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Review – In the Woods by Tana French

In the Woods
by Tana French
429 pages
Published 2007

I’ve seen this book around but didn’t want to read any reviews ’till I’d gotten a chance to read it. I picked it up based on my friend’s recommendation…I think she said something to the effect of, It’s the best thriller I’ve ever read! And the first thing that entered my mind? MUST. HAVE. BOOK. So with an Amazon gift certificate I bought it.

The book’s about this guy, Rob Ryan (I have it when people have two first names, because then I’m all, Was their name Ryan? Or Rob? Was it Rob Ryan or Ryan Rob? ACK!), who’s two friends were murdered when he was 12. He was found with blood congealed in his shoes, clutching a tree in the woods where the kids normally played but had now gone missing. The kids were never found, so Ryan, er, I mean, Rob is now a detective and no one knows he’s THAT KID who’s friends were killed.

Rob’s partner, Cassie, is super cool, one of those can-hang-with-the-guys kind of girls, so SHE knows he’s THAT KID, because Rob and Cassie are very close, though not doing the deed. Though everyone figures it’s eventually gonna happen.

It just so happens (as it tends to do in a book like this), that a 12-year-old girl is murdered in the same woods where Rob’s little friends went missing, and Rob and Cassie are assigned the case, and while they investigate the case, they’re surreptitiously investigating whether the two cases are in any way related.

This is not your typical thriller…in fact, I think I’d label it a literary thriller as the author is a really good writer, so the book isn’t an edge-of-your-seat kind of thing, but it does move along at a good clip. It’s no John Grisham or DaVinci Code (which I liked! So phtphtphttttttt), but it’s GOOD. It’s a thriller that’s not mind candy but IS mind candy at the same time. Kind of like eating gummy bears. FAT FREE, BABY!

Want to know what Ms. French rocks at? The foreshadowing. The foreshadowing takes the place of any good chase, stalking, or violent scenes. In fact, I’ve been trying to break my habit of reading the ending of a book before I’ve finished the book, but the foreshadowing was like waving a drug in my face and saying, Just this once, come on, you can stop when you want. I COULDN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE. So I fell off the wagon and skimmed the end, and I was like SHUT UP, I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS. So I excitedly continued reading, but when I got to the end, I found out that I had come to the wrong conclusions so again I was all SHUT UP, I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS.

I finished the book with eyes wide in disbelief, aching to read the sequel, The Likeness. No doubt I’ll be reading that sooner rather than later.

Ms. French is a masterful storyteller. She’s not loud and abrasive and in-you-face. She’s very subtle and quiet…if you wanted to read this for your book club, you most certainly could. There’s a lot to talk about, with characters that are complex, multi-dimensional wonders that beg for a discussion. Some threads are left to dangle, left to tickle your imagination as you wonder what really happened.

Rating: 88 out of 100

This book was also reviewed by: Both Eyes Book Blog, Melody’s Reading Corner, fizzy thoughts, lit*chick, Jen’s Book Thoughts,

| Tags: , , , , 18 comments »

18 Responses to “Review – In the Woods by Tana French”

  1. Stephanie

    I am half way through the book and can’t get through it fast enough to find out what happens!


  2. mellymel

    thanks for linking my reviews – you da bomb diggity.
    i like your review of this one – can’t wait to see what you think about the Likeness. 🙂


  3. Jen Forbus

    Just so you know ahead of time THE LIKENESS isn’t going to continue this particular story. It actually doesn’t involve Rob Ryan…its focus is Cassie.

    I think I heard a little too much about this one before I read it, because I ended up being a bit disappointed. I liked it – it’s well written, but I guess I didn’t think it was Edgar-award caliber. Still definitely worth the read though.

    And thanks for the link, Trish! 🙂


  4. Ruth

    I have to admit, I’m one of those “Read the ending first” readers, too. It’s definitely a sign of good writing when you can read the ending but not totally spoil yourself! I love when that happens. (Mainly because I feel much less guilty for reading ahead…) I have this on my wish list and I’m looking forward to reading it!


  5. Literary Feline

    I haven’t yet read this one, but I have a copy of the sequel which I loaned to a coworker who was anxious to read Likeness after having read In the Woods. She had it sitting on her desk at the office and my boss noticed it, scooped it up and insisted that she needed to read it right away because she couldn’t wait any longer. My boss did come over and ask me if she could borrow it–my coworker knows how anal I can be about loaning out books, especially ones I haven’t had the chance to read yet.


  6. Ladytink_534

    This one sounds kind of creepy! Just the thing for next month. I’ll have to remember to add it to my wishlist. Didn’t this win the Edgar award?


  7. Jessica

    I keep hearing good things about this book. I liked what you said about it being a literary thriller. Maybe this would be a good creepy one to get me in the mood for Halloween.


  8. Melody

    I’m glad you enjoyed this book, Trish!!! It’s one of my top reads this year!!! 😀


  9. raych

    Ah, damn. All I really want to see these days is negative reviews, at least until I can get caught up on my avalanche. This looks too good to pass up, though.


  10. Ti

    I have a copy of this book and plan to pick it up to read next week. I trying to wait until I catch-up a bit from last week.


  11. Anna

    Sounds like a good book. I’ve added it to my list. And I do the same thing, flip ahead because I can’t wait. I try to stop myself, but I always fail.


  12. Lenore

    I would describe it as a literary thriller too – here’s my review in case you are interested:


  13. In the Woods « Stephanie’s Written Word

    […] Trish pointed out in her review, Tana French has a wonderful talent for setting the stage of this thriller. It is a fast paced page […]

  14. Jenny

    You don’t want to break yourself of the habit of reading the end first. It’s a glorious habit. Don’t let the Man tell you how to read. 😛


  15. In the Woods, Tana French « Jenny’s Books

    […] 12, 2008 by jennysbooks I read about In the Woods on Trish’s blog as well as the other Jenny Claire’s, and it sounded very intriguing, and it was.  In the […]

  16. Review: In the Woods « Care’s Online Book Club

    […] Trish at Hey Lady! Raych at books I done read Stephanie’s Written Word […]

  17. Tana French – In the Woods « Fyrefly’s Book Blog

    […] Done Read, Care’s Online Book Club, Caribousmom, Confessions of a Bibliophile, Crime Scraps, Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?, Jen’s Book Thoughts, Jenny’s Books, Kittling: Books, Lesley’s Book Nook, […]

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    […] Jen’s Book Thoughts Care’s Online Book Club Book Addiction Musings of a Bookish Kitty Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’? Reading Matters Confessions of a Bibliophile Presenting Lenore Books I Done Read Fyrefly’s […]

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