The Match

Harlan Coben

I have been a bit of a reading slump this month. I have started reading so many books, but they then fail to keep my attention. Typically, when this happens, I like to pick up a thriller. Even that was not working! Luckily, my copy of The Match came in. Ever since I discovered Harlan Coben two years ago, he has been one of those authors I turn to pull me out of a slump with his fast-paced narratives that are reliably solid reads. The Match did not disappoint.

Quick Synopsis

Found abandoned in the mountains as a boy, Wilde has finally decided to pursue the story of his past – only to end up in the sights of a ruthless killer – as he searches for his birth family.

Publisher’s Synopsis

From the creator of the #1 hit Netflix series Stay Close comes a gripping new thriller in which Wilde follows a tip that may finally reveal the truth behind his abandonment—only to end up in the sights of a ruthless killer.

After months away, Wilde has returned to the Ramapo Mountains in the wake of a failed bid at domesticity that confirms what he’s known all along: He belongs on his own, free from the comforts and constraints of modern life.

Suddenly, a DNA match on an online ancestry database brings Wilde closer to his past than he’s ever dreamed, and finally gives Wilde the opening he needs to track down his father. But meeting the man brings up more questions than answers. So Wilde reaches out to his last, most desperate lead, a second cousin who disappears as quickly as he resurfaces, having experienced an epic fall from grace that can only be described as a waking nightmare.

Was his cousin’s downfall a long time coming? Or was he the victim of a conspiracy as cunning as it is complex? And how does it all connect to the man once known as The Stranger, a treacherous fugitive with a growing following whose mission and methods have only turned more dangerous with time?

Book Review

The Match is the second book by Harlan Coben to feature the protagonist Wilde. This follow-up to The Boy from the Woods (2020). The Boy from the Woods is actually the Coben book I have liked the least. Because of this, I was slightly hesitant to pick up The Match. However, Coben definitely brought back the magic with this second installment in Wilde’s story.

The Match is the fast-paced, action-packed thriller I expect from Harlan Coben, about a DNA match on an ancestry site that leads to uncovered secrets and murder. While The Match is a sequel, it can be read as a standalone. Coben reintroduces the characters and their backstories well. (Of course, I am not the best judge of this since I have read the previous book.)

Everything I took issue with in The Boy from the Woods was addressed and made up for. This time around, Wilde and the supporting characters are fully fleshed out and have some depth. We finally find out the mystery of Wilde’s past, leaving me satisfied with that mystery no longer haunting me. With the murders tied directly to Wilde and the enigma of his past, I was easily invested in getting to the bottom of them.

The mysteries at the heart of The Match compelled me through the book, eagerly turning the pages to find out what happened next. There were many twists and turns. While you may or may not deduce the murderer’s identity, you will still be surprised by the reveal and the ending. I love when I fail to guess what is going to happen. The Match fulfilled this, and left me a very happy reader.

I love that Coben has some characters that reappear throughout his books, including The Match – like the forever sassy lawyer Hester Crimstein. It is like a little treat for fans and avid readers of his books. Still, if this is your first book by Coben, you are not at a loss.

My only criticism of The Match was that the ending felt a bit rushed and slightly disjointed. There was one plot element that felt a bit like a loose end, enough that I went back to see if I missed something. None of this ruined the book for me; I just think it could have been marginally smoother with events better tying together.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Match and was happy to see Coben redeem Wilde’s story with a book that does it justice. I highly recommend this book whether you have read The Boy from the Woods or not.

Rating

Overall Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Writing

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Plot

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Character development

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Match (Wilde #2)

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Genre
Mystery/Thriller

Publication Date
March 15, 2022

Pages
352


Storygraph Rating
4.13 stars

Goodreads Rating
4.31 stars


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Note: I received gifted copy of this book from the publisher, Grand Central Publishing. Regardless, I always provide a fair and honest review.

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