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In the Woods [Paperback]

Tana French
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
Price: 6.68 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

15 Nov 2007

When he was twelve years old, Adam Ryan went playing in the woods one day with his two best friends. He never saw them again. Their bodies were never found, and Adam himself was discovered with his back pressed against an oak tree and his shoes filled with blood. He had no memory of what had happened.

Twenty years on, Rob Ryan - the child who came back - is a detective in the Dublin police force. He's changed his name. No one knows about his past. Then a little girl's body is found at the site of the old tragedy and Rob is drawn back into the mystery. Knowing that he would be thrown off the case if his past were revealed, Rob takes a fateful decision to keep quiet but hope that he might also solve the twenty-year-old mystery of the woods.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (15 Nov 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340924764
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340924761
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 17.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Sharply written and insidiously creepy, this is a mesmerising read that grabs hold of the reader from the very first page and doesn't let go until well past two in the morning. (The Times)

This is a wonderfully assured and beautifully written debut novel, a multilayered psychological thriller that digs beneath the surface of ordinary lives and delivers excitement and insight in large helpings. (Irish Independent)

Lyrical and haunting (Scotland on Sunday)

A real show-stopper of a thriller . . . Author tightens the tension slowly until squealing point; Ryan's increasingly taut relationship with Maddox is woven cunningly around the crime plot. A splendid, page-turning debut. (She)

A rich multi-layered thriller (Choice)

This is a real treat for Christmas. In the Woods is a classic murder mystery with plenty of twists and macabre detail. This is Tana French's debut and it's startlingly accomplished . . . French writes beautifully and is far from lazy when it comes to sprinkling clues and red herrings and developing the characters. (Alyson Rudd, The Times)

An intricate and edgy top-notch psychological thriller. (Woman and Home)

Book Description

A stunningly accomplished psychological mystery which will take you on a thrilling journey through a tangled web of evil and beyond - to the inexplicable.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm. 3 Sep 2011
I just finished this book 20 minutes ago, and I find myself in two minds about it. On one hand, it is brilliantly written, engaging, disturbing, involving, heartbreaking and insightful. The prose really is wonderful, the characters so real and imperfect you feel as if you could reach out and touch them, and throughout the whole book there is this air of tension and dread, which although at times unpleasant, was nonetheless gripping. My favourite thing about the book was the relationship between Cassie and Ryan, not your typical hard- nosed detective pairing, and not your usual mystery novel.
However it is that which sets it apart from your bog standard crime thriller which I found to be, while undeniably well crafted, ultimately unfulfilling and disappointing - The Ending, or what feels like a lack there of. (Spoilers) While I was frustrated with Rosalinds evasion of justice, and terribly sad over Cassie and Ryans ruined relationship, I was furious with the lack of resolution of what I see as the original case, Peter and Jamie's disappearance. Unlike some other readers, I don't view this to be background work, but the backbone of the novel. Half the story is left untold, and in my mind, that is unforgivable. Some other readers revel in the open ended, more realistic nature of the ending, but as you have probably guessed I am not one of them! The resolution of Rosalind's story and the doomed partnership between Cassie and Maddox really was great, despite it's sadness and messiness. But I don't buy into this weird high brow notion that by leaving the original story untold, the book is injecting realism, or commenting on human behaviour, or whatever else you can think of. It is not that I need a happy ending, or even a neat one. But I need you to finish telling the story. Don't get me wrong, I still think its a brilliant book. It left me feeling enchanted, intrigued, thrilled, all those good things, but most of all, I am sorry to say, a little cheated.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars lingers 28 July 2010
By Alice
I kept going back, trying to figure out what I missed regarding the unsolved/unknown plot. But the more I thought about it, the more powerful the book was for not providing closure. I had nightmares and bad dreams while I was reading In the Woods; there was something about two murder mysteries in one narration that was deeply unsettling. Also, the opening passage is so beautifully written. Stunning.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars entertaining, vivid read 28 Dec 2009
This is the type of novel which restores your faith in books. It is a pageturner which I genuinely couldn't put down, not just because of the plot (which I won't mention as others have gone into it) but because of the sparky, sexy relationship between the two main characters. Their interactions came across as spiky and realistic and I just loved them.

Several reviews have mentioned that (beware - plot spoiler here) they were very disappointed that the mystery of Adam's friends who disappeared as children was not solved. For me this was not a problem. It would have been all too easy for the writer to dream up some solution to this. How much more realistic to leave it as an unsolved mystery - that's what happens in many cases after all - and it also leaves the possibility open of the author returning to this at some time.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Only a few trees short of the whole wood 6 Mar 2008
(Firstly, a warning that this review contains a certain amount of spoilers - because it's so hard to review without revealing the ending).
I am in two minds about this book.
If you look at it from the point of view of the blurb on the back cover, then the ending is a bit disappointing. This is because it leads you to believe the story revolves around the disappearance of two children 20 years ago, whose friend escaped and is still tormented by his lack of memory concerning the event. A murder in the present day is said to lead the surviving friend (Adan Ryan) back into the woods, and hence back towards what actually happened 20 years earlier...
Or at least that is what it seems to suggest. The reality is that although Adam Ryan does indeed go some way towards confronting the truth about his friends' disappearance, he never actually gets there and the reader is not given any answers as to what really happened 'in the woods'.
However, although the ending is frustrating in the context of how the story is marketed, it is not inappropriate or annoying if you ignore the blurb and take the story for what it is.
The modern day murder propels Adam Ryan back to the disappearance of his friends - but rather than leading him to the truth, it gives him a different sort of closure. He is forced to admit that he is never going to remember nor discover what happened that fateful day and so must finally let it (and his two friends) go. The reader is given a clue that this will be the conclusion quite a way before the end, in the scene where Adam Ryan tries to stay overnight in the woods.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, twisted and haunting 1 July 2009
By Roman Clodia TOP 50 REVIEWER
Other reviewers have already discussed the plot so I'm not going to repeat that but, for me, this was a superb read that transcended the genre. French has succeeded in raising the emotional stakes in what could have been a fairly standard book, and allows the plot to develop organically in step with her characters.

It's often difficult for an author to create an authentic cross-gendered voice, but her male narrator felt `right': sometimes arrogant, sometimes awkward, Ryan is intriguing and darkly attractive. In fact the whole relationship arc that plays out between him and his professional partner Cassie is as central to the book as the murder investigation, and the two become inextricably intertwined.

Other readers here clearly hated the open-endedness of the mystery of Ryan's past but I loved the way French refused to close down the narrative in any easy or simple way. And the eerie darkness of the woods served as a haunting backdrop to the other mysteries that the text explores. Highly recommended and I can't wait to read her next book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Just wow
Every now and then I come across a book that is in my head even while I'm going about my everyday life. This is one such book. Read more
Published 27 days ago by toxicmusing
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. Please note: This review contains a spoiler.
Available Now from Hodder and Staughton

Source: Owned copy.

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Published 1 month ago by Liz Wilkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous
First novel? I am so envious. I wish I'd written it! Have bought but not yet read the second one, and look forward to seeing how the characters develop as the emphasis shifts to... Read more
Published 1 month ago by LadyA
5.0 out of 5 stars crime
I thoroughly enjoy this author and her books. I am looking forward to a new one and am keeping watch. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Claire Pelling
4.0 out of 5 stars In the Woods
I am Irish and know the area in Dublin in which it took place. But the story held me as it came from a different angle than the usual crime story
Published 2 months ago by fiona turnbull
5.0 out of 5 stars Breaks your heart
Don't listen to all the others whining about a lack of resolution. This book is a great read. It's more about the inner demons of a little boy still lost in the woods. Read more
Published 2 months ago by D. Bates
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-written, but ultimately unsatisfying
Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox are the only detectives in the Dublin Murder Squad office when the case gets called through, so it's theirs for the taking. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Marie
5.0 out of 5 stars Mrs
Brilliant author have read all her books and can't wait for her next to come out.
Dark disturbing and true to life.
Published 5 months ago by Agnes Mooney
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good
This is one of the best of Tana's books I've read. It is very detailed but not moving slowly because of that. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Gordana Rajnovic
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable read
I read the Likeness first which took the edge off a little as I already knew how the various relationships would work out but once again I found the writing drew me in, I could... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Steaders52
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