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In the Woods by Tana French

In the Woods (original 2007; edition 2008)

by Tana French

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4,825336959 (3.77)396
Title:In the Woods
Authors:Tana French
Info:Penguin Books (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:Read but unowned, 2012 Books Read, Prize Winners

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In the Woods by Tana French (2007)

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English (324)  Spanish (5)  German (4)  Dutch (3)  Danish (1)  All languages (337)
Showing 1-5 of 324 (next | show all)
This was a great book from a great author. I even like the way that the ending doesn't quite wrap things up as tightly as you'd normally expect. The unfolding story, and memories, are perfectly timed. The book engages from beginning to end. And lots of good information about sociopaths. If you can't invest in "the psychopath test" (but you should) then this should give you a pretty firm grip of the subject.

I wish I could read this again for the first time. If you're lucky enough to be looking at it for the first time - I envy you. ( )
  kathay | Sep 26, 2014 |
This story links the bloody disappearance of two childhood friends and the lone survivor to a child killing twenty years later in the same locale. The lone survivor of the first case is the lead detective in the Murder Squad investigation into the newest case.

Only his partner knows of the link to the past. Clearly as he steadily comes apart mentally and emotionally, the detective has no business being involved in the case even though he is the one who successively solves the modern murder. ( )
  cfk | Sep 10, 2014 |
I put off reading this book, and found the first three or four pages almost unreadable, but am so glad that I continued. The author's ability to create her own world, and express mood, are virtually unmatched. I finished the 400+ pages in a Sunday and two work days, and just went to pick up the sequel. Fantastic, compelling characters. ( )
  cherilove | Aug 20, 2014 |
Five stars for the beautiful writing, but one for the dissatisfaction I experienced in the end. I loved the ride, but did not appreciate the almost total lack of a destination. ( )
  etbm2003 | Aug 18, 2014 |
*No Spoilers

So much sadness in my heart.

This is hard, writing this review. I keep starting and scrapping. I have lots of feelings, but I don't know if I will convey them properly. This is going to be short and disjointed. It cannot be helped.

I'll start with the fact that I didn't like this book for the mystery. It's not that I didn't enjoy it at all, but it was way too easy to solve and by 1/4 of the way through, I'd called it. I remember making a comment early on about my hunches and thinking how I'd be mighty disappointed if I ended up being right. By the end of the book, though, despite my having been right, it didn't feel like such a big deal anymore. That was due, in part, to my being completely pulled in to the larger plot and the second mystery (technically, it's chronologically the first). Mostly, it was because I fell in love with the characters.

The main characters resonated deeply with me. The more I read, the more I noticed little things happening between them. Small, meaningful gestures and quiet, complex words. I was completely enthralled with them. Their friendship/relationship/partnership was far from conventional, but very realistic. A lot of their interactions hit very close to home.

The writing started off beautifully. I found it hard not to quote everything at the beginning, but be forewarned, that will taper off. It's not that writing is bad later on, but it loses that gorgeous flow that it had in the first couple of chapters. Even so, I didn't ever get bored and, despite being really busy all week, I always had this book in mind. I tried to sneak in a few pages every chance I got.


I had no choice but to lower the rating because of the very weak mystery and villain, but I still really liked this book and really loved the characters. I picked the second book up almost immediately after finishing this one. It was even better.

Despite its shortcomings, In the Woods is one of those books that stay with you long after you think you've moved on. If you're a fan of dark reads with realistic, complex characters, definitely read this one.

( )
  JennyJen | Aug 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 324 (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 editionsconfirmed
Crossley, StevenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:58 -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

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