop here. You want to ask me to “articulate” (This is the signature way of Hester’s answering her calls which I already start to answer like her!) but my lips are sealed . No more beans will come out! (I don’t like beans anyways!)

This is fast, action-packed, smart, entertaining reading with Mr. Coben’s talented, sarcastic story-telling skills. And we have cameo of Simon from Run Away. Hester also mentioned my favorite Harlan Coben character: Myron Bolitar (She didn’t call his name. She mentioned him as a star basketball player friend!) And Malcolm and Crash talked about their favorite drink yoohoo (Myron’s favorite drink!)

I know Wilde’s open-ended story makes you think, we already said goodbye to him. But I’m not so sure. I think we gotta prepare ourselves to read more Wilde series because after my Myron Bolitar obsession, I think the author gave us a unique, layered, mysterious and charming Tarzan meets young Marc Singer from Beastmaster kind of Alpha male character. So I’m looking forward to read more and learn about his secret past!

I went back and forth between 4 and 5 stars. I enjoyed the action packed, exciting, moving development and captivating pacing. The only problem is there are too many materials in this book to write three different more books. So many plots and subplots, crowded characterization exhaust our brains (I already lost five more cells which were fried after reading those exciting but also complex chapters!) but I have to admit, the author connected each piece of the puzzle meticulously.

At least there are no plot holes or illogical explanation or nonsense revelation. I wish we learned more about the background of Wilde but the author has big plans about him. I can sense it. Let’s give 4.5 and round them up to 5 and waiting for the next chapter!

March 12, 2023
Rounded down from roughly 3.5 stars ⭐️

The Boy from the Woods follows Wilde and Hester as they work together to find a missing teenage girl. However, to do so, long buried secrets must be uncovered.

This was my first Harlan Coben novel and I will definitely be diving into more of this author’s works! I really enjoyed this twisty ride that was definitely able to take me by surprise at times. I did struggle a little to follow all the different subplots but I enjoyed how everything tied up towards the end. I’m not usually one for politics in books, but I actually really liked that aspect of this book. It really got me thinking and relating the scenario to real life. I think the political aspect was written in a way that suited a novice like me!

I find feral children incredibly fascinating from a psychological standpoint. However, I had to completely suspend my belief with Wilde’s character. I almost feel like his history was shoehorned in to make him seem more interesting, but it just was not realistic. In fact, there are many parts of this book where you need to completely suspend your belief, which did detract from my enjoyment a little. That being said, I absolutely loved Hester’s character, her tenacity, intelligence and take no prisoners attitude won me over completely! I hope she crops up again in this series! Overall, I enjoyed this and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to the characters next.

I would recommend this to fans of crime/mystery if you don’t mind having to suspend your belief.
Profile Image for Meredith (Slowly Catching Up).
779 reviews12.2k followers
February 17, 2020
The Boy From the Woods is an action-packed thriller about two missing teenagers, a dirty politician, and damaging secrets.

The plot seems simple and focuses a teenage girl who disappears without a trace. She is the school pariah. Then the rich popular boy, who is a bit of douche, disappears as well. This is where things get more complicated. There’s a lot of action and suspense in the attempts to find the missing teenagers. Lies unravel and secrets are revealed. Conspiracy theories, a ransom note, and a lot of drama play into the outcome of events. Two main characters solve the case: The boy from the woods, Wilde, and lawyer, Hester Crimstein.

Wilde was found as a little boy living in the woods by himself. The mystery of how he came to be living on his own in the woods has never been solved. He has no recollection of his parents, the only thing he remembers are parts of dreams. He is now an adult, former army intelligence, drop-dead gorgeous and to top it off, he happens to be a genius. Haunted by his past, he is damaged and reckless, but of course, he has a huge heart. All of the women want him. He is a bit of a giant cliche. Then there is Hester, a 70-year-old kick-ass lawyer who made an appearance in The Runaway. I loved her character--she is intelligent, feisty and posses the ability to slay people with her words. She made this book for me.

I would compare reading this book to watching an action movie: the characters are mysterious and charismatic, and the plot is intriguing until one starts to think and ask questions. It’s all a little too unbelievable, but it makes for good entertainment.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Larry.
76 reviews8,782 followers
January 31, 2021
Yuck. I’m a Harlan Coben fan, but nothing about this book appealed to me. Not the story, not the characters, not the underlying message, nothing. Thank goodness it was a quick read...
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,539 reviews24.6k followers
January 20, 2020
Harlan Coben's novel is a fabulous thriller that takes a little while to work out where it is going, there are numerous threads and a particular highlight is the range of characters from the endearing to the boo hiss variety, set in Westville, New Jersey. The eponymous boy from the woods is Wilde, a feral child, approximately aged between 6-8 years old, discovered surviving alone in the woods with no memory of who he is or where he came from. No-one ever claimed him or came forward with information on who he might possibly be, placed with foster parents, who excelled at school, joined the military, taking part in numerous secret missions, only to leave to work in the private security and investigations sector. His past has made him a loner, with a non-negotiable need to spend time in the woods where he now lives, and unsurprisingly he has issues when it comes to intimacy and connecting with others.

Naomi Pine is a school girl having to endure never ending intensive daily bullying and abuse that the teaching staff never confront, until one day she disappears. Matthew never challenged the bullies but he is worried when she no longer attends school, so much so that he asks his grandmother to investigate. His grandmother just happens to be the larger than life character, the 70 year old widow Hester Crimstein, a famous TV lawyer with some great one liners, still grieving the loss of her son, David, and romantically drawn to Westville Police Chief, Oren Carmichael. One of the main instigators of Naomi's bullying is the entitled rich kid, Crash, the child of the famous Dash and Delia Maynard. Aside from Wilde, there are two other major ex-military men in the story, one in charge of security for the Maynards and there is Saul Strauss, now an activist lobbying for Dash Maynard to release incriminating secret tapes of Rusty Eggers, a divisive politician campaigning to become president. As Crash is abducted, Wilde is hired to find him whilst searching for Naomi as well.

This is a powerful thriller that reflects many strands of contemporary American politics, the deplorable controversial tactics deployed to obscure issues and prevent the truth having any impact, the secrets and lies of the rich and powerful that they will do anything to stop becoming public. The star highlight is the indomitable and colourful Hester, finally beginning to get over the loss of her husband, Ira, close to Wilde since he was a child and a friend of her beloved son, David. She dominates any scene she is a part of, a true believer in upholding the law, even when it doesn't work. Coben's touches on issues of the nature of contemporary politics, the influence of the rich and powerful and on ethics, integrity and morality. I love this twisted thriller, where little is as it appears, with the slow and expert reveals in a compulsive and riveting narrative. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Random House Cornerstone for an ARC.
Profile Image for Sumit RK.
399 reviews451 followers
April 14, 2020
Decades ago, A boy is found living in the woods, with no memory of his past. Even after an exhaustive search, the child's family is never found and he is turned over to a foster family. Years later, the same man, whose past is shrouded in mystery, must find a missing teenage girl before her disappearance brings about disastrous consequences for her community.

On the face of it, this is a nice, fast-paced thriller with an exciting plot and some intriguing characters. However, there are too many things going on in the story. Though the title suggests, it’s centered on “The Boy from the Woods”, he is just a small part of the plot. The boy from the woods does play a role in this book but he is not the primary focus of the story-line.

First the good parts. The story is well structured, has some great characters and has lots of twists and turns. Wilde was an enjoyable character with an aura of mystery and some crisp dialogues. His past is largely unknown and there are questions about his past that never get fully answered. However, Wilde is a character that has plenty of charisma and I think he will return in the future with more answers.

There are a lot of subplots in this book; bullying, kidnappings, ransom notes, blackmailing and conspiracy theories, fake news, politics (for a while it felt like a thriller version of 13 reasons). Then again, there were so many things going on and there is no singular focus on one case. The main mystery and Wilde’s background story were intriguing but it never plays a key role in the story. Except Wilde, none of the supporting characters felt completely convincing. Having enjoyed Coben’s Tell No One, the story felt disjointed and lacking in thrills. There were some unexpected surprises, but some of the parts felt unconvincing.

Overall, The Boy From the Woods is a solid and fast-paced thriller with some intriguing characters. It’s an entertaining read which will keep you engaged.

Many thanks to the publishers Random House UK and Netgalley for the ARC.
Profile Image for Debra .
2,194 reviews34.9k followers
January 31, 2020
Wilde was living wild in the woods (get it?) thirty years ago. No one, including him, knew his name, his exact age, where he came from, his parents’ names, were or how long he had been surviving alone in the woods. He has vague memories, foggy nightmares, but even as an adult all he remembers is scavenging to survive and playing with his friend, Adam.

He's an adult now, but still more comfortable being on his own, living in the woods and keeping even those who love him at arm’s length. Raised in foster care, he excelled in school and even more so in the military where he was a member of an elite group taking part in secret missions.

When his godson asks him to locate a missing girl, Naomi Pine, he knows there is more to the story than his godson, Matthew is telling him. Soon Wilde begins his investigation and enlists Matthew's Grandmother, TV personality and lawyer, Hester Crimstein, who in my opinion steals the show. She is a tough old broad that is also va-va-voom! She seriously is the best, and I am purposely not saying more about her.

Soon, it becomes clear (as it always does in this genre) that there is more going on with the various characters in this book than meets the eye. Soon, Wilde will be up against those with secrets, those with hired muscle, those who will do anything to uncover those secrets and those who will do anything to keep those secrets hidden.

Coben does not disappoint in this book, what begins as a missing person investigation quickly turns into so much more. This book touches on politics, power, romance, bullying, quilt, family, loss, the impact of secrets and how social status can either help or hurt a person. There are a lot of characters in this book and Coben gives them unique personalities and voices. The plot moves at a fast pace as Wilde and others attempt to figure out just what the heck is going on and why.

This is another solid book by Coben. He delivers time and time again and this book is no exception! I found myself engrossed in the book, completely glued to the pages, waiting for the reveal and completely enjoying the book from the very first to the very last page. There are so many characters in the book that I just want to see/read again.

Articulate! (and yes, at some point in the near future I am going to answer my phone this way!)

Well written, well thought out, perfectly paced, captivating and entertaining. Highly recommend!

Thank you to Harlan Coben, goodreads and Grand Central Publishing who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Kylie D.
464 reviews505 followers
March 23, 2020
The Boy From The Woods is an ok thriller, but honestly I found it to be far from Harlan Coben's best. The premise is that a teenage girl goes missing, but instead of a book about searching for her, the plot turns all political, and I found it to be ho hum. The book is not without memorable characters, Hester and Wilde both deserving of further novels, but the bit players were boring, the action pretty much non-existent and I was never riveted in any way. It's a shame as I've always found Coben to be a must read, however this book misses the mark.

My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,032 reviews3,549 followers
April 2, 2020
The title is a bit misleading on this one. While the boy from the woods does play a role in this book, it’s not the primary focus of the story-line. Then again, there were so many themes running parallel through the read I’m not sure one actually stood out more than the next.

Take your pick:
Missing teens....
Second chances at love...
Discovering your past...

Every one of these themes held its own powerful story. Though it felt that each was competing to be front and center. Now, I do love a book with multiple story-lines that leave you guessing how they all dove-tail in the end. Sadly, this was not one of those.

I’ve read every book Harlan Coben has written and though his series books remain my favorite this stand-alone just didn’t make the grade.

My only saving grace was dear Hester! What a delicious character! Her sharp wit and quips saved the read for me.
Fingers crossed that I will once again be singing Harlan Coben’s praises with his next release.

A buddy read with Susanne.

Thank you to NetGalley, Grand Central Publishing and Harlan Coben for an ARC to read and review.
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,481 reviews29.4k followers
April 23, 2020
4.5 stars.

With Harlan Coben's new book, The Boy from the Woods , the master delivers another twisty thriller full of secrets!

Thirty years ago a young boy was found living in the woods. It appeared he had been there for some time, but apart from some emotional trauma stemming from memories he can’t parse together, he was mostly fine. He befriended a boy who lived nearby, and he tended to break into people's houses to steal food, even watch television.

Now an adult who goes by the name Wilde, he is a highly intelligent former soldier who still lives in the woods, although he has worked as a private investigator. When famed criminal attorney Hester Crimstein, the mother of his best friend (the boy he met all those years ago), asks him to try and find Naomi, a bullied classmate of her grandson’s who has gone missing, it seems like a fairly routine case.

But Naomi’s disappearance, which no one really seems to care about (not even her father), is just the tip of the iceberg. Wilde steps into the middle of a high-stakes battle of cat and mouse, with betrayals, secrets, and the very fabric of society at risk. And all the while he’s struggling with whether he wants some insight into his own past.

There are a lot of threads to this story, some more interesting than others. I’ll admit that most of the thread about a potentially dangerous politician looking to tear society apart and manipulate the media hit a little too close to home for me, so my eyes kinda glazed over during those parts.

But Harlan Coben knows how to create fascinating characters, and Wilde is one of the best. I really hope he returns in another book. There is a lot going on here, with lots of twists and turns, including one that I’ll admit surprised me, and I couldn’t stop reading this book.

Coben's last three books, Home, Don’t Let Go , and Run Away , are among Coben’s best. The Boy from the Woods isn’t quite at that level, but it’s still a book that kept me guessing—and reading—to the very end.

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html.

Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for Madison Warner Fairbanks.
2,168 reviews283 followers
March 17, 2020
The Boy From the Woods by Harlan Coben

Fiction. Shown as thriller but I’m going to say mystery. Thriller to me is “edge of your seat reading”. While this was really good, it wasn’t worrying or fully suspense filled. Compelling, yes. A few twists and likable characters.
Ultimately an engaging read.

I received a copy of this book from the the publisher.
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,317 reviews4,838 followers
December 17, 2021

Hester Crimstein - the formidable criminal defense lawyer who easily bests police and prosecutors - is a secondary character in Harlan Coben's 'Myron Bolitar' series. In this book Hester gets a starring role when her grandson comes to her for help.

The novel is a standalone and appears to be the start of a new series.


Sixteen-year-old Matthew Crimstein, who attends Westville High School in New Jersey, has a problem.

Matthew feels guilty for sitting by - day after day - while his classmate Naomi is tormented by a group of bullies. The yobbos, led by entitled Crash Maynard, jeer at Naomi; call her names; throw rubber bands and spitballs; whisper nasty things; and so on.

Then one day Naomi vanishes.

Matthew seeks out his grandmother, criminal defense attorney Hester Crimstein, while she's taping her television show 'Crimstein on Crime.' Matthew explains about Naomi, and says, "Nana, I want you to help."

Hester gets right on the job by enlisting the assistance of a man called Wilde, who has a VERY unusual history.

In 1986, when he was around 6 years old, Wilde was discovered living on his own in New Jersey's Ramapo State Forest, near the suburb of Westville. Wilde spoke and understood English, but had no idea who he was or how long he'd been living alone in the woods.

At that time Hester and her family lived in Westville, and Wilde became close friends with Hester's son David. When they grew up, Wilde became godfather to David's son Matthew; and when David died in a tragic accident, Wilde became a father figure to the boy.

Wilde is just the person to investigate Naomi's disappearance. He's a part-time private investigator; is adept at surveillance and tracking; can expertly navigate the woods; and is a former special forces soldier.

While Wilde is looking into Naomi's disappearance, he comes into contact with school bully Crash Maynard and Crash's wealthy parents, Dash and Delia Maynard (I love these names 😊).

As it happens, Dash is a reality show producer who's sponsoring the presidential campaign of former reality star Rusty Eggers - a HIGHLY controversial figure. Eggers is a vain narcissist and egotistical sociopath, and many people would do anything to take him down.

One anti-Eggers activist is attorney Saul Strauss, who's certain Dash Maynard has tapes that would destroy Eggers.....AND HE MEANS TO GET THEM. Thus, the Maynard family is guarded by security expert Gavin Chambers and his team of thugs.

As the story unfolds another high schooler vanishes and Dash Maynard is put under EXTREME pressure to hand over the 'incriminating tapes' about Rusty Eggers.

Since the pair of teen disappearances may be linked, Hester and Wilde take an interest in both cases, and Wilde makes it his mission to locate both kids.

While all this is going on, widowed Hester - who now lives in New York - becomes reacquainted with Westville police chief Oren Carmichael. Carmichael is nearly 70 years old, but "remained what he'd always been - a grade-A prime slice of top-shelf beefcake." So sparks fly there. 😍

And Matthew's widowed mother Laila, a beautiful black woman, also puts a toe in the dating world.

The romances add a flirty element to the story, but I simply can't believe that Hester - the toughest broad in New York - goes googly-eyed over a man. 😏

An underlying motif of the book involves Wilde's origins. Who were his parents and how did he come to grow up in the woods all by himself? Wilde takes initial steps to unravel this puzzle, and his childhood will probably be explored more in future books.

This is an engaging story that alludes to familiar American events, so it's kind of a twofer: a mystery and a mildly political novel. The book isn't Coben's best work (IMO), but I enjoyed it and look forward to further escapades involving Hester Crimstein and Wilde.

Thanks to Netgalley, the author (Harlan Coben), and the publisher (Grand Central Publishing) for a copy of the book.

You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....
Profile Image for Lisa.
733 reviews
May 23, 2020
Harlan Coben has got his has got his mojo back!! i devoured The Boy In The Woods in quick time for me, Two missing Teenagers a Dirty Politician & secrets that know one wants revealed.

I absolutely loved this book it was a page turning thriller that kept you on your toes right the way from beginning to end, it was fast paced well written & loved all the characters the book starts of in North New Jersey 18th April 1986 where a wild boy was found fending & living by himself in the Rampano Mountains he was aged 6- 8 years old. He could understand English & lived in the suburb of Westville, he doesn't know his name or how long he had been there he was found by hikers Don & Leslie Katz from Clifton New Jersey.

Now thirty years later April 23rd 2020 Wilde has come back to live in the big city even though he at peace & more comfortable in the woods . Two teenagers go missing Naomi & Ryan (aka crash) , Naomi is picked on at school at times she just wants to hide under a rock & never come out one day she just isn't to be found, her only friend Matthew knows more than he is letting on but cannot reveal to his grandmother Hester Crimstein a lawyer with her on show on TV Matthew has known Naomi since elementary school.

So Wilde, Hester & the police join forces to find her but when Crash goes missing & a ransom note is seem to amp up a bit time is of the essence Wilde has been in the armed forces & virtually takes over the investigation, but there are lots of unanswered questions that are driving Hester & Wilde to breaking point.

I loved this book i thought after reading Run Away that Mr. Coben was losing it writing wise but this has confirmed his mojo is back i loved Wilde his character was strong, sensitive & gritty the last reveal left me gasping i didn't see that coming at all. Enjoyed this immensely.
Profile Image for Sandysbookaday is (reluctantly) on hiatus.
1,925 reviews2,013 followers
March 27, 2020
EXCERPT: From the North Jersey Gazette April 18 1986


Huge Mystery Surrounding Discovery of 'Real Life Mowgli

WESTVILLE, N.J.- In one of the most bizarre cases in recent history, a wild-haired young boy, estimated to be between six and eight years old, was discovered living on his own in the Ramapo State Forest near the suburb of Westville. Even more bizarre, authorities have no idea who the boy is or how long he had been there.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: 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.

MY THOUGHTS: I have read better books by Harlan Coben, and I have read worse ones. The Boy From the Woods sits somewhere in the middle. It's not a bad read, but neither is it anything special. I wasn't tempted to abandon this read, but I was easily distracted by things I normally ignore when I am reading.

None of the characters were completely convincing. Even Wilde, who was easily the most interesting, was a mass of contradictions. I did enjoy the way Naomi's disappearance was wrapped up.

There are a lot of current issues incorporated into this novel, fake news, political machinations, bullying in the school system and the home. Sometimes less is more.

I think that this may make a better movie than book. There is quite a lot of unbelievable 'action' that would be better portrayed on the big screen.


#TheBoyFromTheWoods #NetGalley

'Being a parent is like being a car mechanic-you can repair the car and take care of the car and keep the car on the road, but you can't fundamentally change the car. If a sports car drives into your garage for repairs, it isn't driving out a SUV. Same with kids.'

THE AUTHOR: Harlan Coben was born in Newark, New Jersey. He still lives in New Jersey with his wife, Anne Armstrong-Coben MD, a pediatrician, and their four children.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Random House UK, Cornerstone, Century via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of The Boy From the Woods by Harlan Coben for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and my webpage https://sandysbookaday.wordpress.com/...
Profile Image for Mandy White (mandylovestoread).
1,971 reviews497 followers
March 17, 2020
Oh where to start! Harlan Coben is one of my all time favourite writers and I actually squealed when I was approved for an early copy of The Boy From The Woods. So no pressure Mr Coben, no pressure. I knew that I had to be free of other commitments when I picked up this book. Absolutely pleased to report that this book is fantastic 🤗

Not going to talk too much about the plot for this one. I did not know too much about it going in and left it all to be a surprise. There are wonderful surprises for long time Coben fans. This is a stand alone book most definitely. I do hope that Wilde is a character that we will meet again soon. I really enjoyed reading about him and would love for more. He is a very different character and one you won’t forget in a hurry,

This is a story of missing children, political scandal, family and money. It is constantly moving story that leaves you little time for recovery from the last revelation. It twists so many times you will never guess the ending.

I can not recommend this book or Harlan Coben enough. Thank you so much to Random House UK, Cornerstone Century and NetGalley for my advanced copy of this book to read. All opinions are my own and are in no way biased
Profile Image for Lee  (the Book Butcher).
243 reviews64 followers
January 22, 2023
pretty average story including a boy from the woods. would have loved to read the true story of the boy from the woods. his socialization with human society interests me alot. there is a second book i would read if it's about Wilde.

Modern, political, and has sort of simple romance for all characters. Wilde is grown former military man with issues. he has a surrogate family of Hester, Mathew, and his friend wife Amelia. there is a dangerous presidential Canidate and a rich family who has a kid in Mathew school. this is more about the presidential Canidate than anything else not about Wilde. I'm not a political guy which drove down this book's enjoyment for me. i predicted the ending pretty early. the ending was just a red herring, the wife making up a story to protect Rusty eggers who is The presidential candidate is bad news Rusty says he will destroy America. by using the extremist on both side of the political divide which would probably work. a pretty decent political mystery. i just predicted it because of my extensive mystery reading. Wilde and Hester who is a T.V lawyer personality. rush in to protect the Maynard's the rich family who has their son Crash. the son is abducted to extort tape damming Rusty to a crime. guess what he is a murder and framed it on a black man who has been in jail for 26 years. well in the end Rusty gets away with it which begs the question, that if Hester believes the system works why it is so flawed. i not sure the system is working. i just know to stay on the right side because i can't afford the lawyers Rusty Eggers have!

There is a second book but i have no desire to read more political stuff. I'll read a Wilde childhood story but no more politcal mystery for the moment.
Profile Image for Jonetta.
2,181 reviews890 followers
April 21, 2020
Famed defense attorney Hester Crimstein becomes concerned when her grandson reaches out to her about a missing classmate. Naomi Pine has disappeared and no one seems to be looking for her. Hester then goes to a man named Wilde for help who has an extraordinary story of his own. Over thirty years ago, he was found in the woods near her home, apparently living there for quite some time. He was only about six or seven years old and didn’t remember his name or how he got there but had established a relationship with Hester’s late son, David. As Wilde probes into the situation, he finds himself drawn to the plight of a young girl who was subjected to bullying and neglect. But, in the process, he also lands himself in the middle of some adult intrigue that may or may not be connected.

I’m a long time fan of the author having finished his Myron Bolitar series and read many of his standalone titles. Hester’s name has appeared in a number of these books so I was beyond excited to see her be a main focus in this book. She opens the story in quintessential Hester style, which hooked me immediately. She’s as witty and funny as I’d imagined her with an equally sharp mind.

While the story tackles a number of issues, including a subtle connection to today’s political environment, it wasn’t overwhelming as they were expertly threaded together, even those seemingly disconnected storylines. Wilde is an enigma who I’m not sure I ever really figured out but I hold him in the same high esteem as Myron Bolitar. I loved the connections to other books, just little things that won’t confuse those unfamiliar with them but will give “aha!” moments to those of us with that history. Steven Weber gave another great performance, especially with his definition of Hester. I only listen to Coben’s books these days because he’s narrating them. This story had everything I was looking for...twisty moves, humor, complicated characters and a gnarly mystery. And, he left the door open for a possible follow up, right? One can hope.

Posted on Blue Mood Café

(Thanks to Brilliance Audio for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)
Profile Image for Brenda.
4,023 reviews2,623 followers
June 28, 2022
When Wilde was found as a child, he had no memories of how he arrived in the woods where he lived, even what his name was. But now, thirty years later, he was called on to find another missing child - Naomi Pine. Wilde's best friend from a young age, was David whose house backed onto the woods. David's mother was Hester Crimstein, now a criminal attorney, and a well-known face on TV. When David's son, Matthew, called his grandmother about the missing girl from his class, a girl who was bullied relentlessly, Hester became involved. She also called Wilde to get his help, and with his ex-military contacts, he had a team behind him.

Wilde found Naomi - but then she went missing again. And another child from an influential family also went missing, with a terrifying contact from the kidnappers. Would Wilde and his team be able to find the two missing youngsters before something terrible happened? And when an icebox arrived, with a finger on ice inside - they knew the stakes just got higher...

The Boy From the Woods is the first in the Wilde series by Harlan Coben, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I've owned this one since its release, and recently bought the second in the series. So thought I'd best read this one! Wilde is a great character (he reminds me of Win) and I love the way he interacts and goes about his business. I'm looking forward to #2 very much. Recommended.
Profile Image for Christina Loeffler.
135 reviews17.4k followers
September 16, 2020
2.5, the biggest question in the book wasn't answered stars!!

As I attempt to continue to dig myself out of my review hole I'm switching between recent reads and old reads I should've reviewed earlier. I've honestly been thinking about this book since I finished it and still am on the fence as to whether I should round down or up, for now it's up but that may change later. The Boy from the Woods centers itself on a simple premise: a young girl named Naomi goes missing in a town where decades prior, a young boy was found seemingly lost in the woods. This boy had no memory of the life before him, of his family, of where he came from or even his name. The boy grows up to be a man known as Wilde who while the synopsis leads you to believe "is a mystery to everyone, including himself" isn't really a mystery. While his upbringing and the past before he was found in the woods is a mystery, Wilde formed a meaningful life with meaningful relationships over the decades since his discovery.

Memory makes demands that you often can’t keep. Memory is faulty because it insists on filling in the blanks.

Wilde's godson Matthew reaches out to him when Naomi goes missing, seemingly Matthew knows more than he's letting on. After bringing in not only Wilde but his eccentric, television lawyer of a grandmother, Hester things quickly go from bad to worse for everyone. As is par for the course in mystery novels, everything and everyone is not as they seem. As additional information comes out, another child goes missing and soon it's a race against the clock to save the lives of two missing children and Wilde and Hester are the only ones who can help.

That was Matthew’s grandmother. Nana never avoided a controversy if she could create one.

Because, you know, I'm so relentlessly *positive* lets start with what I did enjoy. Hester freakin' Crimstein. She was by far not only the best character in this book but the best part of the story entirely. She was a genuine joy to read and every scene with her was an absolute delight. You know I love me a strong female character and Hester brought strength and spunk in spades. When I read Run Away by Coben what really took me by surprise was that the story I had created in my head through the title and synopsis was the bare minimum of the depth and scope of the story I ended up reading. To some extent, that's true for this novel as well. It was difficult creating my own synopsis for this without giving too much away. Coben is like an ice berg, there's so much more beneath the surface.

Coben is an excellent writer, story teller and story crafter. However, I'm genuinely shocked by how many good reviews this novel has. I tend to shy away from mystery/thriller series because when I read that genre what I'm looking for is answers. I want questions raised and then answers given. I love a well placed twist (which isn't hard because I'm a dumpster fire of a detective), I love complex characters and complex stories but in the end, I'm looking for the answers to the questions the author raised. Coben didn't deliver this at all here. The biggest question of the novel (in my opinion, obviously) is left completely unanswered. While I can admit I'm not a big fan of open endings, this isn't even an open ending, it just completely ignored the biggest question of the book from page one. Past that, despite being a trash detective I didn't find myself surprised or shocked by the ending in any way. It felt like there was so much build up, so much tension in this story, there were big stakes and then...nothing. Just neat and tidy and everything is as it should be, no surprises here. The end.

You move forward in life. You may give the old you a nod every once in a while, but the old you is gone and not coming back. That was often a good thing.

I loved the first novel I read by Coben so I'll definitely be reading some more, but this was a colossal disappointed coming of the high of Run Away and I honestly don't see how this is the same author.
Profile Image for Carolyn Walsh .
1,441 reviews568 followers
March 18, 2020
This was a big disappointment for me. I have read and enjoyed most of Harlan Coben’s domestic thrillers. Watch his excellent mystery series : Safe, The Stranger, and The Five on Netflix instead.
Profile Image for Malia.
Author 6 books547 followers
April 4, 2020
I'm sorry to say, I did not like this one. It was so formulaically Harlan Coben and it's my own fault for picking it up, because I am a tepid fan of the author at best. That said, his books are usually entertaining and that's all I was hoping for. Unfortunately, I was not entertained at all. Every character felt like a caricature to me and the story very tired. Obviously, I am in the minority here, and to be honest, that makes me happy, because I wish for people to love what they are reading and to write glowing reviews. I know a lot of work goes into every book and it is for that reason I am not giving a star rating. I want to acknowledge that these times are strange and there is a lot on my mind that could have affected how I read this. That being said, I also just started "Ghettoside" and am already fascinated, so it can't totally be a case of "it's me not the book". In any case, if you do pick this one up, I hope you love it the way so many readers seem to. For me, sadly, it was a disappointment.

Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com
Profile Image for Jan.
423 reviews249 followers
February 19, 2020
It’s been awhile since I’ve read a Coben book-happy that he still knows how to weave a great tale!
There is something about his writing style that works for me. It's feels smooth, easy-even in those tense or dramatic scenes.

In typical Coben style, he starts out in one direction, then the next thing you know there are sub plots popping up, all with their own mystery to figure out. I did guess accurately at the outcome of one, the rest did catch me by surprise.

While some of the situations require a stretch of the imagination, his characters are memorable and real. Anytime Hester Crimstein makes an appearance you know it's going to be a great read!

This is a clever, witty, and fast paced mystery that I highly recommend.
ARC provided by NetGalley

Profile Image for Monnie.
1,381 reviews761 followers
February 9, 2020
When it comes to timely reading of pre-publication books I get by way of NetGalley, I try to play it straight - really, I do - by reading them in order of next to be released. But sometimes I get one I'm so excited about that it jumps to the head of the line. This is one of those times. And to the half-dozen books that got pushed aside, I promise to get to them soon, but love means never having to say you're sorry. This one was way too good for apologies.

It's most notable to me for the interesting characters, starting with Wilde, a now-grown man who, as a young boy, was found living in a state forest. He had no memory of a family, or how he got there, curiously attributing his language ability to sneaking into people's homes when they were gone to watch TV shows like Sesame Street and videos (how he learned to turn them on remains a mystery to me, but hey). Also important to this story is attorney Hester Crimstein, a somewhat quirky but very likable character who has appeared in previous books.

At this stage of his life, Wilde has become quite accomplished, having graduated from West Point and served in the military, but he remains somewhat reclusive and continues to live in the forest in an eco-friendly but technologically advanced pod-like structure that can be moved around at will. He has no real emotional attachment to anyone and prefers living alone - how he survived communal living at West Point and the military is beyond me, but I'm guessing it wasn't the most fun he ever had in his life. But back in the woods, he manages to collect a menagerie of former and current ladies. More to the point here, he was good friends with Hester's late son, David (and, of course, with Hester).

A young girl named Naomi Pines, a victim of bullying at school, goes missing, and her off-and-on classmate, Matthew (Hester's grandson) is so worried that he begs her to look into her disappearance. When Hester asks viewers of her popular TV show to be on the lookout for Naomi, all heck seems to break loose. Much of that emanates from the wealthy and powerful parents of one of the boys who bullied Naomi unmercifully (exactly why school teachers and officials always looked the other way when that happened isn't clear, but I suppose it has something to do with not wanting to get on the wrong side of those snooty parents).

Of course, there's a subplot that involves goings-on and the potential for blackmail among the aforementioned filthy rich parents and their friends, one of whom is making a run for a major political office. And that leads to some political commentary which, I presume, reflects the author's opinions (and certainly mine), to-wit: "The middle class has become complacent. They are smart, but they are lazy. They see the grays, they get the other side. Extremists, on the other hand, see only black and white. They are not only certain that their vision is absolutely correct, but they are incapable of even understanding the other side. Those who don't believe as they do are lesser in every way...They don't see right or wrong - they see us and them."

Aided by some old friends, Wilde ratchets up his investigative skills to find Naomi; and when another youth goes missing and the plot thickens, they tackle that as well - sometimes at their own peril. All in all, it's a sometimes harrowing experience for the characters and a whirlwind for readers - at least for me. Loved it - many thanks for the opportunity to read and review it.
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,157 reviews36.4k followers
April 11, 2020
2.75 Stars

A Harlan Coben novel, where everything is thrown in, except for the kitchen sink.

So this is a first for me. Having read every Harlan Coben novel ever written, I would call myself I’m a super fan. I love almost all of his books though there have been a couple over the years that haven’t been favorites. This novel would, unfortunately, fall into that category.

“The Boy From the Woods” by Harlan Coben is one of the few novels by him that is a complete miss for me. Admittedly, the writing is fine and I actually enjoyed reading a novel where the main character is Hester Crimstein, who has appeared as a recurring character in almost every novel of Harlan Coben’s for the last 15 years or more. Here, however, she wasn’t her sarcastic, wisecracking self, much to my chagrin. What bothered me about this book, is that the title of it is “The Boy From the Woods” and the novel itself isn’t really about Wilde. It’s about everything but Wilde. It has several storylines, all of which kind of meander and some of which don’t quite fit together or keep you invested.

Most readers loved this novel, thus I encourage all of you to read other reviews as I may simply be the wrong reader for this book.

A buddy read with Kaceey.

Published on Goodreads on 4.10.20.
Profile Image for Andrew Smith.
1,033 reviews564 followers
August 27, 2022
In 1986 a couple of hikers in the Ramapo Mountain State Forest found a boy who, it seems, had be living wild. He was unschooled and had no memory of life before the the forest. Jump forward thirty-four years and the man that was this boy has grown into an intelligent, educated man who has operated as a private investigator. In fact, Wilde, as he’s now known, set up his own company in partnership with his foster-sister some while back. He now lives in portable accommodation in the forest in which he was found. He has trouble sleeping in large structures so this existence suits him.

Hester Crimstein is a lawyer and a television personality and when she learns from her grandson, Matthew, that a girl in his class has gone missing she turns to Wilde for help. Wilde is known to Hester through his friendship with her late son who was tragically killed in a road accident. Naomi Pine, the missing girl, had been a victim of bullying at the school and Matthew, although not an obvious participant in this, may have been peripherally involved. Soon Wilde’s investigations start to turn up a spider’s web of links and possible motives for Naomi’s disappearance. Before long the whole affair has grown legs and has potential implications for a huge range of people up to and including a politician with aspirations of ascending all the way to the White House.

I found this to be a really slow burner and I was something like three-quarters of the way through before I became really interested in the outcome. The the only character fully developed here is Wilde: I bought into his personal story and found that my interest picked up whenever he was centre stage. Hester, Matthew, Naomi and the rest failed to convince me, each being either under-developed or what felt like a caricature of someone we’ve all seen on television or in the popular press. And the story itself really doesn’t pick up any pace until the final section. The denouement, when it comes, tidies up all the loose ends a little too neatly, somewhat in the style of a made for television movie.

I’ve read better books from this author and though I never felt I wasn’t going to complete reading the whole story I wasn’t champing at the bit to pick it up again at any stage – except when it was edging close to it’s climactic ending. There’s a lot going on here and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this one made into a film at some point, but it won’t be my favourite mystery of the year.

My thanks to Random House UK, Cornerstone and NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Liz.
1,959 reviews2,406 followers
September 28, 2020
I’m not sure I bought into the premise of this book. A teenage girl goes missing and one of her classmates appeals to his grandmother, a fiery tv attorney, to help find out what happened to her. She willingly agrees. But just because the premise seemed a little over the top, that didn’t mean I didn’t love the grandmother. Hester is a smart mouthed, larger than life personality. And kudos to Coben to have a 70 year old female character with a love life. We’ve also got the boy’s godfather involved in the hunt. His story is even more implausible. He was found as a feral child in the woods thirty years earlier and now possesses a wealth of skills.
But aside from the implausibility of the plot, this is a fast paced, entertaining book. Of course, there are lots of convoluted plot lines to keep your interest. And a wide assortment of other characters, including a talk show host running for President, his producer and the young girl who keeps going missing.
This book captures teenage bullying, the mess that social media has wrought on society and the political shenanigans that are the norm nowadays. “America was waking up, as Germany once did, to the awareness that one third of our people will kill one third of our people while one third of our people watches.” It’s not great literature. Far from it. But, right now, I need entertainment that can keep me engaged. And this fits that bill.
Steven Weber does a great job as the narrator.
Profile Image for Whitney Erwin.
190 reviews
August 19, 2021
3.5 stars rounded to 4. I have never read anything from this author before. I saw this book on a kindle deal awhile ago and grabbed it. I liked this book except for the fact that it had too many storylines going on at one time. The title is kind of misleading because it doesn’t really focus on the boy from the woods. The book is still interesting though and held my attention.
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