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In the Woods by Tana French
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In the Woods (original 2007; edition 2008)

by Tana French

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6,073426683 (3.78)526
Member:dallenbaugh
Title:In the Woods
Authors:Tana French
Info:Penguin Books (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:Read but unowned, Prize Winners, 2012 Books Read
Rating:***
Tags:None

Work details

In the Woods by Tana French (2007)

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» See also 526 mentions

English (410)  Spanish (5)  German (4)  Dutch (3)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  All (424)
Showing 1-5 of 410 (next | show all)
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 |
Pretty good as far as these procedural, who done its go, but I admit I was a little disappointed. I heard that Tana French's stories were something special. Told through 1st person of one of the detectives the stories are distinguished from others in giving you insight into the policeman's views and relationships, I'll read the second in the series before passing final judgement. ( )
  ghefferon | Feb 5, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 410 (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
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Epigraph
"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
Dedication
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.
Quotations
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.)
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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 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

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