In the Woods by Tana French

In the Woods by Tana French
Genres: Crime, Mystery
Published: 17th May, 2007
Goodreads
Series: Dublin Murder Squad #1
Rating: 4

A gorgeously written novel that marks the debut of an astonishing new 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. He is 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 12-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.


This one took me almost a bloody week to finish! Not because it’s bad, quite the opposite. It’s a beautifully written, melancholic story, disguised as a murder mystery. There’s a murder, there are detectives and investigation, but there’s also an unsolved mystery from the past, involving Rob, one of the main characters.

After having quite a few bad experiences with books where I couldn’t care less about any of the characters, this was so refreshing! Both detectives, Cassie and Rob were like real people I would actually want to get to know. Mostly Cassie, but still…

Cassie Madoxx is the only woman in the current murder squad, and if that’s not enough, she’s younger than most of the guys. So obviously she’s the target of all sorts of speculations, how she got there, and who did she sleep with. I loved how straight to point she was, and her determination is admirable. Throughout the story she was the voice of reason in the deepening confusion Rob was going through.

Contrary to appearances, Cassie is not a particularly social person, any more than I am; she is vivacious and quick with banter and can talk to anyone, but given the choice she preferred my company to that of a big group.

Rob Ryan is the somewhat unrealistic narrator. His your typical good looking guy (and he knows it), with a proper accent and great style.

I have a perfect BBC accent, picked up at boarding-school as protective camouflage, and all that colonisation takes a while to wear off: even though the Irish will cheer for absolutely any team playing against England, and I know a number of pubs where I couldn’t order a drink without risking a glass to the back of the head, they still assume that anyone with a stiff upper lip is more intelligent, better educated and generally more likely to be right.

As the story goes on, he becomes more and more insufferable and kind of an asshole. You know the guys who are super cool, but then when you get real close they just up and disappear and it’s your fault? Yeah, those guys… Every now and then I just wanted to reach into the book and shake him, while being utterly conflicted for feeling sorry him as well.

There is a side of me that is most intensely attracted to women who annoy me.

Investigating a child murder is obviously not a walk in the park, but the detective duo come out worse than I could have imagined. Besides the investigation, this book tells the story of the sort of friendship between Rob and Cassie that most people would envy.

Even though the wrap up left me hanging (the original mystery never got solved, WTF??, *gasp*), it made me crave more of Tana French’s books. Took a sneak peak at the second one and can’t wait to see what Cassie is up to next.

Also, where the fuck was I in the last 10 years? I mean… I’ve clearly been living under some rock…

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