Now, two decades later, they are about to change again. For Paul Copeland, the county prosecutor of Essex, New Jersey, grief at the loss of his sister has only recently begun to subside. Cope, as he is known, is now dealing with raising his six-year old daughter alone after his wife has died of cancer. Balancing family life and a rapidly ascending career as a prosecutor distract him from his past traumas, but only for so long...
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©2007 Harlan Coben; (P)2008 Recorded Books LLC
The Woods is an interesting yarn, with enough twists to keep you listening until the end, but along the way there are also a number of frustrations and strange choices that may confuse and detract from the experience.
The first and most obvious point worthy of note is the slightly bizarre way in which the producers have chosen to cast the 'actors' for this tale. Rather than a single narrator doing all the voices, or an ensemble cast delivering a more dramatised version of the book, there is instead one male and one female narrator. During chapters when the main male character is most prominent, the male narrator takes his turn. When the female lead character is the main focus, the woman reads to us. What totally messes up this seemingly smart idea though, is that there are other important characters that can crop up at any time in any chapter, but are sometimes voiced by the man, and sometimes by the woman using different tones and accents, leaving you thinking 'hang on a minute - that guy didn't speak like that the last time I heard him!'
Coben's writing too, is erratic. At times gripping, but at others extremely cliched and amateurish. Throughout the story, all his main female characters are 'stunningly beautiful' to the point of being boring, leading you to wonder what kind of weird world the story is set in when a waitress, private eye, university professor, housewife and coroner are all such exquisite specimens of womanhood. The only exception is an equally stereotypical pseudo-lesbian (although it's never stated) character about whom the writer continuously repeats the same line about her 'sensible shoes'.
Repetition is something that you notice a lot in this story, perhaps because the narrators don't have a lot of ability to vary their tone. At times it seems the characters use very similar language and phrases whether they're a rich well-to-do father or a young female prostitute.
In all, not bad, but not as good as I'd hoped
Essentially a good story though one which has appeared in other of his books - dead characters who aren't.. But in this book there is far too much extraneous description of things which do not advance the story one whit. Example: investigator going into the woods to get the information which was so important it could not be given over the phone, she had to be there. But lo, she is stopped by a boorish, over-zealous security man who will not let her in. Why did we have to have description of him, his face, his attitude etc etc? Finally he calls the Sheriff and we then get his description at length ... neither of these characters are relevant, indeed the security man disappears and the Sheriff makes one more appearance as a voice on the other end of the phone. Probably the author thought this would make us all the more eager to learn what was found in the woods. For this reader it led to irritated sighs and cries of "get on with it". Seems to me that writing a book every year is making this author redo his plots and then pad them out to the required word length. Not good enough, Harlan.
A murder mystery where the victims have been dead for years, a personal tragedy, a current court room trial and an emerging romance create the setting of this satisfyingly intricate tale where the plots and sub-plots interweave, unravel and then come together again. Having male and female narators for the corresponding principle characters works really well. Be sure to listen right to the end of the epilogue as the twists and turns keep on coming to the last.
I could not wait to get into the car and go to work to hear the next installment.Very realistic characters and emotions.Good story line and a plot that kept twisting right to the end,It sure ranks as one of the best to date and I am addicted to audible.
The story had many twists and turns but throughout everything was credible. The narrators were very good.
My wife and I are BIG Harlan Coben fans, ever since we listened to Shelter, when it came on Promotion from Audible.
This latest purchase, The Woods did not disappoint either. It is a murder mystery novel, with plenty of twists and sub plots. The unusual step of having both male and female narrators worked well for us. The advice to listen to the very end, from other reviews, is a good suggestion.
The Woods - Had me sitting on the edge of my seat in some parts
Narration by David was very good &a book would have got a higher star rating on his narration, but Carol's voice needed more Oooph
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