Synopsis: (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.
About the Author: Tana French grew up in Ireland, Italy, the US and Malawi, and has lived in Dublin since 1990. She trained as a professional actress at Trinity College, Dublin, and has worked in theatre, film and voiceover.
My Review: In The Woods is Tana French’s debut novel. French won the 2008 Edgar Award for the best first novel with In The Woods. Ok, ok…true confessions here. This book is very suspenseful and I just could not take it, so I read the ending. Don’t do this! Even though I knew part of the mystery, the book was still a very good read.
In the Woods was a monthly selection for my book group. The group’s discussion was very good. I was very surprised by the different theories the members had about the ending of the book and what really happened. The characters were very well developed. We all really liked Cassie Maddox and Sam. Ryan received mixed reviews. Everyone agreed that Tana French did an amazing job in describing the setting. The village of Knocknaree, a suburb of Dublin, has a life of it’s own. A few of us were even a bit frightened by the woods. If you like a nice ending all wrapped up, you may be disappointed in the ending. We all were a bit frustrated by the ending, but are looking forward to reading the next book. This is not a quick read. The complexity of French’s descriptions/voice has the reader reading closely as to not miss anything.
My Rating: 4/5 – would recommend – had me staying up late reading a couple of nights. I am looking forward to reading the next book, The Likeness.
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