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In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad, Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Tana French
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,510 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $6.99
You Save: $9.01 (56%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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14th Deadly Sin
Third in the Women's Murder Club series: As violence sweeps through San Francisco, Detective Lindsay Boxer and her friends must risk their lives in the name of justice—before it's too late. Read more about authors James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Book Description

The debut novel of an astonishing voice in psychological suspense

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.

From the Hardcover edition.

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: 1728 KB
  • Print Length: 612 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (May 17, 2007)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000U913EI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,722 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
350 of 386 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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268 of 306 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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464 of 541 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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189 of 226 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Wow I was really into this book. I LOVED it. I read it non-stop all day and could not put it down. By 11 PM Sunday I was worried that I wouldn't get enough sleep before work, but I just HAD to find out what had happened to Ryan and his friends when they were 12. Then as the ending got closer and closer I started having a bad feeling. I shook it off, sure that all would be right at the end. By the time I had about 10 pages left I realized this book was not going to explain one damn thing about the central and most important mystery. I was spitting mad by the end, I had stayed up late to finish it for nothing. Did the author even know what the resolution of the mystery was herself? I got the impression that she didn't. It has hints here and there about what happened, but if you were supposed to figure it out from vague clues, the book was a dismal failure. I cannot believe that Nancy Pearl from NPR recommended it. The bomb of an ending completely erased everything I enjoyed about this book. If you like being frustrated and angry, then this might be the book for you. Otherwise there are a zillion good mystery books out there. I heard she is writing a sequel but I think she could have left happy readers with a resolution to this one, and still had them clamoring for more. Instead we are left with a broken trust.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars And there were some paragraphs that were so insightful and smart about...
I absolutely do not read murder mysteries and I tore through this one over the course of a few late nights - it was terrifying & dark. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Dara
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as fulfilling as I had hoped
I have two feelings about the book. One: its a great thriller in the sense that it kept me turning the pages wanting to know the answers and Two: I was disappointed about the... Read more
Published 2 days ago by DDTJ
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
This was the worst book I've ever read. It never got to the ending the mystery was never solved.
Published 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I love Tana French, she's very inventive and keeps you engaged. This one needs a sequel
Published 4 days ago by M F Pierce
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Reading
Couldn't put it down. Enjoyed it lot. However I wish I had read it in sequence. I read Book 2 first.
Published 4 days ago by Emily
5.0 out of 5 stars A story about lies, the truth, trust between people, damaged...
In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad #1) by Tana French is a story about lies, the truth, and trust between people. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Frost
3.0 out of 5 stars I was disappointed that there was not
I actually thought this book would move a lot faster and there would be resolution for the protagonist's childhood trauma. I was disappointed that there was not. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Julie Holt
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Too contrived; failure to carry through with story line
Published 10 days ago by ken
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing book annoying ending
Same as the last review, amazing book annoying ending. I am a huge fan of Tana French, I'm on my 3rd book by her & I can barely quit reading. Great writer!
Published 10 days ago by Kristin
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good
It kept me interested, but I wasn't a fan of the main character - he just didn't seem grounded enough, or based in reality, too lost by his own narcissistic thoughts.
Published 12 days ago by cindig
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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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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 322 posts
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
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
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
Rob & Cassie
Jedi.....I don't know what made him do it. It's more than the classic "why didn't he ever call after the wonderful date" kind of behavior. Fear of involvement. Fear of love. His explanation of his own being too tired to use the futon was lame; and all about him. I can see how and... Read More
May 13, 2009 by John H. Lewin |  See all 38 posts
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