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In the Woods [Kindle Edition]

Tana French
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,001 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $8.62
You Save: $7.38 (46%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

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. And look for French's new mystery, Broken Harbor, for more of the Dublin Murder Squad.

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Editorial Reviews

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. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Rob Ryan and his partner, Cassie Maddox, land the first big murder case of their police careers: a 12-year-old girl has been murdered in the woods adjacent to a Dublin suburb. Twenty years before, two children disappeared in the same woods, and Ryan was found clinging to a tree trunk, his sneakers filled with blood, unable to tell police anything about what happened to his friends. Ryan, although scarred by his experience, employs all his skills in the search for the killer and in hopes that the investigation will also reveal what happened to his childhood friends. In the Woods is a superior novel about cops, murder, memory, relationships, and modern Ireland. The characters of Ryan and Maddox, as well as a handful of others, are vividly developed in this intelligent and beautifully written first novel, and author French relentlessly builds the psychological pressure on Ryan as the investigation lurches onward under the glare of the tabloid media. Equally striking is the picture of contemporary Ireland, booming economically and fixated on the shabbiest aspects of American popular culture. An outstanding debut and a series to watch for procedural fans. Thomas Gaughan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 679 KB
  • Print Length: 612 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0340924764
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (May 17, 2007)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000U913EI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,336 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
291 of 318 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Novel with an Annoying Ending August 12, 2007
This novel takes a bit to get going, but once it does you're sucked into a really great mystery novel. The character are flawed but still very real and you find yourself caring about what's happening to them, asking yourself why they are making decisions that are obviously bad, and annoyed when you don't get the ending you've been waiting for since page one. Even better, Tana French immerses us into modern Ireland; a country that continues to ride the Celtic Tiger economy while dealing with all that implies. There are two issues I have with the novel. First, the author basically gives us two plots and gives equal time to both; however, only one of those plots ever reaches any sort of conclusion and the one we most want to see solved is left open ended. Second, while the other plot is resolved it's resolved in way that was very annoying and a major letdown. Maybe the author thought she was being different but ending the novel this way, but it didn't work. No, I don't think every novel has to conclude with everything nicely tidied up, but when I turned the last page I was just left with a feeling of disappointment. Still, it's great novel, especially for an author's first published work.
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207 of 235 people found the following review helpful
After reading numerous reviews, I am compelled to counter a lot of the remarks by frustrated reader reviewers expecting more of a resolve than is served up in the story.

This is the kind of mystery that feels organic. Language, imagery, poetry, sensuality, metaphor, emotional density, visceral fear--that is how the story is revealed. This isn't exposition and a lot of declarative sentences. It is not formula. It performs a vivisection on genre. As much as it is a mystery of the present murder of a young girl and an unsolved past mystery of the main protagonist's boyhood (he is now a detective who as a young boy survived a violent attack on himself and two friends, who were never found), it is much, much more. It is about the enigmatic quality of relationships, the complicated enmeshments glued by dysfunction, the underbelly of fear that keeps people from leading full lives, and the question of survival in a life of elliptical events.

Detectives Cassie and Adam were characters that haunted me around the clock, even when I was not reading the book. The characterizations were meticulous. The inner dialogue was fresh with deep, psychological insights, and the minor characters were not drawn for convenience or contrivance, either. Not one character seemed cardboard. The book was unputdownable; the story was a generous mix of harrowing and romantic and wry and witty and dramatic and tragic. These qualities make it stand apart from your prosaic thrillers that flood the marketplace.

This is not Stephen King. It is way too literary, layered, full of allusion, and linguistically lush. The author makes it both accessible to the reader while also challenging the senses. She has a grasp of comic timing and dramatic irony. She loves her characters.
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405 of 474 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Uneven and disappointing May 29, 2008
I'm usually pretty bad at figuring out whodunnits, but honestly I solved the Katy Devlin murder at around the halfway point -- it was just too obvious. That was a major failure of the book made worse when Ryan addresses the reader at the end and suggests that we have been just as befuddled as he was. French perplexingly seems to suggest that she's pulled a "Murder of Roger Ackroyd" on us with a narrator who tells us in the very first pages that he lies. But in fact he hasn't lied, not even by omission; he's just been phenomenally stupid.

The second major failure of the book was in the way French crafts characters and relationships. The cutesy-poo banter between Cassie and Rob might be fun for a 16-year-old to read, but I found it boring, annoying, excessive and hugely unrealistic. Every single time they interact, there has to be an exchange that I guess the reader is supposed to find clever and sexy, but in fact, the playfulness of their relationship struck me as a kind of clicheed teenage romantic fantasy: the guy and girl are best friends (though not lovers -- yet) and everyone believes they're in love but they are the last to realize it themselves; then when they finally do sleep together, it changes everything...oh please, Ms. French; save that for your YA book.

Moreover, French seems to like the character of Cassie so much that she makes her just about perfect. Cassie is always right, and she does almost all of the detective work on the case. Rob does end up making a key breakthrough, but does so in a way that seems like a fluke on his part, plus that's his sole contribution; everything else is done by Cassie, who is also apparently the only person on the force who knows the definition of a psychopath and understands profiling.
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76 of 89 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed August 4, 2007
I could not put this book down. I think Ms. French's' writing style, the story and setting were terrific. There was such a great chance to link these two mysteries together in the end. I woke early on a Saturday morning to finish it and promptly threw it across the room! I was so let down by the ending. What happened Tanya? I do not think I would put myself through another novel by her to be let down once again.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Insults the reader
I began this book with satisfaction. Well-written. A dual mystery that promised to intersect and reveal the way in which the past influences the present. Read more
Published 2 hours ago by Jan Oxenberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Trauma Revisited
Tana French is currently my favorite mystery writer, in large part because she writes an extravagant, adjective-rich whirlpool of prose in complete defiance of contemporary... Read more
Published 6 hours ago by Susan B. Iwanisziw
3.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to like this so much more than I did
Tana French is a great writer. In fact, I loved the writing. There were brilliant lines of text. Unfortunately, it was within some of those pieces of literary artwork that I was... Read more
Published 23 hours ago by Elisha Hawk
3.0 out of 5 stars I hate not knowing!
After 500 pages I want to know everything. Everything! Yes we find out who killed Katy, not that they get what the deserve, but what you really want to know is who killed those... Read more
Published 1 day ago by eve
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down
Well-written and riveting from beginning to end. Tana French creates a credible and unnerving portrait of an ambivalent detective investigating a murder that he really should... Read more
Published 5 days ago by Butter
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous!
This might be the best book I've read, especially considering that this is Ms. French's first novel! I stayed up all night reading it! Can't wait for her next one!
Published 7 days ago by Sylvia
4.0 out of 5 stars Tana French was a great surprise!
I am an avid reader, in other words, I am pretty picky about what I read. Tana French was a great surprise! I am a fan and will read her other books now. Read more
Published 16 days ago by maggie scrogham
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good.
The writing style in this novel jumps around a little bit. It seems to waiver between straight-forwardness and attempting to be more high brow. Read more
Published 18 days ago by katelin knowles
4.0 out of 5 stars Melodramatic but engaging
It's melodramatic, sure, but it's fun to read. A good mystery keeps you turning the pages, even if the writing quality doesn't wow you.
Published 20 days ago by Samantha Robinson
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Tana French's writing style is just a little precious. She writes like James Michener, much too much irrelevant detail for a mystery book. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Susan
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More About the Author

Tana French grew up in Ireland, the US, Italy and Malawi. She trained as an actress at Trinity College Dublin and has worked in theatre, film and voiceover. She is the author of In the Woods (2007), The Likeness (2008) and Faithful Place (2010). Her books have won Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, Barry and ICVA Clarion awards and have been finalists for LA Times and Strand Magazine awards. She lives in Dublin with her husband and daughter.

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Topic From this Discussion
what really happened in 1984
Cassie/Rob/Sam were the adult incarnation of Jamie/Adam/Peter. Although he'd had friends, Cassie was to him like Jamie, a platonic throw-back to a childhood friend. He idolized her as he idolized his lost friends. Although Adam did good by Willy Little, he ascribed it to Peter. Although Adam... Read more
Jun 5, 2009 by Jedibarrister |  See all 21 posts
In The Woods
I just finished it as well and I was disappointed with the end until I started discussing it with friends.
We had an aHA moment!
Remember the noise in the woods after Ryan saw them raping Sandra? It seemed very important.
Keep that in mind as you remember that one night when Ryan was having... Read more
Oct 3, 2008 by B. Nelson |  See all 305 posts
Supernatural Elements
I agree Jedi, but I'm still unsure of Adam's innocence in the disappearance of his friends. I'm not saying that he definitely did something, I'm just not ruling it out. I don't think that it's a conincidence that the new name chosen for Adam is Rob, another name for Puck...which is also... Read more
Dec 27, 2009 by Danielle L. Parish |  See all 14 posts
In the Woods
By turning it down he is also turning away from the acceptance of his surviver's guilt. Why didn't Silvanus take him as well? Why was he left and how did the blood get into his shoes? Did he get it tryiing to hold on to his friends and failed? Was he swept up with his friends and cast back as... Read more
Sep 11, 2009 by JoEllen Hamilton |  See all 5 posts
Too Many Americanisms?
RTE's "The Late Late Show" is Ireland's most popular and influencial talk show. It began in 1962 and is now in its fiftieth season.
Jan 12, 2013 by Louisa the Lemming |  See all 3 posts
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