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Wilde Books In Order

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Publication Order of Wilde Books

The Boy from the Woods (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Match (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Wilde is the main character in a series of mystery novels by Harlan Coben. He was a 6yrs when he was discovered surviving alone in the woods with no memory of who he was or where he had come from. No one ever came forward to claim him or provide information on who he was, and hence was placed in foster care, joined the military, and quit work to join a private security firm. His past made him a loner, and it’s no surprise that years later, he decides to make the woods his home again. He struggles with intimacy, relationships and connecting with others but doesn’t hesitate when it comes to aiding others.

The Boy from the Woods

As usual, Harlan Coben always delivers the best of action-packed and fast-paced stories, a trait that has seen most of his books make it to the bestselling lists, and The Boy from the Woods is one such story. According to an interview published online, Coben affirms that he’s always thinking about promising plots for his novels and constantly asking, What if? A simple question that provides him with the basis of all his stories. He further explains that he often has thousands of seed stories, but only a few of them take root. Luckily for his readers, a sizeable number of his ideas finally manifest into full-blown stories, which are eventually published for his ever-growing fan base to quench their literary thirst.

Once an idea is cemented in his mind, as Coben explains, he then decides to figure out the person going to tell the story. Before he can start writing, Coben already knows how the story starts and ends but not how he will arrive at the very end.
In his novel The Boy from the Woods, Coben does recall a day he was hiking deep in the woods when he discovered a young boy (6yrs) wandering alone in the woods. One of the questions that lingered in his mind was, What if the little boy in the woods never had an idea where he lived before? What if he never had any idea who his parents were? What if three decades later, the boy doesn’t know where he’s from? And another child goes missing, and he (Wilde) has to go to the forest to find another kid.

Meet Hester Crimstein, a famous celebrity lawyer and a widow who understands too well the pain of losing a child. Her son, David, died over a decade ago. David and Wilde became good friends when Wilde was found in the woods just behind Crimstein’s home, and Wilde was heavily impacted by David’s death. Now David’s widow, Laila, still lives in the family home where her mother-in-law, Hester and her dead husband raised David together with his two brothers. Besides mourning, Laila is still raising her teenage son, Mathew.

Matthew witnesses Naomi being humiliated and bullied on a daily basis at school. However, he does not defend her from her bullies. He is aware of “the awful truth: You eventually become immune to cruelty, and it becomes normal. You learn to accept it and move on. But when Naomi disappears, guilty conscience haunts him. He requests his grandmother to help him find out what happened to Naomi. In response, Hester enlists Matthew to help them because of his military background and also his skills in running a security and investigative firm.

Crash Maynard, the spoiled son of Dash and Delia Maynard, was one of the students who bullied Naomi. Dash is a famous reality TV producer who supposedly records everything his cast members say and do, including intimate dressing-room exchanges. He is a lifelong acquaintance of the infamous U.S. presidential candidate, Senator Rusty Eggers. It is rumored that Dash might ruin the careers of several celebrities and politicians, including Eggers, by publishing video recordings of them.
And a bunch of people determined to prevent Eggers’ election is requesting Dash to do exactly that so the world may see Eggers’ true character in unguarded times. A reference to the presidential election of 2016? His main critic, Saul Strauss, an activist, liberal arts professor and attorney, is truly convinced that Eggers is a sociopath.

At the core of this story is Wilde, a man who, as a child, learned to navigate the murky grounds of this world alone and has never been able to view the world from any other perspective. He’s a man who deeply cares about others but is not capable of sustaining relationships with others for any period of time. He lives in a custom sphere-like pod known as Ecocapsule deep in the woods and changes his residency frequently. Even with his experiences and training at West Point prior to serving in the Special Forces, Wilde either cannot or won’t blend into normal society. As the author explains, “whatever he saw there or whatever he did or experienced or lost, it seems that war had pushed him over the edge or possibly had awoken the ghosts of the past.

Wilde feels a sense of duty and affection towards Hester due to his friendship with David and also the fact he was with David the night he died. Also fond of Matthew, he has maintained an influence on the life of the fatherless boy.
Coben skillfully and seamlessly addresses social themes, such as school bullying, the existential threat to the country caused by electing a leader with a criminal record and a malicious temperament, and the extent to which some would go for a cause. Undisputedly a superb storyteller, he skillfully ties together various storylines into a single narrative. The Boy in the Woods is fast-paced and never slows down as the author steadily pulls the threads together to form a well-woven cohesive narrative filled with political intrigue, dark secrets and tenuous alliances. Once the main character pieces together all the pieces of the puzzle to understand the possible motive and potential effects, he races against time to stop harm even before it’s inflicted.

Hester has featured in previous novels, notably 2019’s Run Away, but in The Boy from the Woods, Coben gives us a glimpse into her psychology. Her sharp, occasionally sarcastic, witty banter with Oren Carmichael is both humorous and touching, revealing her sensitivity and compassion. Wilde is a moral conundrum; he is independent and reserved, empathetic and remarkably sensitive to the sentiments of others, yet morally murky.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Wilde

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