In the Woods
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From Publishers Weekly
Irish author French expertly walks the line between police procedural and psychological thriller in her debut. When Katy Devlin, a 12-year-old girl from Knocknaree, a Dublin suburb, is found murdered at a local archeological dig, Det. Rob Ryan and his partner, Cassie Maddox, must probe deep into the victim's troubled family history. There are chilling similarities between the Devlin murder and the disappearance 20 years before of two children from the same neighborhood who were Ryan's best friends. Only Maddox knows Ryan was involved in the 1984 case. The plot climaxes with a taut interrogation by Maddox of a potential suspect, and the reader is floored by the eventual identity and motives of the killer. A distracting political subplot involves a pending motorway in Knocknaree, but Ryan and Maddox are empathetic and flawed heroes, whose partnership and friendship elevate the narrative beyond a gory tale of murdered children and repressed childhood trauma. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
*Starred Review* Rob Ryan and his partner, Cassie Maddox, land the first big murder case of their police careers: a 12-year-old girl has been murdered in the woods adjacent to a Dublin suburb. Twenty years before, two children disappeared in the same woods, and Ryan was found clinging to a tree trunk, his sneakers filled with blood, unable to tell police anything about what happened to his friends. Ryan, although scarred by his experience, employs all his skills in the search for the killer and in hopes that the investigation will also reveal what happened to his childhood friends. In the Woods is a superior novel about cops, murder, memory, relationships, and modern Ireland. The characters of Ryan and Maddox, as well as a handful of others, are vividly developed in this intelligent and beautifully written first novel, and author French relentlessly builds the psychological pressure on Ryan as the investigation lurches onward under the glare of the tabloid media. Equally striking is the picture of contemporary Ireland, booming economically and fixated on the shabbiest aspects of American popular culture. An outstanding debut and a series to watch for procedural fans. Thomas Gaughan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
"What I warn you to remember is that I am a detective. Our relationship with truth is fundamental, but cracked, refracting confusingly . . . ."
In the Woods is the story of two crimes which occur in the same Irish location twenty years apart. The crimes are linked by the narrator, Rob Ryan, who survived the first crime with a case of amnesia. In 1984, three friends aged 12 headed into the woods, and only one was found . . . in near-catatonic condition with blood-filled shoes, scraped knees, slashes across the back of his shirt, and clutching a tree's trunk with bloodied fingernails. The survivor was called Adam Ryan, and his family soon moved away . . . and sent him off to boarding school in England. While there, he learned to speak with an upper-class English accent and started to call himself Rob. His passion? To become a Murder detective.
The new case becomes his assignment because Ryan and his partner, Cassie Maddox, happened to be playing Worms when the body of a 12-year-old girl, Katharine Devlin, was found on a pagan altar stone at an archeological site in Knocknaree where a motorway is about to be built. Ryan decides not to tell his supervisor that he had been a victim at the same age. Later, when potential connections between the cases appear, Ryan and Maddox agree to keep Ryan's secret.Read more ›
Prose aside, it's a fantastic plot with a good deal of psychological angst and insight, and once you're involved you'll not want to put it down. Plus, you'll be kept guessing which is rare indeed.
The story is woven with great intricacy and skill and if you're like me, you'll just love Cassie with her edgy, Irish humor. I can't say enough about this book - it's a must read, folks!
One day in Knocknaree (near Dublin), twelve year old Adam Ryan and his close friends Peter and Jamie were playing in the woods when an unexplained event happened, his friends disappeared without a trace to never be found. Adam was discovered pressed against a tree, his shoes filled with blood and no recollection of what had transpired.
Twenty years later, Adam now "Rob" a detective in the Dublin police force is drawn back into the mystery when the body of a little girl is found at the site of the old tragedy. With the help of his partner "Cassie", Rob hopes not only to solve the present case but also the twenty year old mystery of the woods.
I enjoyed this novel even with all its predictability, redundancy and its slow moving plot. It is a long book; the author had a tendency to be a little long-winded. A lot of time was spent identifying the relationship between Cassie and Rob and left us with the old cliché of male/female partnership. The characters are multi-dimensional and dynamic some may love Rob and some may not, Cassie on the other hand is a spunky, smart, witty and likable character. The character driven plot wavers between domestic issues and political issues; it never really finds its footing and ends on a very disappointing note. Nevertheless I found the book to be a page turner and I am looking forward to reading French's next novel.
Most recent customer reviews
I enjoyed the book very much, however I gave it a three star as the book went on and on and I felt it could have ended sooner. But other than that a good read. Read morePublished 4 months ago by James
terrible novel. poorly written, it has the slow pace of a 600 page supsense novel and the level of descri^ption of a 1000 page fantasy novel. Read morePublished 6 months ago by elliot wilson
I was looking forward to reading this and thought I had maybe hit on a brand new crime author. Some really great prose and an essentially good two thirds of plot, characterization... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Editit!
Wow, I feel like that was a colossal waste of time. My main complaint until the very end was that it was just waaaaaay too long, but that changed in the last chapter. Read morePublished 9 months ago by roxyrolla
Tana French is an amazing author and this captivating read kept me all the way through the book!Published 10 months ago by Lauren
I have found Tana French and I am enjoying her writing and hers plots.Published 13 months ago by Jane Moriarty
I really wanted to like this book -- the premise sounded great -- the idea of two murders somehow connected but years apart. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Coreena McBurnie