In the Woods

By Tana French,

Book cover of In the Woods

Book description

The bestselling debut, with over a million copies sold, that launched Tana French, author of the forthcoming novel The Searcher and "the most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years" (The Washington Post).

"Required reading for anyone who appreciates tough, unflinching intelligence and ingenious plotting." -The New…

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Why read it?

6 authors picked In the Woods as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

French’s Dublin Murder Squad series introduces readers to the Dublin-based Gardai, who investigate and solve violent crimes in and around Dublin, Ireland. What I love most about this series is that each book follows a different detective within the same unit and their unique relationships with Dublin and the surrounding areas. French explores not just the crime but also the men and women who solve it. I love how these people are flawed, and they make mistakes while doing their jobs. 

In this installment, Rob Ryan returns to the site of his own childhood trauma to investigate a repeat of…

From Raemi's list on unique, moody settings.

I’ve never been to the west of Ireland at all, but like the other writers on this list, French is a master at drawing you into a story until you feel like it’s part of you.

The plot of In the Woods is complex, with two different timelines and a multiplicity of characters, but it’s the early scenes, of Adam Ryan and the disappearance of his childhood friends in the woods near their homes, that have stayed with me the most strongly over the years. The woods where Adam and his friends are both a real place and a metaphor…

Tana French takes her readers back in time to Ireland of the 1980s.

The story is told from the POV of male detective Rob Ryan who, as a child, became lost in the woods with two friends. When police arrived they found him clutching a tree trunk in horror. He was wearing blood-filled sneakers and remembered nothing of what happened. The other two children were never found.

Twenty years later, Rob and his partner Cassie Maddox are investigating the murder of a twelve-year-old girl whose body was discovered near the same forest. The area is an archeological dig permitted because…

I love Tana French’s books. She’s a master of mystery and suspense but her books are normally fairly straightforward, gather-the-clues-and-figure-out-the-secret procedurals. In the Woods has a different feel. It delves more into psychological territory and relies partially on an unsolved mystery from the past–of which one of the detectives Rob was the sole, amnesiac survivor–that affects how the mystery in the present unfolds. As the tension builds, the reader is never sure whether the past events tie into the present mystery, Rob is cracking up under the pressure of the investigation and the bits of memory that return to him,…

From Bradley's list on mystery where the quest goes sideways.

I inhaled this book. Yes, it’s a police procedural, and yes, there’s a murder. Maybe there are several, though the beauty of the novel is that this is not crystal clear. The absolute best part of this novel, and what I still remember years after reading it, is how real the characters are. Their emotions, their connections, and relationships are so vividly portrayed, that I wanted to alternately hug and scream at them. The narrator, a detective named Rob Ryan, is a walking, talking wound who somehow managed to become an adult after a devastating childhood event, and then become…

Many thrillers go down like fast food – enjoyable in the moment, but instantly forgettable. Tana French’s novels are more like rich feasts, none more so than her debut, a novel that starts out with a compelling mystery and slowly descends into the psychological hell of a particularly clever horror movie. Uncompromising in its bold choices but always tender in how it treats its wounded, fractured but all-too-human characters. There are many reasons Tana French has gained such a fervent cult following, and all of them can be found in this book.

From Gabriel's list on thought provoking thrillers.

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