In the Woods - Dublin Murder Squad, Bk 1 Author:Tana French 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 ... more »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.« less
I wanted so much to like this book! I enjoyed the first few chapters, in which we get to know Rob Ryan, a homicide detective with a secret past. Unbeknownst to everyone except his partner Cassie Maddox, as a child Rob was the only one of three to survive an encounter with a murderer in the woods near his Dublin home. Rob is unable to remember the details of that day's events, so he struggles to hide his past and move on with his life. However, when he and Cassie are tasked with investigating the murder of a 12-year old girl in the same woods, Rob cannot help but notice the similarities and wonder if there is a connection.
Tana French is clearly a talented story teller. She is at her best when focusing on the relationship between Rob and Cassie, and her dialogue really sings. However, the story that she is telling in this book was just not interesting enough to hold my attention for 400+ pages. The ending is odd, and there were a lot of issues left unresolved.
Though this book was disappointing, French is a writer to watch. Hopefully with some careful editing her next book will live up to the potential shown in this one.
Okay, I'm going to be brutally honest here. When I picked this book up it was because '
1) EVERYONE was reading about it and 2) EVERYONE was raving about it. So did it live up to my expectations?! No way! I struggled to get into it. I am not one that really likes pretty words and explanations ... "just the facts, ma'am" for me. So I found myself skipping over more than a few paragraphs that were just (in my opinion) descriptions to lengthen the book. And the ending, don't even get me going there - there really is no ending, the main character doesn't have an "aha - that's what happened" moment like I had hoped for. This book was just okay in my opinion, and really didn't deserve all the hype that it got.
Cassandra C. reviewed In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 25
I really enjoyed the writer's style & story telling ability... but even that could not make up for the disappointment I felt with so many loose ends left untied. Without saying more & spoiling it; I finshed the last page of the book & found myself utterly annoyed with the author.
I stayed up late last night to finish this book. I was so p***sed off when I finished, I couldn't even go to sleep. I don't want to give anything away, but basically there are 2 mysteries in this book that may or may not be intertwined. One of the mysteries is fascinating; you cannot wait to find out what happens. The other mystery is not nearly as interesting and I figured it out before the detectives. Here's the kicker: the author does not provide you with a resolution to the more interesting mystery. I felt like she had written a story she didn't know how to finish! There are a couple of subplots that are left unresolved as well, and again, those were the most interesting parts of the story, so you as the reader were emotionally involved enough to want to know what happened.
One more thing that really made me mad, and this may be a *spoiler*: I do not believe for one second that Rob/Adam's parents would have sent him off to boarding school after such a traumatic incident. Their kid is the only one found alive after three kids go missing in the woods. The other two are never found. The survivor is bloody and can't recall a thing. Then the parents send him away to boarding school????!!!! NO WAY. No way, no way, no way. Miss French has the character use this frequently as an excuse for his behavior. I guess she needed that plot point so she just made it up. Too bad she didn't have enough imagination to finish what she started.
This book was a slow starter for me, picking up somewhere around page 150 and then holding my interest for the remainder of the book. It has it's good points: likable and realistic characters, some psychological thrills, interesting plot. I was glad to hear that French's next book features Cassie, whom I found to be a fascinating character. On the whole I found it to be entertaining but I feel that it needed some editing and paring down of the story. There were times when the details got in the way of the story and I found it frustrating. Also, I figured out the identity of the "bad guy/girl" way too early in the book despite the NPR review on the back of the book that stated "French's plot twists and turns will bamboozle even the most astute reader". Maybe I've read one too many Agatha Christie books but it seemed fairly obvious to me. "In the Woods" is a flawed book but it's still worth reading.