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Bending the Spine

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Review: In the Woods by Tana French

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.
Paperback, 429 pages
Published May 27th 2008 by Penguin (Non-Classics) (first published May 17th 2007)
ISBN: 0143113496 (ISBN13: 9780143113492)
series: Dublin Murder Squad #1
literary awards: Barry Award for Best First Novel (2008), Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel (2008), Anthony Award for Best First Novel (2008), Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American Author (2008)


I have eyed this book for years.  The cover and description intrigued me, and it’s an Edgar Award Winner.  So, I thought that the chances this being an amazing book were good.  AND, I was hoping that it would be wonderfully scary to fit in with Rebecca’s Spooking The Spine event during October.

What we have for the first two thirds of the book is a typical police/crime novel.  Nothing new here.  Just your basics set in Ireland.  You’ve got the cop with the past, the lady-cop, and the male-chauvinist coworkers.  Frankly, the book really disappointed me.  I kept waiting for something paranormal or even exciting to happen.  It never did.  They would make some head-way on the case, and then nothingness.  Really, the only thing that happened was Rob, the main character, looses his mind.  That’s actually pretty entertaining.  Him snapping, made this book worthwhile.  And that’s saying something—there’s nothing else great, or even good about this book.  I just don’t see how it won so many awards.  At the point of writing this part of my review (October 8, 2011), I’m not sure I’m going to finish it.

Update (February 26, 2012): I tried to finish this again yesterday.  And couldn’t get into it.  Instead, I just skimmed the remaining few chapters.  All I feel about In the Woods is major disappointment.  There is so much out there that is way better than this. 
1 Tree: This book was amazingly mediocre.

Get to reading,

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