In the Woods

In the Woods

Book - 2007
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When he was twelve years old, Adam Ryan went playing in the woods one day with his two best friends. He never saw them again. Their bodies were never found, and Adam himself was discovered with his back pressed against an oak tree and his shoes filled with blood. He had no memory of what had happened.

Twenty years on, Rob Ryan - the child who came back - is a detective in the Dublin police force. He's changed his name. No one knows about his past. Then a little girl's body is found at the site of the old tragedy and Rob is drawn back into the mystery. Knowing that he would be thrown off the case if his past were revealed, Rob takes a fateful decision to keep quiet but hope that he might also solve the twenty-year-old mystery of the woods.

ISBN: 9780340924754
Characteristics: 596 pages ;,18 cm.


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Aug 26, 2017

Good murder mystery even if a little too long. I especially enjoyed the author's ability to describe a child's view of events and relationships, how special and magical childhood memories can be. Tana French also excels in conveying the complexities of adult relationships and the human psyche. Definitely an excellent first novel for any author. I'm looking forward to reading her other novels.

Brucea_1 Aug 18, 2017

Good ,suspenseful story. Very dark. Somewhat drawn out though.

Jun 09, 2017

This book is absolutely amazing! Simply, her writing is incredible. The storyline is unlike anything you have read. You will be haunted by the ending. I have lent this book to several people and they all rave about the book. It is not a quick read.

Apr 03, 2017

More like In the Trash, because that's where this book belongs. The protagonist is a giant, idiotic man-baby, and towards the end the author of this garbage book LITERALLY insults the reader's intelligence. Skip this brick and read something less stupid.

Mar 03, 2017

A young boy emerges from a deep forest but his two best friends do not. When the boy reaches adulthood he becomes a detective. Now he and his partner are faced with solving the brutal murder of a young woman in the same forest. The detective's name and family residence has changed. Only Cassie, his partner, knows about his past. The story mixes a police procedural with a key detective central to the case who is constantly at the border of an emotional meltdown. I found his constant hand-wringing and the deception of his superiors about this personal connection to the case quite distracting. I gradually grew to dislike the protagonist. What kept me going to finish this long story was the terrific quality of the prose. French writes well, but in the service of a poor story. If you want a tale about a detective who might be suffering from PTSD who loves returning to sit on the self pity pot, then IN THE WOODS is for you.

Aug 20, 2016

This is an epic read, 592 pages! I love Irish crime novels and this was no exception. Even though the main character frustrated me at times and the investigation seemed to grind along at times, the premise of the story was different and engaging.

Jul 27, 2016

I enjoyed the twists and turns of this story as well as the procedural and relationship aspects. I also liked that it wasn't all sappy and wrapped up too neatly at the end.

Jun 29, 2016

Not every mystery is solved. Not every ending is happy.

adasilva7 Nov 23, 2015

A compelling mystery that you won't want to put down. Tana French is a fantastic storyteller.

Oct 30, 2015

Detective Ryan has a dark secret — when he was a child, he and his friends disappeared in the woods. Ryan was the only one to emerge from the woods, and he turned up with no memory and shoes full of blood. When a possibly satanic murder of a young girl happens in the same woods many years later, he and his partner, Detective Cassie Maddox, decide that even though it’s a conflict of interest, they should be the investigators on the case.

This book had me hooked very early — what happened to Detective Ryan and his friends? Ryan’s flashbacks from the incident in the woods are harrowing. I was extremely disappointed that not everything was resolved. From vague research, it seems like it isn’t ever resolved in Tana French’s other books. What a disappointment; I’m left hanging with my questions. But I suppose it’s not all pretty and tied up with a bow at the end, much like life.

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Apr 05, 2017

gobula thinks this title is suitable for 2 years and under

Jul 27, 2016

BWilsoned thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Kristen MERKE
Jul 02, 2013

Kristen MERKE thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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Jul 25, 2017

This book wasn't quite what I was expecting--it was far more.

French writes with a taut, well-paced style. The story begins with several potential areas of tension: male and female detective partners; a detective who is hiding his true identity because of a childhood trauma; and a murder to solve that has taken place at the site of that childhood trauma. And the author pulls and works each of these strands in the a very taut rope.

Because the story is told in first-person—Detective Rob Ryan is living with the aftermath of a childhood trauma—the reader sees and hears everything he does. But we also see how his mind works. More interestingly, we watch his mind unravel. But French's writing is so tightly paced that the reader is sliding down the treacherous slope with Rob Ryan before we realize it.

Detective Ryan’s story begins as a typical detective investigation, with only a few phrases suggesting he is telling this story from a point in the future. But as the murder investigation continues, the tension between Ryan and his partner builds. This becomes more apparent in Ryan’s telling, as he begins adding more information about their relationship and the changes he begins to recognize after the case.

As the case reaches its tense conclusion, Ryan’s voice becomes a tight balance between distraught and resigned. And the reader cannot put the book down until knowing how the story turns out.

As the investigation concludes, the reader is as exhausted as the investigators. The final chapter is Ryan’s “now.” He is looking back with all the awareness of hindsight, filled with sadness, self-loathing, and resignation.

This reader was left feeling overwhelmed by the emotions in these characters as well as the self-absorption most humans go through life with. One of the most amazing “whodunits” I’ve ever read.

Feb 23, 2011

loved it, a dark mystery with characters i enjoyed reading about. A detective who was the sole surviver of a abuduction of two of his other friends, investigates a murder that took place in the same location 25 years later. Haunting and lonely- you won't like the ending.


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Aug 14, 2010

"Don't step on anything that looks like archaeology."


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