cover image The Boy from the Woods

The Boy from the Woods

Harlan Coben. Grand Central, $29 (432p) ISBN 978-1-5387-4814-5

This subpar thriller from Edgar winner Coben (the Myron Bolitar series) pairs an improbable lead with an improbable plot. In 1986, a boy, who looks to be between six and eight years old, is found living on his own in the woods near Westville, N.J. Flash forward 34 years. The boy is now known simply as Wilde, “a beautiful man with his dark sun-kissed complexion, his build of coiled muscles, his forearms looking like high tension wires.” Wilde is also a genius and a brilliant PI. His detective skills are called upon after his late best friend’s mother, celebrity lawyer Hester Crimstein, learns from her teenage grandson that a bullied classmate of her grandson, Naomi Pine, has disappeared from her Westville home. Naomi’s father falsely claims that his daughter went to visit her mother, raising suspicions of foul play. Naomi’s story is somehow connected with the presidential aspirations of Sen. Rusty Eggers, a nihilistic tyrant viewed by some on the left as even more of a threat to America than Donald Trump, a hard-to-swallow plotline that Coben does nothing to make feel plausible. This gifted author is capable of better. 7-city author tour. Agent: Lisa Erbach Vance, Aaron M. Priest Literary. (Mar.)