Seems Impossible That “In The Woods” Isn’t A True Story


 Tana French’s first novel, “In The Woods” wasn’t just spectacular or amazing, it was, well, good.  It took me almost a week to read the 400 page book, an immense amount of time by my standards, but a result of the meticulous and descriptive writing that read more like a biography than a novel.  The book is narrated by Rob Ryan, who was found in the woods at age 12 scared and bloody, without the two friends he was playing with earlier that day.  Plagued by their disappearance, Rob becomes a detective in the murder unit, and is placed on a case involving the murder of a young girl that intertwines with the cold case of his missing friends.

Rob’s perspective of being found in the wood several years before provides a unique platform for the book and a person element that made the story seem like nonfiction.  The measure of detail French provided for the thoughts and actions of Rob would make one believe she was a seasoned detective herself!  Her ability to describe how detectives felt and processed information was uncanny.  The plot unfolded in a way that was in line with how an actual murder investigation would be, as the detectives chase down leads and question witnesses over a period of weeks, not days.

Complete with twists, and full of surprises, the plot was full of events typical to an investigation without being too obvious.  The characters were smart and realistic, and likeable!  Told in a flashback, the reader becomes aware that something goes wrong with the investigation, but could never guess what.  My only issue was the ending.  Without giving too much away, I like everything to be neatly tied up and for justice to be served.  This was not the case here.

I would recommend the book to those who like crime thrillers and well written novels.  This book did not disappoint!

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