Sunday, January 23, 2011

"In The Woods" by Tana French

Published: 2007
Read: 2010
Genre: Fiction
Setting: Ireland, 1984
Rating: 4
Awards: 2007 Edgar Award
Reviews: Reading Matters, Sarah Reads Too Much
Tana French's US web site
Interview with author

I like her writing.  Quick read. Engrossing story.  Pulls you along so want to find out what happens next.  Interesting she can do male POV so well.  Liked it enough to read other books.  That said, the author left two issues unresolved which I did not like. 1) what happened to the three kids in the woods and 2) what was the significance of the following plot line - companies who wanted the motorway built through an archaeological site?  Book ended feeling unfinished.

Story Synopsis
In the Woods is a mystery/crime novel by Tana French, her first book.  Published in 2007, the story takes place in a town a few miles from Dublin, Ireland in 1984.  Flashbacks take the reader to the same town, twenty years prior.

The story takes place when a young girl, Katy Devlin is found dead in the woods, which has now become an archeological site.  The detective is Adam Robert Ryan, the one child who survived the unsolved mystery of the two missing children, presumed dead.  His partner is Cassie Maddox, a tough, strong, smart detective who spent four years as an undercover cop.  She had gotten stabbed in the line of duty and was able to transfer to any other division.  She chose the murder squad.  They work well together.

Subjects Explored

  • Unsolved mystery whereby three children went into the woods and only one came back, the narrator, Adam Robert Ryan.
  • Detectives should not be involved in solving crimes that are personal to them.  Creates a bias, emotions.  Unable to look at things objectively.
  • Murder squad is not usually a place for women.  Cassie Maddox is unique.
  • Partners on a murder squad put their lives in each other’s hands - the bond is tight and strong, maybe even more than family. 
  • Psychopaths are manipulative, have no conscious, no empathy, are pathological liars, narcissistic, intuitive, will do anything to get their way

Story Question: 
Are the two related?  Is the person responsible for Katy’s murder the same person who took the two young children, Adam’s best friends?  Will Ryan and Maddox be able to solve both crimes?

The past will never leave you.

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