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In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad series Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Tana French
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (176 customer reviews)

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Book Description


'You're twelve years old. It's the summer holiday. You're playing in the woods with your two best friends. Something happens. Something terrible. And the other two are never seen again.'

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. Even he has no memory of what happened that day.

Then a little girl's body is found at the site of the old tragedy and Rob is drawn back into the mystery. For him and his DI partner, Cassie, every lead comes with its own sinister undercurrents. The victim's apparently normal family is hiding layers of secrets. Rob's own private enquiries are taking a toll on his mind. And every trail leads inexorably back . . . into the woods.

Books In This Series (5 Books)
Complete Series

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    Tana French's IN THE WOODS is a terrific debut . . . French's psychological insights into the damaged policeman's torment combine grippingly with the clammy atmosphere that surrounds the lethal woods. As an example of a novel in which the past returns to haunt the present, this scores very high marks. (Marcel Berlins, The Times)

    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 compellingly complex case with nuanced characters and a richly detailed sense of place (Kirkus Reviews)

    French expertly walks the line between police procedurial and psychological thriller in her debut.' (Publishers Weekly)

    A brilliant first novel . . . the reader's attention is slackened and tightened with a masterly hand. (Literary Review)

    Beneath the lyrical descriptions of hot summers and happy childhood memories in small town Ireland lies an unsettling psychological thriller... A compelling page-turner of sinuous twists and turns. (Choice Magazine)

    The most breathtakingly brilliant and close-to-perfect thriller I've read for a long time. I stayed up until three in the morning two nights running unable to put it down. (Sophie Hannah)

    A must-read is Irish writer Tana French's IN THE WOODS, a literary, dark and absolutely compelling book set in Dublin where all manner of secrets are unearthed. (Reviewing the evidence)

    This astonishing first novel weaves a web of intrigue to confound even the most astute: and its denouement, swift, shocking and sublimely executed, will remain with the reader long after the final page has been turned. (Margaret Carragher Sunday Independent Dublin)

    Marcel Berlins, The Times

    `Tana French's IN THE WOODS is a terrific debut . . . French's
    psychological insights into the damaged policeman's torment combine
    grippingly with the clammy atmosphere that surrounds the lethal woods. As
    an example of a novel in which the past returns to haunt the present, this
    scores very high marks.'

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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I'd expected 16 Jan. 2012
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    This is Tana French's first novel, published in 2007, and also the first in a series involving detectives Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox. I bought it in 2011 having discovered this author by way of her third novel Faithful Place, which I thought was outstanding - one of the very best novels I read last year. Sadly and surprisingly, I didn't come away from In The Woods with quite such positive memories.

    Dublin Detective Rob Ryan works with smart, tough Cassie Maddox, they are best friends as well as partners, and when the body of a young girl is found at the site of an archaeological dig, they are assigned to the case. When they reach the crime scene, Rob realises it is the exact site of his secret childhood trauma twenty years earlier - when he was twelve, Rob (known as Adam back then) had been playing in the woods one sunny day when his two best friends disappeared and were never seen again. Rob has no memory of the event however, although when a hairclip is found at the crime scene he recognises it as having belonged to his friend - and wonders if there could be a connection between that old, unsolved crime and this latest one. Knowing that he would be thrown off the case if his past were to be revealed, Rob takes a fateful decision to keep quiet. He and Cassie are investigating the murder of Katy Devlin, but they both hope that they might also solve the twenty-year-old mystery of the woods.

    I was sure I going to like this, I had previous experience of the author with the same characters, and the novel has won high-profile acclaim by way of Anthony, Barry, Edgar and Macavity Awards (that's four separate awards by the way!).
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    7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read 14 July 2009
    By M. Dunn
    I borrowed this from the library, read the first chapter, which I enjoyed and just out of interest I visited Amazon to read reviews (something I do quite often even after buying or borrowing a book). There were so many poor reviews that I nearly couldn't be bothered to continue reading it. However, I did and I finished it and I am glad I did. I can appreciate those reviewers who were disappointed with the lack of an explanation for the disappearance of the Rob/Adam's friends and perhaps this didn't bother me as much as it might have because I knew this was the case from the other reviews! However, I really liked the style of the writing and the relationship between Cassie and Rob (disappointed with the way things turned out there). I also found the modern day investigation into the murder of the young girl kept me turning the pages and this investigation was made more interesting because of Rob Ryan's history, influencing the way he looked at the case. No, no light at all was shed on the earlier case but surely that mirrors real life where people are left wondering what really happened in a given situation - there are not always answers to every mystery. In conclusion, I certainly thought it worth reading.
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    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    By Liz Wilkins TOP 500 REVIEWER
    Available Now from Hodder and Staughton

    Source: Owned copy.

    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 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 twelve-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.

    So having recently read “The Secret Place” the new novel from Tana French coming this August (2014) I was not ready to let go so decided it was time for a re-read of all the other books in the series so far. Here we are then, starting with the debut “In the Woods”.

    This was a nolstagic read for me, I remember very well how completely hooked I was the first time around and it was no different this. Again I was completely immersed into the world Ms French creates here, with its wonderfully drawn characters, emotive relationships and extremely addictive and well constructed mysteries.

    The ebb and flow of people and places washes kind of gently over you, but at the heart of it is a darkness that will touch you.
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    10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm. 3 Sept. 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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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
    I love Tana French books the way she writes just really gels with me. I have read all of her books now and am eagerly awaiting a new one! Read more
    Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    The first book by Tana French I have read but I will definitely read more
    Published 6 days ago by Mrs Gillian Kefford
    4.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this book and found it totally engrossing and...
    I really enjoyed this book and found it totally engrossing and beautifully written. The story was extremely well plotted. Read more
    Published 6 days ago by Pam Croft
    3.0 out of 5 stars Ok
    Published 9 days ago by Margaret Conlon
    5.0 out of 5 stars In the woods
    I really enjoyed this book, it was well written and held my interest all the way through. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good murder mystery
    Published 13 days ago by Wendy
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    A great read. Well written and keeps you guessing until the end.
    Published 1 month ago by Julieanne Long
    4.0 out of 5 stars Taut, tense, frustrating
    Finally got around to picking up French's debut after flying through Faithful Place and The Secret Place. Read more
    Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
    2.0 out of 5 stars Chop and Crop.
    I felt it could've had a hundred or two hundred pages chopped off it. Also felt the Ryan and the two kids thread needed some kind of resolution.
    Published 2 months ago by The rain man
    3.0 out of 5 stars In The Woods
    Having read a lot of the reviews, on this site and others, it’s clear that many readers felt cheated, and it’s their perception that’s important. Read more
    Published 2 months ago by John Slater
    4.0 out of 5 stars Pointers to what she will become..........
    I encountered Irish writer Tana French only recently, when her fourth book, Broken Harbour, got a rave review from a blogger who is firmly wedded to good writing, rather than genre... Read more
    Published 3 months ago by Lady Fancifull
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