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In the Woods: A Novel Paperback – May 27, 2008
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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. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
*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 --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
Top customer reviews
The plot involves the murder of a young girl whose body is found at an archeological dig. The investigation quickly spirals into a complex web: decades before this murder, one of the investigating officers was involved in a missing persons case - two childhood friends simply disappeared from the woods in which the body was found. Added to this is a controversy around the dig: a veritable treasure-trove of archaeological information is to be found at the site, but a planed highway will cut through the site rendering it useless. Perhaps these two issues are at play in the murder?
The resolution of the crime is really only part of the story; the narrator (the investigating officer who experienced the childhood trauma), is brutally honest with his audience, telling us from the very start of the story that, "What I want you to remember is that I am a detective. Our relationship with the truth is fundamental but cracked, refracting confusingly like fragmented glass." The same could be said of witnesses and suspects.
I love a good mystery. When one is beautifully written, it is a joy. When a mystery is also complex and provides readers with all the necessary information to solve the crime in addition to these previous elements, it is a special treat. Tana French's books are indeed a treat. Highly recommended.