Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Five

(UK, 2016)

Technically this is known as Harlan Coben’s The Five, but I want it to be alphabetized under F, so I’ll know where to look for it. Coben is one of the best thriller writers working today. His plots always involve some almost impossible to believe circumstance, and the gradual revelation of a ton of buried secrets. The explanations at the end are plausible … if you don’t examine them too closely. Coincidences of almost Dickensian proportions often play a role, as it does here in this ten-part series set in England. Four pre-teen friends and a little brother go walking through the woods one day, and the little brother is told to go home. He is never seen again … until twenty-five years later when his DNA is identified at the scene of a murder. What the hell? The friends must re-unite and try to figure it all out. Naturally there is the gradual revelation of a ton of buried secrets … well, you get the idea. This can work if it keeps everything in motion, never giving you a lot of time to think about it. It has always worked well in the books, for me. It works a little less well in movie format. We enjoyed it, and will probably look at the second series, which has been greenlighted.