Promise Me ), Paul "Cope" Copeland, acting county prosecutor for Essex County, N.J.,"/>
 

The Woods

Harlan Coben, Author
Harlan Coben, Author . Dutton $26.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-525-95012-7
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At the start of this disappointing stand-alone from bestseller Coben (Promise Me ), Paul "Cope" Copeland, acting county prosecutor for Essex County, N.J., and Lucy Gold, his long-lost summer camp love, are still haunted by a fateful night, decades earlier, when their nighttime tryst allowed some younger campers, including Cope's sister, to venture into the nearby forest, where they apparently fell victim to the Summer Slasher, a serial killer. Cope's intense focus on a high-profile rape prosecution of some wealthy college students shifts after one of the Slasher's victims, whose body was never found, turns up as a recent corpse in Manhattan, casting doubt on the official theory of the old case. Cope's own actions on that night again come under scrutiny, even as the highly placed fathers of the men he's prosecuting work to unearth as many skeletons as possible to pressure him into dropping the rape case. Less than compelling characters fail to compensate for a host of implausibilities. Hopefully, Coben will return to form with his next book. (Apr.)

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