The Woods by Harlen Coben – An Audio Book Review

The Woods


Twenty years ago at summer camp, Paul Copeland’s sister died in the woods, the alleged victim of a serial killer. Her body was never found. Now, Paul is the prosecutor for Essex County, New Jersey, immersed in one of the biggest cases of his career – a case that will change everything he believes about the past…and the truth.

Author: Harlen Coben

Narrator: Scott Brick

Publisher: Audible Studios

Genre: Thriller

Running Time: 12hrs 30mins

My Rating of ‘The Woods’: 3 out of 5

Purchase: Audible, Amazon


I’ve never tried a Harlen Coben book, but he’s one of those names that, if you’ve ever browsed a thriller section in a book store, you’ve most likely heard of. He’s a prolific writer who puts out a serious amount of books and gets a lot of good things said about him. So I thought I should give him a go.

I’m not sure The Woods was probably the best one to ‘give it a go’ with first. Then again, having only read this one Coben book, maybe all his works are the same and just aren’t for me.

My issue with The Woods is that it just isn’t believable. It hinges on the reader accepting that all of these larger than life people somehow managed to exist in the same small stretch of space and time. Not to mention all of the tragedy and unlikely things that’ve happened to them in their pasts in order to have them linked together. If they were real people, they’d look at each other and ask the question: ‘Don’t we sound like outlandish fictional characters?’

They’d probably ask themselves when they’re next advertising cheque from Blackberry was due, as well. If you don’t own a blackberry phone, then I’m afraid you’re not allowed in this book. They were probably all the rage when this was written, but it does kind of read like product placement in literary form.

If you can put those little aspects of the plot aside, the book is quite enjoyable. There’s a lot going on to the main character, and the characters he interacts with. I think the fact he has so many things going on is a bit too much at times, but I feel it’s the author’s attempt to really get him over as a good guy. Plus, if you get bored of one of his main plots, there’s always one of the other sub-plots he has going on to pick up the slack, so that’s a plus, I suppose.

The writing is done at a good pace, so much so that you never really have time to get bored. It reads like an overly-produced American crime series and, having recently learned this has been turned into a Netflix show, I can see why that thought popped into my mind.

I don’t have anything massively negative or overwhelmingly positive to say about The Woods. It was just, for me at least, fine I guess. I wish I’d been captured by some of the magic the other reviewers of this book seem to have been gripped by but, alas, in my case it was not to be.

The narration was equally fine. Nothing too bad, nothing so good that I’d write home about it.


3 thoughts on “The Woods by Harlen Coben – An Audio Book Review

  1. My guess is that most people who read a Coben book are the kind of people who read maybe 5 books a year and so they’re blown away by something like this. Us real readers know better.
    Of course, I haven’t read anything by Coben before and in all honesty, I probably won’t. Nothing I’ve ever seen in the synopses has ever appealed to me.

    So, the real question is, will you be trying some more to see if it’s you or him?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I’m more than happy to stop at this one. Many reviews I have read since say things like ‘just a typical Coben book’. So I’m going to assume he’s the Koontz of the crime world. Maybe three original ideas that he puts out repeatedly

      Liked by 1 person

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