Book Reviews of In the Woods

In the Woods
In the Woods
Author: Tana French
ISBN-13: 9780670038602
ISBN-10: 0670038601
Publication Date: 5/17/2007
Pages: 448
Rating:
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 68

3.5 stars, based on 68 ratings
Publisher: Viking Adult
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

99 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed In the Woods on + 507 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 35
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.
reviewed In the Woods on + 107 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 26
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.
reviewed In the Woods 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.
reviewed In the Woods on + 1107 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 14
I loved this book, and read it straight through in the course of a day. French's story is intense without being gory, and just police-technical enough to be convincing, not run of the mill. But it's the main characterizations where French really shines. Maddox and Ryan are believable, imperfect people, crafted with meticulous detail and in wonderful prose, and Ryan, as narrator, tells the story with an insight and clarity that are sometimes painful. True, not all of the details were wrapped up, not all the questions answered or problems solved, but to me that only added a bitter edge of reality to the story.
reviewed In the Woods on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 12
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.
reviewed In the Woods on + 53 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
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.
reviewed In the Woods on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
This book had a load of potential, and some great characters. Unfortunately it went no where, ending the book with lots of questions unanswered, and giving us a pretty anti-climatic ending. I did however like the psychology used in this book to create a very believable psychopathic character.
reviewed In the Woods on
Helpful Score: 6
I enjoyed the twists and turns in this book and there was never a dull moment. The Irish terminology was interesting and intriguing, without overwhelming you with unknown terms.

The dual mysteries created a steady climb to a climatic ending. Although I would have loved to have both mysteries wrapped up with a bow at the end, the cliff hanger ending just makes me want to read more of her books.

I wait with great anticipation of Ms. French's next novel.
reviewed In the Woods on
Helpful Score: 5
I can not say enough good things about this book. I love suspense/thriller fiction, so I read a lot of it. This is how I would describe the quality of this book - it is the exact opposite of James Patterson...Patterson's stories are flimsy, fast, and have no substance. French's books - ALL OF THEM - are thick, trudging (which is a positive thing, as a reader, because I like to invest in a story, spend time with it), and grab you and pull you in. When this book ended I felt cheated that it was over, that I could not go home with the characters and spend more time with them...and then she wrote her next two books. I feel like finding French as an author was like finding a secret gold mine. PLEASE read her books!! You don't have to read any of them in order!
reviewed In the Woods on + 41 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I agree with the other reviews in that it was an absorbing, well written story for the 1st two thirds of the book. The end just kind of dissolved to "that's it?". I did read the first chapter of her 2nd book, "The Likeness", and that was about Cassie before and after her involvement in the murder squad. So, that might give some more information about the aftermath of "In the Woods". I just was not sure if I felt like reading the whole book to find out.
reviewed In the Woods on + 275 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
This was a very well written, engaging, suspenseful novel. The author keeps the reader guessing as she parcels out information that help you put together the whole story. It's a who-done-it with an ending I did not guess. Very enjoyable book!
reviewed In the Woods on + 1464 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
First Line: What I want you to remember is that I'm a detective.

Twelve-year-old Katy Devlin's body has been discovered on the site of an archaeological dig. Murder Squad detectives Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox get their first big case, and both are determined to solve it. Cassie Maddox is the only person who knows that in 1984, her partner was involved in another high profile case in the same location. Twenty years ago Ryan went with his friends into the woods in Knocknaree, Ireland, and Ryan was the only one who came out. Investigating a case in the same area makes Ryan want to solve his own as well, since he remembers nothing of what happened to his friends or himself.

I was immediately hooked in the prologue by French's writing:

"This summer explodes on your tongue tasting of chewed blades of long grass, your own clean sweat, Marie biscuits with butter squirting through the holes and shaken bottles of red lemonade picnicked in tree houses. It tingles on your skin with BMX wind in your face, ladybug feet up your arm; it packs every breath full of mown grass and billowing wash lines; it chimes and fountains with birdcalls, bees, leaves and football-bounces and skipping-chants.... This summer will never end."



The two separate cases drew me in, too. I wanted to know who killed Katy Devlin, and I wanted to know what happened to Ryan and his friends in the woods. Ryan and Maddox both interested me, and I settled in for a long, enjoyable read. (Do you feel a "but" coming?) But...somewhere along the two-thirds mark, it all began to fall seriously apart.

"What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this-- two things: I crave truth. And I lie."



So Ryan warns us at the beginning. Am I bothered when fictional characters lie to me? No. Living, breathing humans lie, so fictional characters should too once in a while. However (first cousin to "but"), the more I read the more I became annoyed with Ryan. Packed off to boarding school after his friends disappeared, Ryan made up stories about his friends and his life. Children do this. He was in shock, in mourning for his friends, and he didn't want to be a misfit in his new surroundings. As Ryan aged, it became a matter of stupidity and laziness over duplicity for me. After boarding school, he spent two years in a squalid bedsit, living on the dole and doing nothing but watching the sun strike the prism hanging in the window and reading books. I love reading more than most, but those two years would have driven me up a wall. Time and again, Ryan makes stupid choices that endanger not only his career but his relationships with co-workers and friends. A lack of common sense once or twice is human. Lacking common sense on a regular basis makes me want to get a handful of a character's neck and shake him a few times.

Time to get past Ryan here. The identity of Katy Devlin's killer was no mystery whatsoever to me, and the way that the solution to the disappearance of Ryan's childhood friends was never given annoyed me. I don't need all the loose ends in a book to be tied up by the time the last page is read, but the way the solution was avoided in In the Woods gave me the feeling that it was a cliffhanger plot device, wanting to ensure that everyone read the next book. Some things in life are never meant to be known, to be explained. I feel that the disappearance of Ryan's friends is one of those things and shouldn't be held in front of me like a carrot.

Although I loved French's use of language, when I think of how irritating her main character was and of the way the cold case was left dangling, I have to admit that I'm in no hurry to read the author's next book-- even though I know The Likeness focuses on Maddox and not Ryan.
reviewed In the Woods on
Helpful Score: 4
I really liked this, despite the fact that French did not resolve everything at the end. I thought it had a good pace, and that the development of the personalities of the lead detectives was really well done.
reviewed In the Woods on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Awesome book! I had no idea what to expect when I first started reading it. I must admit, that when I first started, I began to lose interest in the first couple of pages, because I had no idea what was going on. Maybe it's just me, but it took me a little while to figure out what was going on in the beginning of the book. But I was determined to read it, and I loved it. The book itself was a bit confusing, but so worth the time to read it.
reviewed In the Woods on + 85 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
One of those books you think about when you're not reading it⦠a difficult to put down, murder mystery with a bit of psychological thrill. A fun read, by a new writer from Ireland.
reviewed In the Woods on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I had read so many wonderful reviews of this book so I decided to order and see what the fuss was about. Well, it took me a long time to really get into the book. Not until about page 100 did it really hold my attention. And the ending really left more to be desired. I have the next book in the series, "The Likeness" and I am hoping it gets off to a better start. If not, I'm not sure I will opt to read the third.
reviewed In the Woods on
Helpful Score: 2
I didn't like this book at all. I would have stopped reading it, except I had to read the follow up book. The author uses language that can be confusing to non-Irish people (and I don't mean people who have Irish ancestors, you have to be from Ireland to understand some of the slang). The book was way too long and the story didn't move fast enough. There were long pages of descriptions on things the reader didn't need to know. The main character, Rob Ryan, is annoying. All I wanted to do was scream at him to man up. When he sleeps with Cassie, I wanted to kill him. He was just so stupid.
The end of the book was the only good part, I liked the twist, although I did see it coming. It wasn't important to me that Rob's part of the mystery wasn't solved, but it was slightly annoying that the story wasn't wrapped up. That was the reason I gave it more than half a star.
reviewed In the Woods on + 1464 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
First Line: What I want you to remember is that I'm a detective.

Twelve-year-old Katy Devlin's body has been discovered on the site of an archaeological dig. Murder Squad detectives Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox get their first big case, and both are determined to solve it. Cassie Maddox is the only person who knows that in 1984, her partner was involved in another high profile case in the same location. Twenty years ago Ryan went with his friends into the woods in Knocknaree, Ireland, and Ryan was the only one who came out. Investigating a case in the same area makes Ryan want to solve his own as well, since he remembers nothing of what happened to his friends or himself.

I was immediately hooked in the prologue by French's writing:

"This summer explodes on your tongue tasting of chewed blades of long grass, your own clean sweat, Marie biscuits with butter squirting through the holes and shaken bottles of red lemonade picnicked in tree houses. It tingles on your skin with BMX wind in your face, ladybug feet up your arm; it packs every breath full of mown grass and billowing wash lines; it chimes and fountains with birdcalls, bees, leaves and football-bounces and skipping-chants.... This summer will never end."



The two separate cases drew me in, too. I wanted to know who killed Katy Devlin, and I wanted to know what happened to Ryan and his friends in the woods. Ryan and Maddox both interested me, and I settled in for a long, enjoyable read. (Do you feel a "but" coming?) But...somewhere along the two-thirds mark, it all began to fall seriously apart.

"What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this-- two things: I crave truth. And I lie."



So Ryan warns us at the beginning. Am I bothered when fictional characters lie to me? No. Living, breathing humans lie, so fictional characters should too once in a while. However (first cousin to "but"), the more I read the more I became annoyed with Ryan. Packed off to boarding school after his friends disappeared, Ryan made up stories about his friends and his life. Children do this. He was in shock, in mourning for his friends, and he didn't want to be a misfit in his new surroundings. As Ryan aged, it became a matter of stupidity and laziness over duplicity for me. After boarding school, he spent two years in a squalid bedsit, living on the dole and doing nothing but watching the sun strike the prism hanging in the window and reading books. I love reading more than most, but those two years would have driven me up a wall. Time and again, Ryan makes stupid choices that endanger not only his career but his relationships with co-workers and friends. A lack of common sense once or twice is human. Lacking common sense on a regular basis makes me want to get a handful of a character's neck and shake him a few times.

Time to get past Ryan here. The identity of Katy Devlin's killer was no mystery whatsoever to me, and the way that the solution to the disappearance of Ryan's childhood friends was never given annoyed me. I don't need all the loose ends in a book to be tied up by the time the last page is read, but the way the solution was avoided in In the Woods gave me the feeling that it was a cliffhanger plot device, wanting to ensure that everyone read the next book. Some things in life are never meant to be known, to be explained. I feel that the disappearance of Ryan's friends is one of those things and shouldn't be held in front of me like a carrot.

Although I loved French's use of language, when I think of how irritating her main character was and of the way the cold case was left dangling, I have to admit that I'm in no hurry to read the author's next book-- even though I know The Likeness focuses on Maddox and not Ryan.
reviewed In the Woods on + 953 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Outstanding psychological thriller / murder mystery. French provides enough red herrings to stock the average deli in this tale of a murdered child that raises questions about a decades-old disappearance in the same area. I spotted the weapon reference the first time it was made, but for most of the time, I was as snookered as the detectives.
reviewed In the Woods on
Helpful Score: 2
Great! Not sure what people mean by "loose ends" or "not resolved". I thought the ending was a dose of reality not loose ends. But, I'm late to the party reading this book a few years after it came out. Looking forward to the next in the series.
reviewed In the Woods on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
All in all a pretty good book. It was a little bit difficult for me to get into in the beginning because of the amount of flower adjectives used to describe anything and everything. But once it got into the meat of the story it was a rather good read. I well thought out crime drama that keeps you guessing until the end. I would definitely read another book by Tana French.
reviewed In the Woods on + 48 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This book was hard to put down. Great psychological thriller! However, the author left many unresolved issues at the end. It was disappointing.
reviewed In the Woods on
Helpful Score: 2
This is not your formulaic murder mystery that is too often written by series novelists. In her debut novel, Tana French has written a literary and intelligent mystery. The book has its flaws, mainly it is about 75 pages too long, but she crafts a very interesting case with characters that you want to know. The ending was a bit disappointing and this was the one area of the book that fell into old cliches - the main protagonists rides into the sunset alone having spent and/or lost all that mattered to him during the investigation of the murder. It was a melancholy ending that could have been much more satisfying. But overall, it was a very good novel and I look forward to reading her future works.
reviewed In the Woods on + 44 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This chilling first novel was an Edgar Award Finalist. Readers will find it memorable and haunting - and critics from organizations as diverse as USA Today and NPR's Morning Edition liked it, too. I'm definitely putting the next in the series on my wish list!
reviewed In the Woods on + 181 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I read this book after The Likeness, simply because that's the order in which I was able to get them. I wish that I had read them in order, because I had an inkling of what would happen, although not enough to ruin the mystery in any way.

I didn't find the ending of In the Woods as satisfying as The Likeness, but it was still a great read. I couldn't put the book down, found the characters very believable (flaws & all) and again, loved the setting.
reviewed In the Woods on + 119 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I have mixed feelings about this book. The first half was great and sucked me in but the middle stalled out. Then it got interesting again but the end was disappointing. I really want to say I liked it but it left me feeling generally blah. Maybe I missed something but I didn't understand the drama between the two main detectives. It seemed unnecessary. I was also hoping for more closure in regard to Detective Ryan's past. I'd recommend this book for someone who just wants a murder mystery read.
reviewed In the Woods on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Really enjoyed this book - the first in the currently three-part series of the Dublin Murder Squad.

Thought the characters were very sympathetic and story was interesting.

I also enjoyed a glimpse into modern day Dublin.
reviewed In the Woods on
Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book. It kept my attention from the beginning and I could not put it down.
reviewed In the Woods on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
While I wouldnt call it a page-turn, because it was somewhat slow at times, I was drawn into this story and I needed to know how it ended.

Ms. French occasionally becomes lost in reflection -- I didnt really need to know the main characters every single thought -- it made for a really long book. And, since its written by a woman, but is being told from a mans view point, it didnt always seem realistic. Do men really think like that?! Other than that though, I found In the Woods to be a compelling, easy-to-read thriller, with lots of intriguing twists and turns.

In the Woods solves one mystery, but leaves another unresolved. I can see how this would annoy some readers. I am holding out hope that Adam (Rob) Ryans story will be explained in Tara Frenchs next book The Likeness.
reviewed In the Woods on
Helpful Score: 1
I enjoyed the book as a little bit of a diversion from the kind of books I normally read (I hope I don't sound elitist and condescending, but mysteries are not usually what I reach for). I went for this one because the New York Times review made it sound intriguing, maybe a cut above the usual stuff you find in the genre. However, I didn't find the characters very believable; they were the "stock" kind of characters I've encountered in the few mysteries I have picked in the past. The story, when it finally unravels, is a bit of a stretch as well, I thought.
reviewed In the Woods on + 105 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Too much "lyrical prose" for a detective novel. There is no reason to use $100.00 words when I 50 cent one will work. It felt to me as though she was trying to make the book longer by be overly descriptive when it didn't enhance or move the plot forward. Could not finish.
reviewed In the Woods on + 89 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Tana French wrote a superb debut novel in this one! If you love mysteries and plot twists, this one's for you! Just when I thought it was all tied up (more than once), a new twist showed up to baffle me.

The only minor criticism that I have is that at times, it seemed a bit wordy as if there should have been more careful editing, but that was a minor distraction. I loved this book!
reviewed In the Woods on
Helpful Score: 1
I did enjoy reading this book, but by the end I did feel a little unfulfilled. In my opinion there were to many loose ends that were never resolved. I did enjoy the writing style.
reviewed In the Woods on
Helpful Score: 1
Rich, detailed narrative and well developed characters.
reviewed In the Woods on + 36 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Three children go off to play in the woods. Hours later when they don't return, the parents call the police. the police find only one of the children gripping the trunk of a tree wearing blood-filled sneakers and unable to recall a single detail.

20 years later, Detective Rob Ryan is the boy who was found, although he has kept that part of his life secret even to his good friend and partner Cassie Maddox. Then as part as the Dublin Murder Squad, he and Cassie are assigned to the case of a 12 year old girl, killed in the same woods, where he was found. Knowing that if he tells his supervisor who he really is, he'll be pulled off the case and he doesn't want that. He wants to find the killer but he also wants to know what happened to him and his friends 20 years ago.

This is a great first novel and just when you think you know the ending, you'll be suprizsd.
reviewed In the Woods on + 40 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I just could not get into the author's writing style. There was a lot of beautiful imagryin the prolog, contrasting a beautiful spring day with the general picture of three young boys heading off for an adventure in the woods, with the hint at the end that they would never grow up.

Then, the story switches to an adult detective who is apparently the only child that was found when the three boys disappeared into the woods.

The problem is, there was way too much description with no action and dialog to inhance. The prolog didn't get to the lost boys for nearly two long pages, and then in just a general way.

Likewise, the adult detective spends most of the first pages of chapter one discussing, again in a general, broad way, why he became a murder squad detective, and discussing his peers. He refered to the cold case of the missing boys, indicating that he was one of them, but again, only reading their files.

I got about 8 pages before I gave up. Without action and dialog (so far, zero dialog!) directly relating to the plot, and with all that rambling thoughts and feelings, it just got to be boring to me.
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Helpful Score: 1
Excellent writing, the story is compelling. The main character is very believable.
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Helpful Score: 1
Read this book in three days, barely pausing to eat or sleep. It's a dandy mystery -- extremely well written and plotted. I often think I know where a mystery is headed and this one spun me around at least three times. It's been a week since I finished it and I am still thinking about it. Looking forward to the next book in the series but I am trying not to burn through this great experience too quickly.
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Helpful Score: 1
A very exciting and well written book.
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Helpful Score: 1
Interesting read, but it left a lot of questions about the main characters' past, which is presented as being very integral to the main plot. It turns out it's not, other than influencing the person Detective Ryan is today. Wish there was more closure there, since he doesn't seem to be in the next book of this series. However, this was still a well-written novel, and one of the better books I've read in awhile. Worth a look if you like murder mysteries!
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Helpful Score: 1
This book was very dark but a compelling read. Once I got into it, I couldn't put it down. The author is great at creating characters and you feel you are in the woods with the charaters.
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Helpful Score: 1
this wasnt a particularly easy or fast read, but i would definitely recommend it, i had a dull sense of the final outcome of the book, but nothing solid and it was still a surprising outcome, there are a few burning questions that were never answered as they werent integral to the plot, and thats a bit frustrating, but perhaps the author will discuss that in a later book, when i finished the book, i immediately gave it to a friend to read and wish listed the sequal, The Likeness
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Helpful Score: 1
I have read a lot of mixed reviews on this book, but I really enjoyed it. I found it very engaging and hard to put down. The writing was descriptive and wonderfully crafted. I understand the frustration of some readers that the first/ primary mystery wasn't solved, but that makes it more intriguing. This main character, although unlikable at times, has a history that makes me want to keep reading the next book to find out where the story goes. The fact that he was unlikable and hard to empathize with made the story more interesting. I have to wonder if Ryan is a psychopath as well....
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Helpful Score: 1
I found it hard to get into at the start. Once it got going it held my interest. I would not call it a page turner, but definately worth reading. The story is original and builds up to a good climax.
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Helpful Score: 1
I don't think this book lived up to its hype. While French is a beautiful writer, I thought her characterization of the male protagonist was not very convincing initially (seemed like a woman writing as a man).

I also think she ran out of steam at the end, left a lot of loose threads unresolved, and rushed through it bringing very little closure.

I also think that she made her progtagonist too unlikeable and focused on Cassie, who coincidentally, is the star of the next book. Hm.
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Helpful Score: 1
Good book, attention getting - a bit too long. Enjoyable.
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Helpful Score: 1
Great book - sad, but gripping. The story was well written, but the old mystery is left unsolved, which left you wanting at the end, but the main story was wrapped up pretty well and teh main suspect is twisted. A good read, but could have tied up a few loose ends.
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This was the first book I read by this author and I will read more. Very strong writing and an interesting story.
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I felt this was an excellent debut book and deserving of it's award. This author provided a wonderful set of sub texts that was important to the storyline, and yet seperate. I found the relationship between the partners believable and human. The end was not what I had anticipated so,in all, an excellent read and a writer I look forward to following up on.
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I absolutely loved this book - one of the best I've read in a very long time. Couldn't put it down!
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I did not like this book as much as I expected. I was recommended this author and may try another of hers to make sure I just didn't choose a less than stellar sample. Many times an author has a different tone for the next book. I found this one darker and more desperate than I hoped for from it's description. I thought it would be more of a solved mystery from the past kind of story, but not so.
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Our book club read this book for our selection. We had previously read book 3 in her series and didn't really care for it. We were hesitant to choose this one, but we were glad we did. We felt it was better than book 3. Good story and you really get 2 stories for your time to read. It is worth your time to read this book!
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This book was thought provoking and interesting, but the ending was not satisfying at all.
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I loved this book-an excellent read! Lisa
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I did think this was a well written story, even though I found it to be pretty depressing and I was unsatisfied with the ending. Sometimes that's the way the author wants it, I guess.
I did decide, after reading this book, that I would not likely read the next book(s) in the series, though.
I guess I like a happier ending.
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For the first hundred or so pages, I liked this book. Nice writing and character development, interesting plot. But then it just got tedious. The narrator was obnoxious, the relationship between the detectives was belabored, the ending was predictable. I stopped reading 20 pages from the end because I just couldn't take it anymore and I realized there wouldn't be any surprises.
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i love this book. i hated all the characters except for Adam Ryan and Sam and O'Kelly. it's weird how it was such a good book with characters with personalities that i hate. the wording of words were so beautiful and i could imagine myself hearing that voice or whatever.
i found this on my mum's bookshelf and i always wanted to read it and it was a gorgeous book although it got a bit slow in some areas.
the ending i think was depressing and i felt bad for Adam, but fitting for some reason.
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French writes beautifully, much more so than almost any other detective novels I have read. Her plot line is riveting and the characters are three-dimensional, real characters who engage, mystify, and keeping the reader wanting to know more.
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Very suspenseful. Kept my attention til the end.
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I thought that this book had potential but found it just didn't deliver. My main two reasons for not loving this book were: 1. I felt that the male protagonist had too many feminine qualities...I envisioned a masculine type female rather than a MAN and 2. I did not get the closure to the part of the story that kept me reading..too many loose ends. On a positive note, I found it to be a quick and easy read that did offer me escape for a short while.
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Good mystery wih excellent writing style. I thoroughly enjoy this author.
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Tana French writes a wonderfully deep mystery, where the detective's emotional life is as fascinating as the crime itself.
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I really enjoyed this book. I like a a story where I haven't figured out the ending by the third chapter and this one doesn't let you in on the secret till the end.
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During the summer of 1983, in the small village of Knocknaree, three children go missing. The three children were seen playing together, just like they had been doing for years. This day would not end like the others. Three children go into the wood, but only one of them ever comes out. Not even the bodies of the other two children are ever found. The little boy, Adam, is found in a catatonic state, and even after he recovers, never remembers what happened after they entered the woods.

Twenty years, and a name change later, the boy who survived, now named Rob, returns to Knocknaree as a Inspector for the Dublin Murder Squad. The body of a little girl has been discovered at a archaeological site in Knocknaree. Some of the people believe this new murder may be related to the 1984 murders. Others believe it has to do with the heated dispute over the new motorway that's being built through the village. Along with the pressures of a high profile case, Rob must also deal with his inner demons of the past.

I think this is a first. The book was a solid 5 Star read, but I will never read it again. The writing, characters, and plot are fabulous. However, this is a brutal book. It completely wore me out mentally and emotionally. But again, everything about the book was phenomenal. Even though I cringed through almost the entire thing, I couldn't wait to get home, press play on my laptop and find out what was going to happen next. I need a little time before I can handle another book in the series, but I'm really looking forward to it.
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Great characters and build on character development for future books in series. Loved the story and a total plot page-turner. I really began to feel for the main character and even found myself thinking about the book (and characters) when not reading it! Gripping.
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Thought this was a great book -- some of her language has you in the place, breathing the smells, warming in the sunlight or feeling the cold fear . . .

There is lack of resolution on some issues -- and the first person is so, well, human -- vulnerable and stupid and smart all at the same time. Really, more like real life, than a TV show, or your typical who done it. It doesn't all neatly wrap up at the end -- but I look forward to the next in the series -- who knows, maybe we'll learn more.
reviewed In the Woods on
This book left some characters underdeveloped and without closure. I would read more books by Tana French.
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I'm not a big fan of the mystery/thriller genre, but when my daughter sent me a copy of French's The Likeness I was hooked. Then I had to read French's earlier book In the Woods, which used some of the same characters but written from a male point of view (The Likeness had a female protagonist). In both books there were one or more unsettling mysteries never fully explained, and in In The Woods the original mystery was never solved, leaving both my daughter and me feeling shortchanged (we still loved both books even though there was really no "happily ever after," or anything approaching that).
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While this was a great premise, with an interesting writing style and some surprising plot twists, it felt very unfinished. The early murders remained unresolved which is disturbing, not to mention upsetting and the main relationship crumbles so quickly and turns with a decidedly unsavory feeling at the end. She has a sequel out and it too starts with an interesting premise, but the only reason I want to read it is to see if I can finally learn what happened to those original two children so I think I can wait a while to read it...
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I loved this book and this author's style. She doesn't use flowery language or unnecessary words and manages to get the point across just fine. I'm reading the next book, The Likeness right now.
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I really enjoyed this book. Not a lot of Irish colloquialisms, a good read. Not brutal. More of a psychological murder mystery.
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I totally crushed on the main character in this book, Robert Ryan Irish detective, Murder Division. Growing up outside Dublin, at the age of 12 Ryan and two friends disappeared from the woods. Ryan was the only one found, covered in blood and with no recollection of what he went through or what happened to his friends. His family moved away and sent him to boarding school, he changed his name and joined the police force assuming nobody need ever know about his past.

Tana French is an amazing writer, from the very first page I was floored by the beauty of her description of an Irish summer. Her dialog is so well-done I could hear it like a movie inside my head, and lots of the repartee between Ryan and his brilliant partner Cassie Maddox had me giggling out loud. I thought I'd outgrown the crime drama genre but this beautifully written story really captured my imagination and kept me interested. I would have rated it higher but I didn't like how much the ending pointed so obviously to a sequel to come. Maybe I would like another book starring Robert Ryan, but it wouldn't have Cassie or the childhood mystery in the wood, so I doubt it.
reviewed In the Woods on
Good reading. I didn't like the preview synopsis about the "blood filled shoes", but the book was engaging, and not creepy in a metaphysical sense like many Hollywood movies; rather a spellbinding story with many interesting and unexpected characters.
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I liked this book and I am excited to read more Tana French books.

The story of one of the main character's childhood tied into the present day investigation of the book, which I found intriguing. Unfortunately, I felt like there were too many unanswered questions at the end of the book.
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This book takes a little to get going with the story but then the mystery just take you with it. You start caring about what's happening to the characters and why are they making decisions that are so wrong and bad. From the beginning you are waiting for the answers you have to the questions of what happen, why and how come nobody knows anything, that does'n happen here,the author gives you a great plots and she gives time to both stories but while she resolve one of the plots is very confusing when she does'n give the answers to the other plot, I really wanted to know what happen to the other children that when missing maybe she was trying to end the story differently but she leave you with a sense of emptiness and unhappiness for the families that are still waiting for their love ones to come home. I do love the story takes place in Ireland.
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This book was only OK. If you like character development, then you'll like this. If you like page turning mysteries in which the wrap up takes your breath away....this isn't gonna do it for ya. This is some obscure award-winner, so you know it won't be very good.
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I tend to avoid literary fiction because they focus on beautiful poetic prose, vivid characterizations, an engaging plot, and an utterly depressing ending. All the strings hanging didn't bother me. That only means the author plans to add more details in future books with the same characters.Cassie Maddox may be the most fascinating female character I have ever read. Rob Ryan is brooding and self-absorbed in the tragedy that happened to him at age 12. A bit of a spoiler here but his narcissism about his past ruins not only everything that has meaning for him but other people and the case as well. That is what disgusted me with the book.I have about 20 pages left and I'm too ticked at Rob to read the full extent of how badly he screwed up. I work as a counselor so I think it reminded me too much of people I know. I read to escape not to be reminded of things that make me want to band my head against a wall. However, there is wonderful suggestive description in the background of a monster out of Irish myth and legend killing Rob's friends. There are other suggestions about what happened but I absolutely loved those dark mythic hints. Nothing is ever said directly and that is one thread left dangling that did not bother me. In fact I found it utterly compelling and that would lure me to read more about Cassie. I've had it with Rob who is in seriously need of a good therapist, 30 days in rehab and AA.French's descriptions of the psychological symptoms of PTSD such as psychic numbing and flashbacks are expertly done. She also understand psychopaths very well. Overall, Tana French is a writer to look out for. I would not be surprised if she also writes poetry.
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I really liked this! Not only is it an incredibly imaginative murder mystery, it is so beautifully written that you appreciate it on that level as well - the imagery is wonderful and the characters are so well-written that you feel like you know them. I was sorry to see it end. I will be looking for the others. This is the way characters are written!
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This is an excellent first novel - very picturesque, descriptive prose, suspensful, intriguing. I rate it highly, am anxious to read Ms. French's second novel.
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I absolutely loved this book. It was so well written and it was very easy to care about the characters.
reviewed In the Woods on + 52 more book reviews
If I could describe this book in one word, it would be "disappointing". Through most of the book, I couldn't put it down because I just had to find out the answers to the book's two mysteries. By the end, I was thoroughly annoyed with the author because one of the mysteries was not even solved and there were far too many loose ends in the story in general.

There is nothing worse than an author who seduces her reader with promises of a great story that she can't deliver.
reviewed In the Woods on + 597 more book reviews
I loved this book all the way through. It was an intense read that kept me turning pages. However, while the present day mystery is solved, the entire development of the main character and the unsolved mystery of the past are just left with no answers. Part of what kept me absorbed was that I was dying to find out what had really happened and those questions are left unanswered, so that was a huge disappointment. I will read the next one, though, and hold out the hope that those questions from the past will be answered at some point in the series.
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An excellent book, 400+ pages and read it in a weekend, it was that good.
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I loved yet hated this book. At first I had a bit of trouble getting in the swing of things with the author's prose. It was a bit verbose for me but once I got into it I was hooked. The relationship at the center of the book was wonderful. The mysteries yes mysteries were real. I could feel them, sense them, see them...then something happened. I don't know what exactly....I think she didn't know what to do so she felt it necessary to do something even though predictable.

I devoured the last half of the book only to close it disappointed. I was sad. The way it ended was devastatingly sad. I don't wish to disclose more but I wanted more. Yes, that is a sign of a good book but this more was something else.

I am hopeful for the next installment even though I am afraid it will leave me the same.
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I REALLY COULDN'T GET INTO THIS BOOK,SO I GAVE UP.
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The premise of the story was interesting, the story was pretty good. I just thought it took a bit for the story to get rolling.
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I don't read a lot of mysteries, but liked this one because of the characters and the story, which kept my interest, and not a lot of graphic descriptions.
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This book was really good easy reading.
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Great book!
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I was not impressed with this book - took a while to get into it and really never grabbed my attention.
reviewed In the Woods on
I don't normally write reviews but I was so disappointed in this book that I had to do something! I liked the premise and the story itself was engaging. However, I feel extremely cheated after having slogged through 429 pages to have NO resolution to the books initial mystery. What in the hell happened to the three little kids in the woods? Who knows. If I had known that I would not get an answer to that question, I never would've read this book.
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Great book. Not only was it a great mystery, but a great story of a friendship.
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A suspenseful mystery that takes place outside Dublin, Ireland. Characters that you like and are pulling for. Main detective was involved in a murder/disappearance many years ago as a child (who lost his memory of the event). This murder was in the same area so it brought back many memories for him and he was hoping he could remember. He did remember some. So the following mysteries in this series will probably reveal more details. Makes me want to continue reading this series.
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YUCK.... this is one of the worst books I have every attempted to read. Slow isn't the word, still maybe. You don't really care about any of the characters. If this was a best seller the author must have a lot of relatives
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Really interesting book; good read. It has a sequel but they don't necessarily 'go together. The sequel is good too.
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Little slow at the start, but picks up. Loved the main characters. Not your average "everything works out in the end" novel.
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My wife enjoyed it.
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Very boring/annoying book...Tana French writes wayyy to much nonsense and "pretty" words. The first few chapters are completely pointless to the whole storyline. I have no idea how this book won the awards it did and why it is so popular. This author is a terrible writer.
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429 pages of unfullfilled ramblings by an alcoholic detective! Teases of the complete story behind the intial missing chidren case were never resolved. I finished the book with a sense of disappointment and loss of the time I spent trying to figure out the author's intentions.