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Review of In the Woods by Tana French

Posted on | March 6, 2008 | 2 Comments

My mother in law lent me this book a few weeks ago and it was a good read up to a point. My main gripe is its very disappointing ending which then tarred the whole novel as I wondered “why the hell did I bother reading that?”

Its set in a fictional suberb of Dublin and so the setting and time is very familiar. It starts with the discovery of a body of a young girl on an archeological dig site which is in the process of being hurriedly finished up to make way for a new motorway.

The lead character Detective Rob Ryan is originally from the area but had left as a 12 year old, after his 2 friends went missing whilst playing with him in the local woods. He was found scratched and with blood in his shoes but he had/has no recollection of what happened to his pals. Initially he is quite a sympathic character but as the narrative progresses, he becomes less so. More selfish and self absorbed, his behaviour degenerates so he becomes less understandable. His relationship with his colleague Cassie is blurred. Platonic initially, then romantically involved and then he rejects her.  Her character is rather one dimensional. 

The writing was grand and the plot did keep me gripped until nearing the end when I began to find it getting less and less plausible. The fact that the earlier mystery is just left and is therefore unresolved was annoying. Yep, I like my crime novels all sorted when I turn the last page!  I know that the author may have chosen to do this to reflect Ryan’s viewpoint but I dont really care. I felt that the original kids’ disappearance was a more interesting plot than the modern one which was solved.


Rated 3/5 on Mar 06 2008
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2 Responses to “Review of In the Woods by Tana French”

  1. Linda
    April 27th, 2008 @ 5:42 pm

    I was also left feeling let down at the end of this book. So much of the plot dealt with the 20 year old disappearance that I never thought it would not be solved. Surely the author did not intend to irritate her readers. Will the plot ever be solved? I see she has another book coming out this summer, but it is focused on Cassie. Dang.

  2. Manic Mammy
    April 27th, 2008 @ 6:08 pm

    Hey Linda,
    That’s a pity. I thought too that maybe the author was keeping the older disappearance for a second book material.
    I can’t envisage the Cassie character being interesting enough to carry a novel. Maybe I’m missing something?

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