In the Woods by Tana French

In the WoodsOkay, so Tana French‘s website says that she won the coveted Oscar-for-mysteries Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 2007, but if you check the actual Edgars site which has an ‘I’ve never see this anywhere else, but every award site should have one!’-database, that page says In the Woods won in 2008. I think that might be just about the only detail French got wrong with her debut.

Even if you’re a seasoned mystery lover – and I fully admit I’m not – let me warn you that this one is a tough one, most importantly because it has to do with children. A mind can go rampant, too, given repetitive headlines screaming about little kids’ suffering – and believe me, everyone’s a suspect here because everyone is suspect, especially when the protagonist tells you on the second page, “What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this – two things: I crave truth. And I lie.”

Rob Ryan is the only person left in the world with a story “that nobody but [he] will ever be able to tell.” At age 12, he lost his two best friends somewhere in the woods near their home. Rob – who then went by his first name Adam – was found alone, up against a tree, standing in blood-soaked shoes. He was near-catatonic, went silent for two weeks, and lost any memory of what happened.

Twenty years later, Rob is a murder detective (oh, the irony!) in Dublin, partnered with spunky, fearless Cassie Maddox, one of the few women on the squad. He reinvented himself years ago, lost is small-town Irish accent, dresses with a poshness he can’t exactly afford, and gives the impression of being anything but local: “… nobody is likely to link up Detective Rob and his English accent with little Adam Ryan from Knocknaree.” And then a 12-year-old turns up dead outside Dublin … in the same woods from which Rob emerged very much scathed. Rob and Cassie return to those woods – now an active archaeological site (oh, the irony!) – to dig through clues for young Katy Devlin’s murder … and in the process take a shattering, unavoidable run through a deeply buried past of hidden horrors.

Read with immense control by Steven Crossley, the audible version is a chilling thrill and highly recommended. Who to trust, which lies to believe, are never quite clear … and while you might figure out whodunit before book’s end, that won’t stop you from reading eagerly to the final page. Just remember, some things can never be known … especially when you’re at the mercy of a liar.

Readers: Adult

Published: 2007


Filed under ..Adult Readers, .Audio, .Fiction, Irish

9 responses to “In the Woods by Tana French

  1. Anne Sawyer

    Tana French is one of my favorite mystery writers… And this one is indeed gripping and chilling. My favorite though, and first read, was The Likeness. I highly recommend!

    • One of my BD followers recommended In the Wood to me a little while back. Along with Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown, which is NOT a mystery, as two of her favorite audible books (that post coming soon). I totally agree that Woods‘ Steven Crossley is one fabulous reader for sure! Oh so perfectly measured and controlled. I’d listen to just about anything he might read! Weird is populated by some of the most erudite characters ever — says a lot of the author, right? — and yes, it’s wonderfully read, as well, by someone I’ve never stuck in the ears before, Kirsten Potter.

      I have Likeness, Broken Harbor, and Faithful Place read to be loaded onto iPod! So will hope to get to all of them soon! Am well into long-run training season, so books are flying by, too! WHEW! Tired muchly.

      • Anne

        I’ve read “by turning pages” all but Broken Harbor which I listened to while putting a thousand plus lights on my Christmas tree (yes, odd combination, but as Deborah said, the perfect task for not missing a word). Very well read indeed. I still lean towards visible reading (pages or epages) since I don’t run nearly as much as you and all those annoying house tasks just aren’t getting done these days…

        • I must admit, I have SOOOO loved how the audible versions of books has enabled me to read even more! Just call me glutton!!!! In many ways, I know!

          Oh, and sometimes I DOOO wonder about how much of my ultra-marathoning is REALLY just an excuse to read more, hee hee ho ho!!!

  2. Deborah

    Audiobooks are a favorite format. The “spoonful of sugar” that helps the housework get done. Assign Tana French’s books to stationery tasks like ironing. You won’t want to miss a single word of her tightly written prose. The luck of the Irish includes choice readers. No more cliches in this post.

    • Oh, goodness — what timing! I was JUST literally writing about you to Anne (see above), and here you are! Serendipitous Monday morning indeed!

      And thanks for the grand recommendations, sugar-spoonfuls and all! Hee hee ho ho!

  3. Pingback: The Likeness by Tana French | BookDragon

  4. Pingback: Faithful Place by Tana French | BookDragon

  5. Pingback: Broken Harbor by Tana French | BookDragon

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