In The Woods

18 10 2010

These three children own the summer. They know the wood as surely as they know the microlandscapes of their own grazed knees; put them down blindfolded in any dell or clearing and they could find their way out without putting a foot wrong. This is their territory, and they rule it wild and lordly as young animals; they scramble through its trees and hide-and-seek in its hollows all the endless day long, and all night in their dreams …

These children will not be coming of age, this or any other summer. This August will not ask them to find hidden reserves of strength and courage as they confront the complexity of the adult world and come away sadder and wiser and bonded for life. This summer has other requirements for them.

Three best friends enter the woods but only one will come out. He will be found, back pressed against an oak tree, shoes filled with blood and a memory erased from shock.

Fast forward to twenty years, Rob Ryan is now working as a detective for the Dublin Murder Squad. Although living his lifelong dream, there is no escaping the woods that made his life so askew.  One fateful day he is asked together with his partner Cassie, to go back to Knocknaree; the place where it all started and a place he wished even with all the happy memories of his friends, did not appear with another dead child.

In The Woods is a riveting novel that matches psychological drama in one sweep. First and foremost a mystery thriller, it dives deep into the mind of a psychopath and the very many schemes it can create to deliver its horrendous plans. The ordinary lives of every character paces through extraordinary creepy plots that both tightens and shatters relationships. What is most notable about Tana French is that she was able to capture the tout narrative and fine tooth-comb pursuit this genre commands.

The ending may not have been what we hoped and it may have come too lengthy but still the complexity is richly analyzed. Most would beg for a happy ending, something morose lives deserve, but French was able to capture its depth and true to its element it delivered raw and unrelenting.

In The Woods is so captivating, its sense of lose becomes the readers great find.

Notes:

This is Tana French’s first novel

Winner of the 2008 Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an America Author

ISBN 978-0670038602

Published by Viking Adult

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