Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Book review: Harlan Coben - The Woods

Now this isn't a newly released book, it fact it came out in 2007 but bear with me and as well as telling you about the book I'll also let you know how and why I chose it. I stumbled across Harlan Coben after watching a french film Tell No one which was based on his novel of the same name. I love a good thriller and I loved the premise that your average Joe Bloggs, with no known connection to the mafia, could experience the most unreal situations (loving wife is murdered then years later you get an email from her?!) So it was no surprise that I found myself on the hunt for some of his books.

That's how I tend to get a lot of my books - I hunt for them. I like to find them, seek them out. I love getting recommendations or reading a good review rather than hitting the buy button online. I wait patiently with a growing list of books in my head and collect them as and when I find them. I know it doesn't always make me the most up to date with my reading list but just because it isn't fresh off the shelf doesn't mean it isn't any good. Isn't it more exciting discovering that long awaited book with the added bonus it only cost 20p?

I love a good mystery with a fast pace and generally nice short chapters. I need spoon feeding information, I want to ask a million questions but feel satisfied we are on the right track to the answers. The Woods delivers without you ever feeling either bombarded or leave hanging around to long. With a similar premise as Tell No One, The Woods (found in charity shop for 50p) deals with the main character, Paul Copeland, being presented with the possibility that their dead sister isn't really dead. Straight away I was hooked and the questions start coming.

One of the things I liked most is it's not littered with lots of police activity and I don't have to follow a protagonist that's a police officer who is a recovering alcoholic still trying to get over his bitter divorce after his wife left him because he chose the bottle and his job over her - yawn. Yes the main character has demons to wrestle with, they all do, but this time there is more bearing to someone just trying to get on with a 'normal' life that doesn't have magical powers or  leads a double life as a secret agent - so I'm there alongside him, knowing he is just like the rest of us.

Quite often thrillers fall short at the end and although you know there must be some detailed explanation to seemingly far-fetched scenarios, I need to believe it! I need it to make sense and those tiny clues I've been spoonfed all the way through so they add up to a conclusion I can buy into. This is what The Woods did for me and made me consider that anything can happen to anyone, even Joe Bloggs.

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