Author Tana French
Series: Dublin Murder Squad #1
Publication Date May 17, 2007
A gorgeously written novel that marks the debut of an astonishing new voice in psychological suspense.
As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children. He is gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.
Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a 12-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox (his partner and closest friend) find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.
I made the foolish mistake of reading Tana French’s In The Woods while at my family’s home in upper Wisconsin, in a wooded isolated area. I don’t want to come off as some kind of chicken because the novel wasn’t actually scary but very suspenseful and creepy. Obviously being “in the woods” added to said emotions.
In The Woods is like a grown-up ghost story told around the campfire, the weather sets the ambiance, the crack of a stick makes you jump and the shadows have you looking over your shoulder. Shadows and misconception can cover one’s persona and can arrange it in a new order to deceive the eye. (Little Red Riding Hood is a prime example) Tana French’s novel does just that, with a psychological twist I never saw coming. I cannot end without mentioning Ryan’s partner Cassie Maddox a clever new detective in the same category as Steig Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander. She is bright, mysterious and knows more than she lets on. (and not to mention Cassie keeps Rob in line) With an on-the-edge-of-your-seat plot and well-developed characters, it is hard not to find yourself lost in the woods.