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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's bally brilliant, 3 Mar. 2008
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This review is from: The Woods (Paperback)
Another reviewer and I commented on the same book (dreadful piece of "writing" called Severed) and we disagreed on it somewhat, and on his recommendation I read this, my first Coben novel. I totally owe him a beer, because The Woods is fantastic.

The term "unputdownable" is used a lot (and horrible grammar), but this book really is. Unputdownable, that is. The grammar is top-notch. It's also funny. That came as a very pleasant surprise. The lead character, Paul "Cope" Copeland is a marvellously sardonic fellow, and in several places throughout, he has a few one-liners which made me laugh out loud.

The style of writing initially threw me a little. Coben is a fan of brief sentences; he often strings together 6 or 7 of them that only contain 3 or 4 words. It reads as a pot-boiler in some respects, and at first I found it incongruous. But as you begin to understand his characters more, you see that the rapid-fire dialogue and sentence structure fits perfectly.

All of his characters are extremely likeable and 3-dimensional, which is a feat considering how many of them there are. Even the bit-players of the piece are intriguing. For example, there is a coroner/pathologist called Tara O'Neill who features in only 2 scenes, but she's absolutely fascinating. (In fact, I'd rather like to see a book solely about her.)

The twists aren't quite as twisty as I expected. But, actually, for a good reason. The story is so involving, and the reader so drawn in, I spent time thinking up every possibility, such was my intrigue. So, when one of those possibilities turned out to be what happens next, I was a little let down. But that's not the fault of the author. It's my own. Pondering every conceivable answer is akin to reading the back of the book first. Terrible bookiquette.

It's also a jolly nice love story, on two levels. Primarily about re-discovering a lost love. How many of us have wondered what's become of our very first love? Would we still connect? Would we fall in love all over again were we to meet? These are questions dealt with extensively in The Woods, and it's rich material.

But it's also a love story in terms of family. Virtually every single chatacter in this book does something inconceivable in order to protect a family member. I imagine family is something that is desperately important to the author, and his love of family, as a structure, has translated itself consistently on these pages. Family is at the very heart of The Woods. It's also the veins, arteries and gloopy bits.

So while this is, ostensibly, a rip-roaring thriller (one which, incidentally, has no bad language whatsoever, and is none the poorer for that) it is mostly about family and how important it is.

The Woods is an excellent piece of writing, and am now biting at the bit to read everything he's ever written. I don't care if it's graffiti on walls - it'd probably still be brilliant.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Mar 2008 13:06:34 GMT
Really pleased you like it - you won't be disappointed with the rest. Instead of the beer, I'll settle for a recommendation - I like Coben and I kinda agree that Kernick is not the best so can you think of anyone else I like. And if you really dig Coben, give Robert Crais (a bit less serious and maybe a bit more Kernick-y but still good and well written) and also Michael Connolly's Bosch books which are just superb (apparently the very last one is not great). Fab review, by the way!
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