The Woods by Harlan Coben is the first book of his I’ve read. The first impression is that the past always comes back to bite you and the second is that money is the devil’s tool. All it takes is one sick puppy to hatch a plan of murder to appease his sick mind and he can quickly infest others, especially if he has more money than anyone else and he is a bully. His name is Wayne Steubens in this fiction. “Exactly. One of Sherlock’s axioms goes something like this: ‘It is a big mistake to theorize before one has data – because one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.’”
Paul Copeland, the son of Russian immigrants, is the Essex, NJ county prosecutor. He is prosecuting a rape case. The victim is a young black unwed mother of a fifteen month old. She is an exotic dancer, a stripper and whore. When she is invited to a frat party a week after she did a show and had some sex with some of the boys. This time she is raped. She doesn’t deserve that. But the rich white boys in the frat don’t get it.
The real story is about what happened at a summer camp when Paul was young, when he lost his virginity and four of his friends. One of the campers was arrested and in jail for life. The owner of the camp and his daughter were destroyed. But then one of the murdered kids shows up dead, twenty years later in Washington Heights. That’s when the roller coaster ride begins for Paul, as he has to go deep into the woods to discover the truth and almost die in the process.
It is a story of what we will do for our children. It is about power misused and about bullies, bullies who prey on the weak until someone comes along and punches the bully in the nose. “No, we were bullies. We were not gods – we were the dirty henchmen of the gods. They had the power. We were scared, so we made everyone a little scared. That made us feel like big men – terrorizing the weak.”