In the Woods Audio CD – 7 May 2007
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- Audio CD : 1 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1664632891
- ISBN-13 : 978-1664632899
- Publisher : Recorded Books B; Unabridged edition (7 May 2007)
- Language: : English
- Customer Reviews:
About the Author
Tana French is the award-winning author of several New York Times bestselling novels. She has won many awards for her fiction, including the Edgar, Anthony, Barry, Macavity, and IVCA Clarion awards, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Mystery/Thriller, and the Irish Book Award for Best Crime Fiction. She grew up in Ireland, Italy, the US, and Malawi, and trained as an actress at Trinity College Dublin before becoming a writer.
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In 1984, two children go missing in the woods at Knocknaree, Rob Adams, the third child and survivor, has joined the Dublin Murder Squad with a different name and no connection to his childhood. His partner, Cassie Maddox, has a flair for psychology and a deep empathy for victims. They are best friends, share everything, and there's nothing they can't solve.
They land a case; the murder of a child, found in an archeological site dug in the same Knocknaree woods that Rob lost his friends over twenty years ago. Cassie, who knows his past, has qualms about Rob taking the case, but agrees to see him through it. As Rob has no memory of the day his friends disappeared, he's secretly hoping he can resolve two cases at once. The two friends throw themselves into a most disturbing crime scene.
The case takes a toll on both of them. There are the usual suspects but nobody jumps out, everybody has alibis, and there doesn't seem to be a tangible motive. Cassie and Rob enlist their young colleague Sam, and the three of them embark on a trying, thankless, and disturbing investigation.
The case begins to take a terrible toll on Rob. Can he and his survive the heart-wrenching similarities of this case with his own, and will either case ever be solved?
I'm French's latest fan. I want to say “French has done it again”, but this was, in fact, French's first novel, and I started with her most recent, The Secret Place. What has impressed me most about In The Woods is the fact that it IS her first novel, and she wrote it young, and it's such a beautiful, complex, and well written story. It's written entirely in the first person, from the point of view of Rob, and this perspective is very deliberate because we can only see what Rob sees, and his character admits to having blind spots in several instances. Rob occasionally speaks directly to the reader, he's a conscious narrator, which increases the reader's commitment to the storyline. He's a great observer of human nature and honest about his own flaws, but as a protagonist who's purposefully narrating to an audience there's a sense that he may well be leaving pieces of the story out which adds to the mysterious feel of the story.
French has a real flair for creating complex characters. Each of the children she writes are so real; complex, innocent and cruel at the same time, and certainly never stereotypes. Cassie and Sam are also gloriously characterised through the eyes of Rob, is feelings towards them enhancing their complex humanity. Rob himself was one of the least likeable characters, which was a deliberate and interesting plot device. The storyline itself was good, solid, mysterious, and a little beyond standard crime fiction because it was way better written and also involved such great character studies and observations.
Furthermore, I particularly enjoy French's attachment to Ireland. Her sense of place is impeccable, compelling, and altogether glorious. The reader is transplanted into a world French is clearly connected to, and contributes to a great reading experience. Once again, I found myself putting off everything I had to do and devouring this book in just under forty-eight hours.
Just a note, there are a LOT of terrible reviews on Amazon of this book, particularly pertaining to the end. I thought the ending was fitting and realistic, and all those whingers on Amazon need to stick to boring old American police procedurals and Law and Order SVU.
Who is this book for?
Read it on holiday. DON'T read it if you have important other stuff to do, because you WON'T DO THE OTHER STUFF. It's un-put-downable. Read it if you like your Crime unique and less pulpy and American than the standard airport fare offered.
If you like this book, you would also like...
Hey guess what? Tana French has written other stuff! So don't just sit there, get it on your kindle!
Top reviews from other countries
I loved the interaction between Rob and Cassie; they were very much like brother and sister, always teasing one another while simultaneously being there when the other needed them. I was greatly saddened by the end of the novel regarding their relationship but I won't say anything more for risk of spoiling it.
I loved the twisted villainy of the culprit and I think this book highlights how not every criminal case ends how the police want it to end. Although I have read other detective novels, they have a 'happy' ending and I think it is really good and interesting to show the flip side of that coin.
Overall, a gripping read and I will be reading the next book in this series. I would recommend In the Woods to those who enjoy detective thrillers.
Absorbing and finally very,very sad. It is a lonely world....but Cassie did deserve better and glad she found happiness.
I've read some of the critical reviews on Amazon and want to redress the balance here - this book deserves to be way ahead of the average 3.5 * rating it's weighing in at. It is beautifully written. The emotional depth of the central characters is extremely well handled. The narrative voice of Detective Ryan as the modern day case brings him to breaking point confronting his past is brilliantly handled. This could be so hackneyed but it isn't. French's background as an actress is telling here - she really gets inside the soul of a character, the complexity and subtext of their behaviour. Most skilled of all - she manages to convey what Ryan truly feels, through first person narrative, without him even being aware of it. So we see he is deeply in love with Cassie but doesn't know it, is utterly blinded by Rosalind's deviance but refuses to even contemplate it, too locked in his own personal belief that any tiny boned Knocknaree girl must be as vulnerable as his first lost love. The pace and tension are strong throughout. I was incredibly impressed by how well french managed to keep up the pace of a thriller whilst never losing her gorgeous poetic edge and deeply insightful characterisation.
My only misgiving was the very occasional and rather annoying dip into second person. Who is Ryan talking to? us? If so, sorry mate, I think a lot of us guessed who the killer was way back when his eyes were blinded by preconceptions, so to assume we too had been equally hoodwinked was just annoying. It didn't matter that we worked it out before he did. He suggests he was never that great a detective anyway, and there are so many howlers in the investigation. Any real investigation of child murder where the victim has clearly been moved from a local site to the place she's found would scour the nearby huts of the archaeological dig for weapons, wrappings etc. These overt blunders were clumsy but backed up by Ryan's own disintegration, and Cassie's weakness for him: two people who's real passion was not at all for the job in hand. This isn't a straightforward whodunnit.
This was French's first novel and a few new writer-ish tells come up - she is at massive pains to point out how unhackneyed her characters are how not like central casting (she refers to cliched detectives several times). Ah but they are central casting: the haunted, flawed detective who falls for the femme fatale; his wild and strong but tender sidekick with her tumbling curls. The thing is, when the writing is this good, this warm and intelligent, who cares? I can't wait to read the rest of her work. I adore crime fiction but so few novels stay in the mind after the crime is revealed. This will. It is so vivid, so moving, the people are so real.