Advance reader reviews of Man in the Woods by Scott Spencer.

Man in the Woods

By Scott Spencer

Man in the Woods
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Sep 2010,
    320 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

Page 3 of 4
There are currently 27 member reviews
for Man in the Woods
Order Reviews by:
  • Becky H. (Chicago, IL)

    Thriller?, Not So Much
    I really liked, maybe even loved, the writing. I liked the author's pacing, his sentence structure and his word usage. I liked the characters and that you really got to know them (except Ruby who always seemed a mystery both to me and to the writer).
    What I didn't like was the story. Except for three heart pounding pages there was no "thrill" to it. The end left me flat. It seemed as if there was a chapter missing - the last one where all the stories (there are at least 5) would come to their conclusions. If you are looking for beautiful writing and finely drawn characters, you will love this book. If you are looking for a thriller or a mystery, you need to keep looking.
  • Susan F. (Chicago, IL)

    Rage incited the precipitating event in the novel when Paul acts in defense of a helpless animal. What I found disconcerting is that the rage evidenced early on is inconsistent with how Paul considers himself in any other aspect of his life. I would have liked to have some insight about the origin of rage that seemed so contradictory to the rest of who is.
  • Amy H. (Benbrook, TX)

    Loss of Momentum
    I give this book 3 stars with great trepidation, because I absolutely love the writing style of Scott Spencer. His descriptive prose has no match with any current author that I've read. My hesitation with a higher rating stems from loss of plot momentum for the middle 50 of the book. As Paul grapples with his conscience and loses touch with reality, the book slows to an idle that endured way too long. I never learned enough about Will to be even remotely sympathetic to his death, and I found Ruby to be an over-indulged, slightly creepy child. Paul's character was well-developed and I enjoyed reading about his relationship with Kate. In the future, I might pick up another book by Spencer, once I'm able to forget how frustrated I was with this one.
  • Jeff M. (Morris Plains, NJ)

    Man in the Woods
    A crime occurs very early in "Man in the Woods", but this is not a police procedural. In fact, the investigative works occurs mainly in the background and is presented in relatively short chapters throughout the book.

    What this book is all about are relationships -- man/woman, mother/daughter, brother/sister and the key one -- man/dog and how the crime and its aftermath, along with other life issues (including the highly anticipated Y2K -- the book takes place in late 1999) impacts those relationships. Scott Spencer has a tremendous ability for character development (I had not read his previous novel, "A Ship Made of Paper" in which two of the characters first appeared) and his literary descriptions around even a simple event, like a winter sunset, are exceptional and very visual. Yet one of the most interesting characters is the hapless dog, Shep, who plays a pivotal role throughout and is key to the ending, which will likely leave many a reader speechless. I strongly recommend.
  • Eileen P. (Pittsford, NY)

    The darkness inside
    Man in the Woods is a sequel to Scott Spencer’s A Ship Made of Paper. While I enjoyed Man in the Woods, I found myself wondering more than once if I would had a better understanding of the characters and their motivations if I had read the previous novel first. Even so, Man in the Woods would make an excellent discussion book. Not only would it be interesting to discuss the moral issues the book raises, but it would also be easy to have an engaging discussion about the plausibility of the characters' responses to the choices they face.
  • Beatrice D. (Floral Park, New York)

    Man in the Woods
    This is a well written fast-paced page turner revealing one man's quandaries as he grows from being an independent teenager into a many-talented man. Along the way he is confronted with people he meets and decisions to make which will affect his entire future.

    Spencer's writing takes us along on Paul's journey to selfhood as he seeks to find the true essence and purpose of his life.

    A really good read from first to last page
  • Barbara C. (Riverside, CA)

    It's all about the dog
    This book has a nice crisp writing style that flows well. The premise is interesting and unusual, but the end may leave the reader scratching his or her head. Most of the characters are really “characters” and they are woven together like macramé, but some seem unnecessary or at least over-developed. I love the policeman. He could have a series of books all about him! Scott Spencer writes lots of little truisms and aphorisms that you wish you had said instead of him. The main character is full of life lessons and Truths (Notice the capital T?).
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Take This Man
    Take This Man
    by Brando Skyhorse
    "A chorus of six men calling me Son might sound ludicrous to you, but to me it's the sound of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Hundred-Year House
    The Hundred-Year House
    by Rebecca Makkai
    Rebecca Makkai's sophomore novel The Hundred-Year House could just have easily been titled ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"

    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Tomlinson Hill
by Chris Tomlinson

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist


Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.