Saturday, July 24, 2010

In the Woods by Tana French Review

Title: In the Woods
Author: Tana French
Genre: Mystery/Crime
Page Count: 429
Book Type: Paperback (Owned)
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9780143113492
From Goodreads: 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.

My Review: First off, the cover... love it. I adore how it is made of roots especially since the detective is sort of going back to his roots. The cover is what caught my eye in the story. I'm sorry, the cover is what draws me to a book, but I swear the synopsis is what finalizes my decision.

This is truly an amazing book all the way until the end. The chapters are quite long, but it was a nice read once I got used to all of the Irish terms and slang. This book had the potential to be one of my favorite books and then the end hit. I was severely disappointed. I have heard the companion book, which follows his partner on a new case is a lot better. I have it on my bookshelf, but I've been apprehensive about reading it since finishing this one. 

I would suggest picking this up as long as you like detective/psychological mystery books and that you are aware that the ending is, shall we say, less than satisfactory. 

Have you read this one or any of the following books? What were your thoughts?


  1. OY! I totally totally totally agree. In the Woods is masterful - French is a genius, hands down. But the ending...

    Of course, there's a purpose to the ending - if the ending hadn't happened the way it did, the companion wouldn't have been possible in the way it was. But it's still incredibly jaw-droppingly frustrating.

    By the way, the companion is also amazing, and does not have the handicap of a frustrating ending. Plus, the third!! book came out just a few weeks ago.

    In short, Tana French is awesome, and one of my new favorite authors. (Although for the life of me I can't remember how I discovered her in the first place...)

  2. Rebecca, I am so glad you agree with me! I have heard that the companion is amazing and I will get to it soon :) Did you read the third one yet? I randomly picked up In the Woods from the bookstore because it sounded so interesting. I can't wait to see how her non-related books turn out :)

  3. I haven't yet read the third one - I'm at a month-long program in Denver, so I'm kind of purchasing-handicapped at the moment, plus I am a starving ex-college student who does not yet have a job... Anyway, that all means the library is my best friend, and I'm waiting for it to come in there. (In fact, just went to place a hold and discovered 47!!! holds on it. Yeurgh.)

    I love mystery books, but I think most of them aren't that good, so I'm always thrilled to find a really good mystery writer. :)

    I think she's awesome. Anyway. That bears repeating.

  4. Don't worry I totally understand the starving ex-college student with no job thing--I'm one too! Plus, I start grad school at the end of August. The library has become my new best friend.

  5. I appreciate your review. I believe it's a pretty good assessment of the novel. Yet the ending did not ruin the read of this or the upcoming novels.

    I've read all three, and I believe each was better than the previous book. What's interesting about these books is each mystery leads to a logical and expected end, yet the building suspense and exploration of personality hold the reader throughout.

    I had read reviews of "In The Woods" prior to reading the novel, and I was aware of the disappointing conclusion. It didn't bother me at all. I read novels primarily for entertainment, and I was thoroughly entertained. We have a simple mystery following a complex mystery. The simple one is solved the complex is left unanswered. Perhaps a future novel will solve that one. The simple mystery was intertwined with complex psychological strains, and I think that's what kept me reading.


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