Header Image

Review: In the Woods by Tana French


Title: In the Woods

Author: Tana French
Year published: 2008
Category: Adult fiction (mystery/thriller)
Pages: 542 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location: (my 2024 Google Reading map)Ireland

SummaryAs dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a twelve-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox—his partner and closest friend—find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.

Richly atmospheric and stunning in its complexity, In the Woods is utterly convincing and surprising to the end.

Review: I have been hearing about Tana French novels for years and she is one of those authors that I haven't gotten around to reading. Why is that? This novel was really good!

I like the main character (Adam/Rob) and have sympathy for him and all he's gone through even though I could see him spiraling. PTSD wasn't really a thing yet, but he's got it. His detective partner is also a good character and I like their friendship.

The mystery itself is well done though the book is long and could have done with a little editing (though I always tend to think that when a book is over 400 pages). I didn't guess who committed the murder or how they would end up solving so that's always a good thing. And in fact, the ending was really good--twisted and unexpected.

Challenges for which this counts: 
  • Cloak and Dagger
  • Literary Escapes--Ireland

No comments