Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

In the Woods by Tana French

In the Woods (original 2007; edition 2008)

by Tana French

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,115426670 (3.77)530
Title:In the Woods
Authors:Tana French
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:mystery, suspense/thriller, author-Ireland, unread

Work details

In the Woods by Tana French (2007)

  1. 141
    The Likeness by Tana French (2810michael)
  2. 50
    Haunted Ground by Erin Hart (mikedraper)
    mikedraper: Irish setting, good characters and well written
  3. 72
    Faithful Place by Tana French (ijustgetbored)
  4. 20
    Sister by Rosamund Lupton (kraaivrouw)
  5. 10
    Dark Places: A Novel by Gillian Flynn (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These psychological suspense novels feature characters who, as young children, witness horrible crimes and must now revisit their painful pasts to discover the truth. The stories are fast paced, chilling, and atmospheric.
  6. 00
    In the Forest by Edna O'Brien (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: Murder mysteries set in forests of Ireland, although otherwise not very similar.
  7. 00
    The End of Everything: A Novel by Megan Abbott (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Missing persons cases drive these lyrical, richly detailed novels that blend Mystery and Psychological Fiction to explore family secrets, childhood friendships, and the loss of innocence. First-person narration heightens suspense by calling into question the reliability of memory.… (more)
  8. 00
    Gallows Hill by Rory O'Brien (msouliere)
  9. 01
    This Body of Death by Elizabeth George (cometahalley)
  10. 03
    December by Phil Rickman (ehines)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 530 mentions

English (411)  Spanish (5)  German (4)  Dutch (3)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  All (425)
Showing 1-5 of 411 (next | show all)
Thanks to a friend's urging, I've just discovered a new series and author -- Tana French. I must have been under a rock, because In The Woods (her first in the series) was published in 2007. I was aware of this book, having seen it over the years. But, look at that cover -- doesn't it look like a horror filled, psychological thriller? Shame on me for judging a book by its cover.

In the Woods immediately pulls you in, the terrifically written prologue sets the stage and puts the reader into a carefree summer day in a 1984 suburb of Dublin with three children playing in the woods.

When the children don't return home, only one child, Adam Robert Ryan, is found catatonic, remembering nothing but his shoes are soaked with blood. Now twenty years later, Ryan, going only by Adam Ryan, is a detective for the Dublin Murder Squad. No one knows of his connection with the 1984 incident. A young girl is found murdered in the very same woods and Ryan finds himself in his old hometown which triggers memories of what happened on that tragic day.

In the Woods is narrated by Detective Ryan and Ms. French has given him a complex voice - taunted by the past, torn up with survivors guilt and the hard, cool viewpoint of a detective.

"What I warn you to remember is that I am a detective. This is my job, and you don't go into it -- or, if you do, you don't last -- without some natural affinity for its priorities and demands. What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this -- two things: I crave truth. And I lie."

Detective Ryan and his partner from the Dublin murder squad, Cassie Maadox, begin their gentle but relentless investigation into the death of young Katy Devlin. Their relationship is intricately developed and compassionate.

" How can I ever make you understand Cassie and me? I would have to take you there, walk you down every path our secret shared geography. The truism says it's against all the odds for a straight man and woman to be real friends, platonic friends; we rolled thirteen, threw down five aces and ran away giggling. She was the summertime cousin out of storybooks, the one you taught to swim at some midge-humming lake and pestered with tadpoles down her swimsuit, with whom you practiced first kisses on a heather hillside and laughed about it years later..."

Ms. French deftly weaves back and forth between the two plots and it's fascinating to see if two murders relate or are a mere coincidence. The interrogation scenes are some of the best parts of this debut;

"It becomes second nature, interrogation; it seeps into your blood until, no matter how stunned or exhausted or excited your are, this remains unchanged: the polite professional tone, the clean, relentless march as each answer unfolds into question after new question."

There is rich atmosphere, from the Irish weather;

"It was your basic Irish summer day, irritatingly coy, all sun and skidding clouds and jackknifing breeze, ready at any second to make an effortless leap into bucketing rain or blazing sun or both."

To the murdered girl's autopsy;

" I thought of the old superstition that the soul lingers near the body for a few days, bewildered and unsure."

In the Woods is atmospheric and engrossing, with richly drawn characters and some lovely detailed writing. Hard to fathom that this is Ms. French's first novel.

I read most of the day - couldn't put it down. The ending does not tie up all the loose ends but I'm hoping the next in this intelligent series will start to resolve some of the questions.
See all my reviews at http://www.bookbarmy.com
( )
  BookBarmy | Apr 13, 2017 |
Nothing special here, just a whodunnit novel. I found some intriguing elements to the story and the characters, but they never came together coherently. There were some elements that seemed frustratingly misdone in the investigation. The story rambles a lot. I'm not sure if the author was trying to insert red herrings or just needed a better editor. ( )
  dougcornelius | Mar 10, 2017 |
I was not very impressed with this book. The plot was week and the mystery left me feeling unsatisfied, but perhaps the biggest disappointment was the overall voice of the book. The main character didn't come off believable and the overall tone of the book felt more like a high school story rather than an adult murder mystery. I would have expected something more gritty. ( )
  ZephyrusW | Mar 5, 2017 |
This was a hard read, but very good. I am terribly pissed with the author for not clearing up a few things, though. ( )
  annabw | Feb 21, 2017 |
Ok while reading this book I'd give it four stars. Having finished it, I'm downgrading to three. It could be because I'm in that post-good-book wallow and I'm maybe unfairly saying "it's you, not me" to the book. And I think I'd even still recommend this book if only for the first 400 pages (out of 429). So without spoilers, if you like psychological thrillers with some great character development - you'll probably love this book too. It also reminded me a lot of [a:Stieg Larsson|706255|Stieg Larsson|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1246466225p2/706255.jpg]'s work - less detail oriented, but same kind of darkness and same kind of psychological twists and turns.

I was actually avoiding the books all the stores are comparing to Larsson if they involved formal police characters, because part of the attraction of Larsson's novels was the journalism and anti-police backdrop. French has proven me short sighted though and I will need to take another look at those other novels.

Having finished the novel there are three primary distinct reasons I feel unsettled. Only one of which, though, do I recognize as really warranted. Onto the spoilers.

1. After finding out that Rosalind is an honest to goodness psychopath, I really wanted more exploration of her character. In the context of the novel we don't need it - we're told what we need to know to understand her motives (or lack thereof) and her methods regarding Katy's murder. I'm fascinated by these characters whenever I run into them, though, so the lack of more background is frustrating. This novel was a like a tease. But, the novel also isn't about Rosalind - in fact, it would be ruinous to give that much away earlier in the story - so I understand why it wouldn't make sense to include these details. I almost want a companion novella that is just Rosalind's life. At any rate, I'm still left wanting and unsatisfied.

2. Like anyone who's a fan of romantic comedies like I am, I would have liked Cassie and Ryan to at least make up. I didn't really like them together romantically, but I did really like them together as partners. The fact that that was shot to hell with no nice resolution just kills me. Again, though, it makes sense for this story. I've come to expect that kind of resolution because of other stories, but it's unfair and untrue to expect that from every relationship. I didn't much like Ryan throughout most of the novel, but I as left feeling sorry for him: he kept his job on the force, but it sounds like it's pretty demeaning and excruciating now; he doesn't have any close friends and doesn't much seem to even have the social skills to make new ones. He should just quit his job and move away and start fresh, which maybe in the future he does - we're just not privy to it. Or maybe he can't bring himself to due to his ties to the area and his past. Unable to leave in the same way Jamie's and Peter's families were unable to leave. (I know that French's second novel, [b:The Likeness|1914973|The Likeness|Tana French|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1255897334s/1914973.jpg|6504351], features Cassie in a new story and maybe readers find out in that book what comes of Ryan. Until then we're left to wonder what happens after he's finished narrating his story to us.) Plus I like Sam a lot, but I don't like him for Cassie at all.

3. I really am frustrated that we never got any further information on the Jamie/Peter disappearance. This is also the one point that I feel like is a warranted frustration. Maybe we're supposed to assume that it was Cathal and Shane (I trust that Jonathan had nothing to do with it), but for me at least there wasn't nearly enough evidence to really prove that to any satisfying extent. I'm also usually pretty good with ambiguity in stories - while I like tidy resolution, I can recognize when it's not needed or when it's an unrealistic expectation (see points 1 & 2 above, for example). This is one area that I feel almost betrayed by. For so many chapters we weave inside this decades old tragedy, hinting that it may be connected, and trusting that even if it's not connected - some more information will come to light. And nothing does. Absolutely nothing new is discovered. Some might say that the facts aren't what matter, it's Ryan's own relationship to his past that's important. Even if I concede that, I don't really think Ryan has a much better relationship to his past. I think he's retreated back to the point where he's given up searching for answers and is resigned to never knowing. Maybe that's best for him, but it's not any kind of growth. Plus, I don't really even concede that that should be the point of this back-story: in a psychological suspense thriller, I feel like readers have an expectation for some kind of explanation; and we're never given one in the matter of this case. Instead it was just a tool to make Ryan connected to Katy's own death and mystery and to make the novel more layered. Without any follow-up though it just feels almost cheap and makes me feel lied to. (Again, though, maybe [b:The Likeness|1914973|The Likeness|Tana French|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1255897334s/1914973.jpg|6504351] follows up more. I've already compared the novel to [b:The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo|2429135|The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1)|Stieg Larsson|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1293975922s/2429135.jpg|1708725] and I know that that book had background we never discovered considering Lisbeth's past, while [b:The Girl Who Played with Fire|5060378|The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium, #2)|Stieg Larsson|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1293976153s/5060378.jpg|6976108] uncovered more of that for readers.)

So that's about it. A good book and a well-written story, but left wanting in some key areas. ( )
  corywa | Feb 9, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 411 (next | show all)
Although she overburdens the traditional police-procedural form with the weight of romance, psychological suspense, social history and mythic legend, she sets a vivid scene for her complex characters, who seem entirely capable of doing the unexpected. 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.

» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tana Frenchprimary authorall editionscalculated
Wang, JenniferCover artistmain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Crossley, StevenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Resnick, NancyDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
"Probably just somebody's nasty black poodle. But I've always wondered... What if it really was Him, and He decided I wasn't worth it?"
-- Tony Kushner, A Bright Room Called Day
For my father, David French,
and my mother, Elena Hvostoff-Lombardi
First words
Picture a summer stolen whole from some coming-of-age film set in small-town 1950s.
What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this--two things: I crave truth. And I lie.
We think about mortality so little, these days, except to flail hysterically at it with trendy forms of exercise and high-fiber cereals and nicotine patches.
To my mind the defining characteristic of our era is spin, everything tailored to vanishing point by market research, brands and bands manufactured to precise specifications; we are so used to things transmuting into whatever we would like them to be that it comes as a profound outrage to encounter death, stubbornly unspinnable, only and immutably itself.
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence," he told me reproachfully.
Maybe she, like me, would have loved the tiny details and the inconveniences even more dearly than the wonders, because they are the things that prove you belong.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143113496, Paperback)

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, stunning in its complexity, and utterly convincing and surprising to the end, In the Woods is sure to enthrall fans of Mystic River and The Lovely Bones. And look for French's new mystery, Broken Harbor, for more of the Dublin Murder Squad.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:21 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Detective Rob Ryan and his partner, Cassie Maddox, investigate the murder of a 12-year-old girl near a Dublin suburb. The case resonates with similarities to a murder committed twenty years before that involved two children and the young Ryan.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
20 avail.
274 wanted
7 pay15 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.77)
0.5 10
1 34
1.5 5
2 114
2.5 40
3 452
3.5 169
4 924
4.5 135
5 394


3 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 113,881,729 books! | Top bar: Always visible