“The Boy from the Woods” thrills readers during a not-so-thrilling time


Photo courtesy of Harlan Coben's Twitter

Coben’s dog Laszlo poses for a Stay at Home photoshoot due to COVID-19 cancellations. Laszlo frequently appears on Coben’s Twitter to promote posivity and joy during a scary time.

CeCe Lampa, Managing Editor

I imagine this is your last resort. You are sitting at home thinking “I am so bored. I have done everything I possibly could during this stay-at-home order. I guess all I have left to do is go on thisisyork.org”. Right now, it seems fictional that someone would want to stay alone in their homes, but that is exactly what characters in Harlan Coben’s latest novel, “The Boy from the Woods”, are striving to do.

“The Boy from the Woods” takes place in 2020 with an atmosphere much like America today. Rusty Eggers is a front runner in the presidential election, but many are trying to uncover videos from his past that will eliminate his chances at the presidency. There are constant strikes for the rights of the people and demands to get rid of Eggers. A rich family, the Maynards, seems to run everything in Westville, the setting of the story. 

Protagonist Wilde lives alone in an ecocapsule in the forest, right outside of the small town of Westville. An ecocapsule is a high security, camouflaged trailer. He roams around the forest each day, not owning a car or any manner of transportation.

Thirty years ago, Wilde was a young boy found living in the woods, occasionally receiving food from a neighborhood boy named David. Since then: David has passed, David’s mother acquired a television show, David’s widow began a romantic affair with Wilde and Wilde is the godfather of David’s son, Matthew. However, the relationship between Wilde and Matthew budded into a friendship, and Matthew frequently confides in his godfather.

Matthew’s life turns upside down when one of his peers, Naomi Pine, goes missing. Pine constantly found herself the victim of bullying and mistreatment at her school. Wilde begins to wonder: how does her disappearance connect to the upcoming election? Where would she have gone? Why does Matthew care so deeply about her absence?

If you are a fan of mystery, or Coben, this book is a remarkable read. Coben gracefully connects the subplots of a myriad of characters and creates a hero from quite an atypical man. 

“Every time you think Harlan Coben couldn’t get any better at uncoiling a whip snake of a page-turner, he comes along with a new novel that somehow surpasses its predecessor,” the San Francisco Chronicle said at the book’s release.

Coben admits that the shelter-in-place order may not be the most eventful period of our lives, but he tries his best to fill the time by writing, reading and some more interesting means of creativity.

“If you’re wondering how bored my daughter is, she just asked me to do a TikTok with her,” Coben posted on his Twitter account.

After the cancellation of his book tour and video conferences for “The Boy from the Woods”, Coben reached the audience in many new ways, completing a Q&A on Reddit and going live on his Instagram. He hopes to continue conversation with his fan base, even in such a trying time. 

We are in this together,” Coben said. “I find that comforting. Hope you do too.”

Coben will continue to conduct online interviews about his latest novel and believes it is the perfect read for this unfortunate break.

“I know we all have a lot of alone time coming up,” Coben said in an announcement on his Twitter. “Hope you enjoy spending some of it with this boy.” 

“The Boy from the Woods” is a mystery for our generation and a new way to spend your time stuck at home. Above all, it helps to regain brain cells after hours of LEGO Star Wars. It may not have the lightsabers and jedis, but it promises a thrilling ride and unforgettable ending.