In the Woods

In the Woods

Book - 2007
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When he was twelve years old, Adam Ryan went playing in the woods one sunny day with his two best friends. He never saw them again. Their bodies were never found, and Adam himself was discovered with his back pressed against an oak tree and his shoes filled with blood. He had no memory of what had happened. Twenty years later Adam -- now using his middle name of Rob -- is a detective with the Dublin police force. His colleagues don't know about his past. He works as a team with Cassie Maddox, a smart, tough cookie; they are best friends as well as partners. When the body of a young girl is found at the site of an archaeological dig, Rob and Cassie get the case. And when they reach the crime scene, Rob realises it is the exact site of his childhood trauma. They also find a hairclip that he recognises as having belonged to his friend. Could there be a connection between that old, unsolved crime and this? Knowing that he would be thrown off the case if his past were revealed, Rob takes a fateful decision to keep quiet. Rob and Cassie are investigating the murder of Katy Devlin, but they both hope that they might also solve the twenty-year-old mystery of the woods.
Publisher: New York : Viking/Penguin, 2007
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9780670038602
Characteristics: 429 p. ; 24 cm


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cals_readers Jul 16, 2018

Dublin, Ireland

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Nov 14, 2018

Very very enjoyable.It's a lengthy book but she really knows how to move a story along. She's great with her descriptions - you get lost for a minute or two and forget your reading fiction. It sounds so real, as if you are right there seeing what's happening. That's a rare gift for a story teller.

Two or three times a year I pick up a book that I gobble down like a good meal. And this is one of those. A young girl is murdered in a Dublin suburb and we follow the police investigation through the eyes of one of the detectives who, himself, was involved in an eerily similar crime in his childhood. I thoroughly enjoyed the relationship between the two detectives which takes some very unpredictable turns – as does the murder investigation. I can’t wait to read more of Tana French’s books. (submitted by JH)

WestSlope_TheaH Aug 21, 2018

Tana French is my favorite mystery author and her award-winning debut showcases her unique blend of police procedural and psychological thriller. I love her richly detailed storytelling, complex characters, and the moody, disturbing atmosphere that permeates her work. In the Woods is the first in a series---you’ll be hooked!

PLYMC_Malvie Jun 05, 2018

This debut story was very intriguing, and it really left me wanting more. The leading detective encounters a case that leads back to his own personal childhood trauma, which was never solved. No one knows of his past, and what follows makes him question his own judgement and blurs the line between right and wrong.

Mar 11, 2018

On one hand I couldn't put it down. Tana French has a beautiful way with words and a strong narrative voice. On the other hand the main character is unrealistic, unreliable and unlikable. The plot meanders slowly, flipping and folding back in on itself and going back to the beginning several times and lastly, the character's central conflict remained unsolved and was ultimately of no importance. I became actually angry near the book when the narrator states, "But before you despise me too thoroughly, consider this: (pronoun deleted) fooled you too." What an unbelievable act of hubris. It's an interesting twist to be sure but entirely guessable as far as the whodunit genre goes.

Feb 25, 2018

Went into this one after reading Inspector Gamache series and just couldn't get into it.

Feb 12, 2018

Loved this book! Reading The Likeness next!

CRRL_MegRaymond Dec 18, 2017

One summer night, three children fail to return home after a day of playing. One child is finally located, with bloody sneakers and no memory of what happened that day.

marycatlyons Nov 06, 2017

This story had great potential, but I felt it was bogged down with prose and descriptions that you didn't necessarily need. Overall, not a satisfying read.

Nov 02, 2017

Well written, but it was overly long and unnecessarily drawn out. Two central elements to the plot and the delay in finding the killer - the narrator's behaviour and his relationship to his partner - stretched credibility and were hard to believe, especially since the likely murderer was quite clear to this reader by the middle of the book.

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Apr 05, 2017

gobula thinks this title is suitable for 2 years and under

Jul 27, 2016

BWilsoned thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Kristen MERKE
Jul 02, 2013

Kristen MERKE thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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Jul 25, 2017

This book wasn't quite what I was expecting--it was far more.

French writes with a taut, well-paced style. The story begins with several potential areas of tension: male and female detective partners; a detective who is hiding his true identity because of a childhood trauma; and a murder to solve that has taken place at the site of that childhood trauma. And the author pulls and works each of these strands in the a very taut rope.

Because the story is told in first-person—Detective Rob Ryan is living with the aftermath of a childhood trauma—the reader sees and hears everything he does. But we also see how his mind works. More interestingly, we watch his mind unravel. But French's writing is so tightly paced that the reader is sliding down the treacherous slope with Rob Ryan before we realize it.

Detective Ryan’s story begins as a typical detective investigation, with only a few phrases suggesting he is telling this story from a point in the future. But as the murder investigation continues, the tension between Ryan and his partner builds. This becomes more apparent in Ryan’s telling, as he begins adding more information about their relationship and the changes he begins to recognize after the case.

As the case reaches its tense conclusion, Ryan’s voice becomes a tight balance between distraught and resigned. And the reader cannot put the book down until knowing how the story turns out.

As the investigation concludes, the reader is as exhausted as the investigators. The final chapter is Ryan’s “now.” He is looking back with all the awareness of hindsight, filled with sadness, self-loathing, and resignation.

This reader was left feeling overwhelmed by the emotions in these characters as well as the self-absorption most humans go through life with. One of the most amazing “whodunits” I’ve ever read.

Feb 23, 2011

loved it, a dark mystery with characters i enjoyed reading about. A detective who was the sole surviver of a abuduction of two of his other friends, investigates a murder that took place in the same location 25 years later. Haunting and lonely- you won't like the ending.


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Aug 14, 2010

"Don't step on anything that looks like archaeology."


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