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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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4,741335989 (3.76)380
Member:cattwing
Title:In the Woods
Authors:Tana French
Info:Penguin Books (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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In the Woods by Tana French (2007)

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*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.

/ramble

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 |
This book grabbed me from the start and I loved it right to the end. I felt a strong connection to the main characters and I actually felt myself tearing up when there was conflict between them. What happened between Ryan and Maddox made me incredibly sad. Their friendship seemed so beautiful to me that I was devastated with how it ended. I thought Ryan was being a bit of a hardheaded jerk, really, and I didn't really get him when it came to how he treated Cassie, but the whole bittersweet ending of their partnership was heartbreaking and poignant. The scene in which he calls her in the middle of the night, right at the end, brought me as close to crying as anything in the whole story had. It made me sad, but it was beautifully written and stayed with me after I finished the story. French writes very human characters. She is also great with description, and writes beautiful scenes from an innocent Irish childhood that captivated me. I'm not Irish, but the beauty and thrill of the natural world that she described made me briefly wish I had been.

I loved the twist (which I won't give away, obviously). It was deliciously horrifying, and, looking back, I could kind of see how it lurked around the edges of the story the whole time. Well done, French. I would never want such a thing to happen to anyone in real life, of course, but, in the safety of fiction, it was great. The book is, indeed, long, but French keeps tempting you with leads and bits of information, keeping you hooked through the whole thing.

I would consider buying this book, even though I've read it already. Highly recommended to anyone who likes murder mysteries, psychological thrillers, stories set in Ireland, or anything hovering around this book's genre. ( )
  athenaharmony | Jul 29, 2014 |
In The Woods is the first novel in the Dublin Murder Squad series by author Tana French. Dublin detectives Roy Ryan and Cassie Maddox are called in to investigate when a twelve year old girl is found murdered on an archaeological site before a new motorway is built over it. The case is personal for Ryan because in the same woods twenty years earlier he was the only child to be found after three children disappeared. Keeping his past a secret from everyone except his partner he has a chance to solve not just the current case but uncover the truth about his past as well.

This was a gripping read, despite being on the longer end of the scale. It has a rather disturbing crime that focuses not just on the personal aspects but also on the political.Read the full review here ( )
  thecrimescene | Jul 29, 2014 |
A great read. ( )
  KRoan | Jul 25, 2014 |
DH and I are going to Ireland next year, so I thought I would read some fiction set there just to get a taste of the culture, writing, etc. What a novel to start with!

As a child, Dublin Detective Rob Ryan was the only witness (and surviving victim) of a crime that claimed his two best friends. Too bad he remembers only a few bits and pieces of it. Now, 20 years later, a girl has been sexually assaulted and murdered in the same remote place--are the crimes connected? It's up to Ryan and his partner Cassie to comb through the threads to uncover the truth. Along the way, we get class differences, city politics, archaeology, and psychological twists and turns.

I have to admit I didn't see the end(s) coming, although I did figure out one small piece of it. In this debut novel, French does a wonderful job of capturing both places and times, past and present, and her characters are flawed and believable. Highly recommended, but be in a good emotional place when you read it--that's all I'm going to say.

Now, on to the other books in her series! ( )
  Pat_F. | Jul 25, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 320 (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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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.
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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)

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