Last year I picked up a Tana French novel and started reading. Then I realized that it was the second in the Dublin Murder Squad series so I put it on hold until I read this one. (Read a series out of order? I don’t think so.)
In the Woods introduces us to Rob Ryan (aka Adam) who went missing along with two friends when they were younger. Rob was found with blood in his shoes and no memory of what happened. His friends were never found. As an adult, he becomes a police officer and eventually a detective with the Dublin Murder Squad. His partner is Cassie Maddox who has her own history. When they are assigned to investigate the murder of a 12-year-old girl in Rob’s hometown, things will never be the same.
Overall, this is one of the best mystery/thrillers I’ve read in the last several years. Tana French created a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat and always asking more questions. I love it when authors don’t give us all the answers and leave something to the imagination.
Rob is a complicated guy. He’s obviously scarred by what happened in his childhood and it affects everything in his life. We pull for him but know that things aren’t quite right. Although well written, his character frustrated the heck out of me. Female readers especially will have a hard time with some of his actions. I think my status update at one point was: “Men can be idiots sometimes.” I should have added “…when it comes to women.”
Cassie is much more relatable to me. She has secrets and struggles but is a straight-forward character. You can relax when she’s on the page.
The supporting cast is strong. French uses words to draw a detailed picture of this small Irish town and its’ people. Good, bad and ugly.
It’s not perfect. The story drags in a couple of spots and there are a few “that was too easy” moments. But, for a first novel, this is full of win. 4/5 stars and highly recommended.