In the Woods by Tana French

In The WoodsThis was the book my mother was reading before she passed away.  Finding the Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels among her things was how I started blogging.  Her love of reading she passed on to me is something I am forever thankful to her for.   I found In the Woods in her bedroom with a bookmark inserted at Chapter 3.  I don’t recall her mentioning the book at all and I wish she had, as it has an unnerving similarity to an experience I myself had in the woods behind my family’s home.

A 30-something Irish  detective is assigned a case involving murdered 12-year-old Katy Devlin, whose body is discovered in the same woods his two childhood friends vanished from nearly two decades earlier.

Detective Rob Ryan of the Murder Squad was previously known as Adam Ryan, the young boy who entered the woods with two pals and was discovered alone and wearing blood soaked sneakers with no recollection of where his friends were and what happened to them that day.  Haunted by his past, he keeps it well guarded yet it impacts his life in more ways than he can acknowledge.  As the current investigation heats up, he must decide if confronting his past will be a benefit or a detriment to solving who killed Katy.  An intense guy whose needs may be more than one bargains for.

Partner to Rob Ryan, Cassie Maddox is a self-reliant and intuitive detective forced to prove her worth among the male majority.  Her resilience reveals her mettle and her colleagues eventually deem her more than capable.  She and Rob grow close and reveal their secrets to one another, but forming a union may not be in the cards for this duo.  Someone I’d like to have as a friend or a co-worker.

Father to Katy, Jonathan Devlin, is a brooding and quiet man who may or may not be hiding ugly family secrets.  His background surfaces and Rob comes face to face with evil from his childhood.  Distant from his wife and seemingly doting over his remaining children, its unclear if his family love him or fear him.  His past does come back to haunt him in an almost, but not quite, what goes around comes around manner.  Someone you’d avoid, unless they were a relative.

I would love to sip some wine with Ms. French and inquire about her inspiration.  Clearly skilled at capturing her character’s essence, perhaps she’d share some of her observational techniques.  Not sure if any of her work has been adapted to film, but I’d have to ask if she’d consider starring in such a film.

My rating for In the Woods is a 9 out of 10.

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Next up, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple…The Color Purple


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