Because you can't judge a book by its cover


The Woods by Harlan Coben begins 20 years ago. Four teenagers at a summer camp walk into the woods that they aren’t supposed to be in late at night. Two of the teens are found murdered and the other two are never to be seen again. What happened to them? What happened that night? We may never find out! Four families have their lives tragically torn apart by this incident. One family is the Copeland family. Paul Copeland, better known as Cope, was a teenager himself that night. Now he is the county prosecutor of Essex, New Jersey, and a single dad after his wife died of cancer. Cope is trying to balance his life between his work and his daughter when his life is ripped wide open again. While at a recital his daughter is performing in two detectives approach Cope and ask to speak with him about a recent homicide victim that is mysteriously linked to him. Is this homicide victim one of the campers who disappeared with his sister a supposed “victim“ of The Woods? Could Cope’s own sister still be alive?  Again the memories of that night come flooding back to Cope. What really happened in The Woods? A new body has been discovered in The Woods soon after Cope has launched his investigation. Could this be his sister or is this another victim of the killer? Will Cope be able to return to The Woods? There are so many questions left to be answered and the only way to answer them is to listen to The Woods!

Actor and writer Scott Brick has performed on film, television and radio. He has won over thirty Earphone Awards, as well as the 2003 Audie Award in the Best Science Fiction category.  He has recorded over 300 books to date. AudioFile Magazine named Scott “one of the fastest-rising stars in the audio book galaxy” and proclaimed him one of their Golden Voices. I personally would totally have to agree with all they have said about Scott. He always does a fantastic job and is one of my favorite readers of audio books. I have reviewed him before and still have yet to find a book read by him that I don’t like. His voice is melodious, and simply catches you attention. I don’t know what it is about him, but he finds a way to make every book he reads exciting in one way or another. Granted he reads books by some popular authors, but I have never found a book that I didn’t like that he has read including this The Woods by Harlan Coben. I would issue this challenge to anyone who listens to audio books: find any audio book read by Scott Brick and see if he doesn’t just become your new favorite performer of audio books!

In my opinion Harlan Coben has written another fantastic novel. I have listened to some of his other novels and have enjoyed them immensely. If you enjoy detective/mystery novels with a sports twist you should listen or read the Myron Bolitar series that is also written by Harlan Coben. In The Woods there are several twists and turns that keep everything exciting. You can just see how the two separate story lines of a couple of character involved that night 20 years ago are going to come crashing together. When is the only question. There are so many mysteries of what happened that I didn’t finally figure out who did what until about disc 10 or 11. The Woods kept me on the edge of my seat a lot of the time while I was cruising down the road. I would recommend this book to any young teens and adults who like a mystery/suspense book. It is a clean book as far as romance. I don’t remember any explicit loves scenes at all. If you don’t like profanity then this is a book for you.  All of the books I have listened to by Harlan Coben have been that way. Two thumbs way up or five stars or however you call it this duo of Harlan Coben and Scott Brick is an absolute joy to listen to.

You can read and/or listen to a sample here.



Title: The Woods

Author: Harlan Coben

Narrator: Scott Brick

Format: Audio

Length: 11 CDs


Publisher: Dutton Adult

Release Date: April 2007

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Zorn

So are all mysteries the same? Any bedroom sleuth will tell your there are worlds of difference between a cozy mystery and a historical serial killer mystery. From cozy mysteries to thrillers, serial killers to romantic suspense everyone loves a little Murder and Mayhem in their novels. This month Novel Reaction is excited to discuss and explore all things Murder and Mayhem. What makes a good suspenseful novel? What is it that keeps you on the edge of your seat, staying up reading way past the time you should be asleep just see if you are right about your suspicions as to who the murderer is? Is it the setting? The characters? The murder itself? We are going to explore all of these options this month. We have a slew of author guest posts lined up, giveaways and a visit from a brick and mortar bookstore The Poisoned Pen specializing in mystery novels located in Scottsdale, Arizona with a great online presence. In addition, we have some great giveaways donated by some of our great author visitors and publishers.

No murder is complete without a murder weapon, so to begin with our month of Murder and Mayhem I am giving away a murder weapon (okay, so it is really a Nerf gun) and a surprise mystery novel. To be entered to win this amazing prize pack just tell me your favorite murder weapon. One of our regular reviewers, Jillian, swears the perfect murder weapon is an icicle, stab someone and then the weapon melts, destroying the evidence. The main problem I have with this weapon is I live in Phoenix, we have a shortage of icicles and even if I was able to get my hands on one them it would melt before I could get it anywhere in the 112 degree weather we have right now.

To be entered simply leave a comment stating your favorite murder weapon. This contest is limited to US and Canadian residents only (sorry international readers, I just can’t afford to ship it to you). The contest ends September 29th at midnight. Make sure you check back regularly  this month as we will have other great giveaways and events going on.

Pat Nolan realizes it isn’t his daughter’s body he is looking at, but he gets the clue that she wants people to think she’s dead. He hasn’t seen Megan in a year and hopes that she isn’t just faking her death to get a reaction out of him. Pat starts his search in Paris for Megan, and finds himself getting help from Catherine Laurence, a detective who has been sent to find out why Pat lied about his daughter’s death. He finds himself being hunted by killers trying to get to Megan before any else does. As Pat finds himself looking at his daughter in a way he never has, he begins to realize his love for her and how frantic he is to find her alive.

In A World I Never Made, Megan’s story starts in Morocco where she finds herself the lover to Abdel Lahani. Megan is a journalist, trying to find terrorists in Morocco, but Lahani is the one she really needs to fear. She tries to run Lahani, but knows he wont stop until he finds her and kills her. She hopes Pat can find her before Lahani’s men do. Megan is found to be in connection with a terrorist bomging in Morocco and can no longer use her own ID, for it’s tagged by more then just Lahani’s men searching to kill her. Megan realizes it’s more then just her life on the line, and she must get the tapes turned over to her father and let him know what horrible secrets she has been carrying all this time.

James LePORE does such an amazing job in A World I Never Made of following Pat’s character through Europe. I was pulled into the story as well as the scenery in this book. I really enjoyed this book, but it does have frequent use of the F* word, so be warned. I thought LePORE did such a great job of keeping you pulled into the story and I found myself drawn to Megan, in a way I’m not usually drawn to a character. He has great writing skill, I even found myself trying to get my kids to just let me read for “five more minutes!”. I can’t wait to read another of his books.



Title: A World I Never Made

Author: James Lepore

Format: Paperback, eBook

Page Nos.: 262

ISBN: 978-0-9816087-2-3

Publisher: ReadHowYouWant

Release Date: October 2010

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jocee


**I received a copy of this book from the author but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

The Last Surgeon tests the wits of a former army surgeon who suffers from PTSD against a ruthless killer for hirer. Dr. Nick Garrity started as a trauma surgeon who has his own practice until September 11th 2001. After this he feels it is his patriotic duty to serve and so joins the army. Serving in Afghanistan he is exposed to a suicide bomber who kills several of his friends. After getting out of the army he suffers from the nightmares produced by his PTSD. Now he serves as the doctor on the Helping Hands Medical Clinic, a mobile clinic for the homeless and otherwise destitute in Washington D.C. and Baltimore. All during this service to the homeless he is on the lookout and searching for his best friend from the military, Umberto Vasquez, who hasn’t been seen since he was picked for a top secret mission for the military. Along his travels Dr. Garrity Meets Jillian Coates who is trying to find the people responsible for her sisters murder. Jillian is the only one that believes her sister did not commit suicide, and asks for Dr. Garrity’s help after he is unwittingly tied to her sister. Now the two of them team up to find out who is committing these murders and search for Umberto. In their quest for answers they cross paths with Franz Koller, The highly paid assassin and master of the “non-kill” as he refers to it. He is methodically killing those who are attached to a botched operation years ago. He is a master of murder and all his kills are ruled as suicides by the authorities, but Jillian and Nick don’t believe they were accidents or suicides. As Nick’s and Jillian’s search for the truth continues their like and respect for each other grows and a budding romance begins. Can they find the answers they are looking for and stop the killer before he strikes again, or will they become the next victims themselves? Will Dr. Nick Garrity become The Last Surgeon?

John Bedford Lloyd is an actor who career started at Williams College as a pre-med student. He switched his major after a friend convinced him to take part in a school play. He went on the attend Yale and graduated from the school’s prestigious school of drama. He has several movies such as “The Abyss” and “The Bourne Supremacy.” He has also had many supporting roles and TV series such as “Law and Order” and “All My Children.” He has since supplemented his actor as a successful reader of audio books. I must say that he has done a wonderful job in The Last Surgeon. He did a fantastic job with each of the characters and his amazing voice just does that much more to pull you into the book. He keeps the excitement of the book going throughout. His performance of The Last Surgeon was absolutely stellar. I hope to get more books read by Mr. Lloyd. He definitely gets 5 stars and a thumbs up for his reading of Michael Palmer’s The Last Surgeon.

I absolutely loved this book. I have listened to several of Michael Palmer’s books and physically read one myself. He is an amazing story teller and the more books he writes the better everything gets. The Last Surgeon is an absolute joy to listen to. It is full of excitement and suspense that is pretty much a constant in Michael Palmer’s writing. You will want to do nothing but put cd after cd in and keep listening until you finish the book. The Last Surgeon is a very quick eleven hours or so of listening, but it will make that boring trip much more exciting. I would very highly recommend this book. It does have adult language and a relatively non-descriptive romantic scene. This is definitely a book for older more mature adolescents and adults, but an amazing adventurous listen for those who listen to it. Michael Palmer has done it again with another five star book! Go get this The Last Surgeon from your favorite book store or possibly your local library and prepare yourself for an exciting ride. Just be forewarned that if you get it from the library be prepared for the discs to skip as that was the only problem with mine.

You can listen to an excerpt here.



Title: The Last Surgeon

Author: Michael Palmer

Read by:  John Bedford Lloyd

Format: Unabridged audio book on 10 cd’s

ISBN: 978-1427208743

Publisher: Macmillan Audio

Release Date: Feb. 2010

Available for purchase: Amazon, Macmillian

Reviewer: Zorn

Why Ratings?
It is true you can't judge a book by its cover, you also can't judge a book's graphic content by its cover. NovelReaction's goal is to provide readers with a graphic content so they can make an informed decision regarding the books they want to read. (Also, to have a great place for people to discuss books.) So sit back, pull up a beverage, and read on!
Graphic Ratings*

1 = kissing
2 = kissing, some fondling
3 = descriptive stripping but no sex
4 = sex scene but not descriptive in details
5 = full descriptive sex scene

*I am rating a specific book by an author, not the author's style. If I am aware an author writes a specific way, I will let you know.

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