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.

Publisher: London : Hodder, 2007.
ISBN: 9780340924761
9780143113492
9780340924747
9780340924754
9781529335514
Characteristics: 596 pages ;,18 cm.

Opinion

From Library Staff

This type of mystery involves the sleuth being a private investigator, an amateur, a nosy neighbor, or someone of the kind. It’s centralized who if figuring out the crime.


From the critics


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t
tubbyprotege88
Feb 03, 2021

This is a very weak thriller better left to the Lifetime channel. Half of the story goes nowhere and the other half is flat out cutesy. Highly overrated.

c
ChandanaSingh
Jan 24, 2021

Too wordy, lots of pages of nothing. I found myself skipping pages and didn't feel like I missed anything. The ending wasn't particularly good and there is never a good build up to the end like you'd expect in a well written, taut murder mystery.
The mystery the book starts with never goes anywhere either. Mainly disappointed that I waited over 6 weeks for the book!

d
DennisRHarris
Nov 16, 2020

I was very disappointed - too wordy, confusing at times, and the mystery presented at the beginning of the novel was never answered.

JCLBreAnnaB Oct 31, 2020

Loved the author's efficient descriptions of humanity and interactions - it really draws you in to the characters. Though some of the mystery is resolved, you are still left with some at the end, which I didn't love. Overall I enjoyed her style and as this was the first book I have read of Tana French, I am definitely intrigued to check out more of her mysteries!

t
trtistian
Sep 15, 2020

Trying to read this book with reading glasses AND a magnifying glass because the print is so small you know it's time to give up! I really, really tried to stay with reading but it just wasn't worth it. The story is boring, the characters are boring, the descriptions of everything are way to long and the ending is disappointing. I did read through some of the chapters to get the main jest of the book. I wish the author would have stayed with the prologue and not off on another story. You never get the prologue resolved and that is very disappointing.

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Cathy424
Sep 12, 2020

Saw the series first and the book added so much more to the back story of emotions. And the writing was a gift, right from the start - smart, lyrical, hero cops with tragic stories that make them better at what they do but so flawed and scarred yet beautiful. I kept making time throughout the day to get another 1/2 chapter or 4 in. You wanted to read it fast so that the detective could finally catch up to where you thing it is going, even though it doesn’t all go there. Cassie’s side story going undercover is not in this novel.

ArapahoeTiegan Sep 02, 2020

Well.. I saw that ending coming. I didn't particularly like Detective Ryan or his way of telling the story. But I'll continue on the read book 2 and see if maybe I can enjoy some of this series.

b
BARosen1112
Aug 24, 2020

Tana French's first Dublin Murder Squad book is a real winner. The lead detective and narrator is the lone survivor of 3 children who went into the wooded area near their home and the other 2 never returned. He has no memory of what happened that day. About 20 years later, another 12 year old girl is found murdered near where his friends disappeared. Are the two cases - the first was never solved - related? Tana French gives us a beautifully written procedural that examines the nature of friendship, love and burrows deep inside the main characters' heads, including lead Detective Rob Ryan, his partner Cassie Maddox and their recently added third wheel, Sam. This is my first time reading a Tana French novel, but there will be others. Highly recommended!

r
RueK
Jul 19, 2020

I found the relationship with the main character and his partner to be too nauseatingly cute-sy. The mysteries had good premise, but didn't carry well and it seems the author may have given herself too many directions to go in without giving satisfactory conclusion. The real strength was in the stylish writing, very descriptive and flowery, so if you like lots of poetic description it's nice in that department. Though the pretty writing doesn't really save this book and I have to agree with other reviews, it does drag longer than it needs.

j
josieschneiderSI
Apr 16, 2020

In general, I'm not a fan of police procedurals, but when I had to choose a mystery novel for an assignment, my professor suggested In the Woods and I'm so glad she did. The premise is compelling from the start (a detective with only vague memories from a past childhood trauma must solve a similar modern-day murder case ), but it was really the atmospheric descriptions of Dublin and complex, empathetic characters that drew me in and kept me reading.

This isn't a fast-paced novel (prepare for lots of moody introspection from the main character and the occasional distracting side plot), but it's beautifully written and left me wanting more. I quickly moved on to the next book in Dublin Murder Squad series after finishing In the Woods, and I'd highly recommend it to fans of literary fiction looking for an entry into the mystery genre.

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Age Suitability

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crystalpatterson
May 15, 2019

crystalpatterson thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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gobula
Apr 05, 2017

gobula thinks this title is suitable for 2 years and under

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BWilsoned
Jul 27, 2016

BWilsoned thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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Kristen MERKE
Jul 02, 2013

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

Summary

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m
margaret_henderson
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.

g
gypsy101
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.

Notices

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c
crystalpatterson
May 15, 2019

Other: mention of child rape

Quotes

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beckylunatic
Aug 14, 2010

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

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