In the Woods: Book summary and reviews of In the Woods by Tana French

In the Woods

By Tana French

In the Woods
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  • Published in USA  May 2007,
    429 pages.

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Book Summary

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.

Richly atmospheric, stunning in its complexity, and utterly convincing and surprising to the end, In the Woods is sure to enthrall fans of Mystic River and The Lovely Bones.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[E]mpathetic and flawed heroes...elevate the narrative beyond a gory tale of murdered children and repressed childhood trauma." - Publishers Weekly.

"When not lengthily bogged down in angst, a readable, non-formulaic police procedural with a twist. It's ultimately the confession of a damaged man." - Kirkus Reviews.

"Starred Review. Intelligent and beautifully written… An outstanding debut." - Booklist.

"… [French] sets a vivid scene for her complex characters, who seem entirely capable of doing the unexpected. Drawn by the grim nature of her plot and the lyrical ferocity of her writing, even smart people who should know better will be able to lose themselves in these dark woods." - The New York Times.

"The book’s plot and pacing are rock-solid, but its tender characterizations – particularly the deepening relationship between Ryan and his brainy, tough female partner – are what set it apart. Strong stuff." - Seattle Times.

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Kim
Don't read this alone at night!
This is so much more than just a spooky murder mystery--although it is definitely that! It has nicely developed characters, a love story begging to happen, and a psychological edge that are seamlessly merged into a wonderful page-turner of a book. The investigation of a recent murder in the woods behind a suburban Dublin neighborhood is linked to an older murder, and one of the police detectives has a special link to the old case. As the details become more harrowing, the reader wonders if he can continue his work--until his partner takes a daring but shrewd chance. My only complaint is that some ends are left dangling and unanswered, but then, that is the reality of life. Recommended!

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Hayden Brooke
The End
This book was a great book, everything a book should have,but the ending I HATED. There was no answer to the mystery of Jamie and Peter. This book leaves you wondering what happened to them. I did like how Cassie ended up with Sam, I guess it was for the best. I believe if you read this book you will have disappointment and confusion in the end. I LOVED this though. This book is thrilling and keeps you on the edge of your seat, its a slow read for me at least because of the diction and if you miss a little part you won't understand, but Loved this book. 4 out of 5 stars for me.

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Author Information

Tana French Author Biography

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.

Her novels include In The Woods, which won the 2007 Edgar Award for Best First Novel; The Likeneness (2008), Faithful Place (2010), and Broken Harbor (2012).

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