Source: Review copy
Publication: 17 March from Century Books
My thanks to Century for an advance copy for review
He is known as Wilde, the boy from the woods.
Discovered living a feral existence in the Ramapo mountains of New Jersey, he has grown up knowing nothing of his parents, and even less about his own identity.
When a match on a DNA database puts him on the trail of a close relative – the only family member he has ever known – Wilde thinks he might be about to solve the mystery of who he really is.
Only this relation disappears as quickly as he’s resurfaced. Undaunted, Wilde continues his research, becoming caught up in a secret community committed to exposing anonymous online trolls.
Then one by one, people start to die, and it soon becomes clear that a serial killer is targeting this secret community.
And that the next victim could be Wilde himself …
Harlan Coben knows how to tell a story and tell it entertainingly with lots of golden nuggets, twists and surprises. After a couple of heavy reads and feeling the need for something more elevating, I turned to the master of great storytelling for an engrossing read, and he did not disappoint.
The Match is the second book to feature Wilde, the man who as a young boy was discovered living a feral existence in the Ramapo mountains of New Jersey and who we first encountered in The Boy from the Woods. He made friends with a young boy from a nearby family and that family has been the only one he has been close to since then. Wilde has no idea about his parentage or even where he came from.
That’s about to change. He submits his DNA to a database and gets back a match. He makes contact and after some lapses in time he finds a message from his match that suggests his relative is in real trouble. Having never revealed his identity, Wilde has to use the covert methods of Rola, his foster sister, to track him down.
Harlan Coben gives us plenty of thrills and excitement in this quest for Wilde to find his family. Along the way Wilde will have to deal with a world he neither knows nor understands – social media influencers, celebrity reality shows and the fleeting nature of fame; cancel culture and vigilante justice.
It’s a brilliant, whirlwind ride in which Wilde comes close to having some of the closest relationships in his world destroyed and trust is breached, potentially fatally.
I loved coming back to lawyer and Wilde’s honest friend, Hester Grimstein (the Judge Judy of her own show) and her law enforcement lover. While Wilde tracks down his elusive relatives, he also has to tackle his own emotional distance and to handle the surprises that finally finding out about his family will deliver. All this while solving a high profile disappearance and being accused of murder.
The Match is classic Coben. Highly entertaining, great characters, emotional investment and a truck load of suspense and surprises. Wilde is a character you ache for; one you want to succeed and be happy. Who can resist a good looking loner who is afraid to trust because he has never known a nurturing family love? This is an entertaining, exciting and engaging read, and as Wilde finally finds out where he came from, Coben hold out the possibility of a deeper emotional engagement for him, which leaves this reader very happy.
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Harlan is the creator and executive producer for the Netflix television dramas THE STRANGER, SAFE and THE FIVE . With over 60 million books in print worldwide, Harlan Coben’s last seven consecutive novels, MISSING YOU, SIX YEARS, STAY CLOSE, LIVE WIRE, CAUGHT, LONG LOST and HOLD TIGHT all debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and lists around the world. His books are published in 43 languages around the globe. Coben is the winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award and Anthony Award – the first author to win all three – and he has received an eclectic variety of honors from all over the world. His novel TELL NO ONE has been turned into a hit French film of the same name. His essays and columns have appeared in many top publications. Harlan was born in Newark, New Jersey. He still lives in New Jersey with his wife, Anne Armstrong-Coben MD, a pediatrician, and their four children.