“The stranger of the forest”: in the footsteps of Naomi

“The stranger of the forest”: in the footsteps of Naomi

Author of many best-selling books, American Harlan Coben explores the theme of disappearance in his new thriller, The stranger of the forest. In this fast-paced, multi-faceted novel, a loner with a mysterious past must use all his resources to find a missing teenager. Naomi’s disappearance, indeed, could lead to dire consequences, on a large scale.

Wilde, an important figure in this story, is a man with a mysterious past. He was found in the forest at a very young age and no one has ever been able to find traces of his family. He grew up in a foster family, created other bonds as best he could.

Now in his thirties, Wilde has never found out where he came from or why he ended up alone in the forest. He has remained solitary and lives as a hermit in his green mini-house, on the edge of a small town.

When Naomi, an unloved and lonely teenager, rejected and abused by her peers, goes missing, successful lawyer Hester Crimstein – a daring lawyer who hosts her own TV show and isn’t afraid of anything – does appeal to Wilde.

In the woods

In an interview, Harlan Coben explains that he had the trigger for this new plot when he saw a little boy of 5-6 years old running alone in a path while he was doing a bit of hiking (an activity he does not like). not particularly, he reveals).

“I wondered what could possibly happen if this little boy had always lived in the woods. If he had found food in cabins and had no family. And what if, 30 years later, we still didn’t know what happened? What would it look like? And what would happen if young people were reported missing in the forest and asked to find them? “

Intimidation and disappearance

Particularly interesting is the character of Naomi, the unloved, bullied girl. She is really beaten up by children from rich families who think they can do anything. And then she disappears. Wilde sets out to find him … and he has several reasons for doing so.

“Often in my novels I explore the fate of characters who experience something universal. We have all had certain experiences. In each school, in each class, in each level, there is always a young person who is struggling. You wonder how he manages to put one foot in front of the other, considering everything he’s been through. Then I started to observe how we react to this. The feeling of guilt we are experiencing. “

“These are the kinds of questions I ask myself 100 times in writing a novel: to think about things that have happened to me, about events that other people have faced. And I try to incorporate these elements into my story, so that the reader identifies with Naomi. Either you were a Naomi or you saw someone who was like her. “

Hester is back

Harlan Coben had a great time developing the character of Hester. “Hester appears in at least 20 novels, but she only had small roles. She was played by Natalie Baye in the movie Tell no one (Do not tell anyone). “

“I always wanted to develop this character more and that’s what I do in The stranger of the forest. She’s a tough lawyer with a comedic side and I wanted to show her family history, her private life. I find her funny. She is brilliant. She’s not tall, but she has quite a personality. ”

  • Harlan Coben lives in New Jersey with his wife and their four children.
  • He graduated in political science from Amherst College.
  • Several of his novels have been adapted for cinema or mini-series, including Do not tell anyone, Many of them, One chance too many and Just a look.
  • He will write a sequel to The stranger of the forest.


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