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In the Woods: A Novel (Dublin Murder Squad) Paperback – May 27, 2008
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“Required reading for anyone who appreciates tough, unflinching intelligence and ingenious plotting.” —The New York Times
Now airing as a Starz series.
As 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.
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—The Washington Post
“Part whodunit, part psychological thriller, and wholly successful...French’s plot twists and turns will bamboozle even the most astute reader...A well-written, expertly plotted thriller.”
“In the Woods is as creepily imaginative as it gets.”
“Drawn by the grim nature of her plot and the lyrical ferocity of her writing, even smart people who should know better will be able to lose themselves in these dark woods.”
—The New York Times Book Review
Praise for Tana French
“When you read Ms. French — and she has become required reading for anyone who appreciates tough, unflinching intelligence and ingenious plotting — make only one assumption: All of your initial assumptions are wrong”
—The New York Times
"Tana French is the most interesting, most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years."
—The Washington Post
"[Tana French] inspires cultic devotion in readers…most crime fiction is diverting; French's is consuming."
—The New Yorker
“To say Tana French is one of the great thriller writers is really too limiting. Rather she’s simply this: a truly great writer.”
“French is a poet of mood and a master builder of plots.”
—The Washington Post
“One of the most distinct and exciting new voices in crime writing.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“French does something fresh with every novel, each one as powerful as the last but in a very different manner. Perhaps she has superpowers of her own? Whatever the source of her gift, it’s only growing more miraculous with every book.”
About the Author
- Publisher : Penguin Books; Reprint edition (May 27, 2008)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 464 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0143113496
- ISBN-13 : 978-0143113492
- Item Weight : 14.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.49 x 0.98 x 8.36 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #5,575 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Top reviews from the United States
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Soon the detectives have some possible suspects. The family of the victim is involved of course.
by the end of the book we do find out who killed the modern girl but never find out anything more about the original mystery. There is no connection. To make this book even less of a thriller, the prime antagonist is obvious, and the author seems to think we will be shocked...
Maybe some people were surprised... I have read a lot of suspense and thriller novels and don't see right through it as easily as I did in this one... If you would like mystery, suspense or thrills look elsewhere. This book has none of that.
Top reviews from other countries
I loved the interaction between Rob and Cassie; they were very much like brother and sister, always teasing one another while simultaneously being there when the other needed them. I was greatly saddened by the end of the novel regarding their relationship but I won't say anything more for risk of spoiling it.
I loved the twisted villainy of the culprit and I think this book highlights how not every criminal case ends how the police want it to end. Although I have read other detective novels, they have a 'happy' ending and I think it is really good and interesting to show the flip side of that coin.
Overall, a gripping read and I will be reading the next book in this series. I would recommend In the Woods to those who enjoy detective thrillers.
Absorbing and finally very,very sad. It is a lonely world....but Cassie did deserve better and glad she found happiness.
I've read some of the critical reviews on Amazon and want to redress the balance here - this book deserves to be way ahead of the average 3.5 * rating it's weighing in at. It is beautifully written. The emotional depth of the central characters is extremely well handled. The narrative voice of Detective Ryan as the modern day case brings him to breaking point confronting his past is brilliantly handled. This could be so hackneyed but it isn't. French's background as an actress is telling here - she really gets inside the soul of a character, the complexity and subtext of their behaviour. Most skilled of all - she manages to convey what Ryan truly feels, through first person narrative, without him even being aware of it. So we see he is deeply in love with Cassie but doesn't know it, is utterly blinded by Rosalind's deviance but refuses to even contemplate it, too locked in his own personal belief that any tiny boned Knocknaree girl must be as vulnerable as his first lost love. The pace and tension are strong throughout. I was incredibly impressed by how well french managed to keep up the pace of a thriller whilst never losing her gorgeous poetic edge and deeply insightful characterisation.
My only misgiving was the very occasional and rather annoying dip into second person. Who is Ryan talking to? us? If so, sorry mate, I think a lot of us guessed who the killer was way back when his eyes were blinded by preconceptions, so to assume we too had been equally hoodwinked was just annoying. It didn't matter that we worked it out before he did. He suggests he was never that great a detective anyway, and there are so many howlers in the investigation. Any real investigation of child murder where the victim has clearly been moved from a local site to the place she's found would scour the nearby huts of the archaeological dig for weapons, wrappings etc. These overt blunders were clumsy but backed up by Ryan's own disintegration, and Cassie's weakness for him: two people who's real passion was not at all for the job in hand. This isn't a straightforward whodunnit.
This was French's first novel and a few new writer-ish tells come up - she is at massive pains to point out how unhackneyed her characters are how not like central casting (she refers to cliched detectives several times). Ah but they are central casting: the haunted, flawed detective who falls for the femme fatale; his wild and strong but tender sidekick with her tumbling curls. The thing is, when the writing is this good, this warm and intelligent, who cares? I can't wait to read the rest of her work. I adore crime fiction but so few novels stay in the mind after the crime is revealed. This will. It is so vivid, so moving, the people are so real.