Synopses & Reviews
A gorgeously written novel that marks the debut of an astonishing new voice in psychological suspense.
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.
Richly atmospheric, stunning in its complexity, and utterly convincing and surprising to the end, In the Woods is sure to enthrall fans of Mystic River and The Lovely Bones.
"Irish author French expertly walks the line between police procedural and psychological thriller in her debut. When Katy Devlin, a 12-year-old girl from Knocknaree, a Dublin suburb, is found murdered at a local archeological dig, Det. Rob Ryan and his partner, Cassie Maddox, must probe deep into the victim's troubled family history. There are chilling similarities between the Devlin murder and the disappearance 20 years before of two children from the same neighborhood who were Ryan's best friends. Only Maddox knows Ryan was involved in the 1984 case. The plot climaxes with a taut interrogation by Maddox of a potential suspect, and the reader is floored by the eventual identity and motives of the killer. A distracting political subplot involves a pending motorway in Knocknaree, but Ryan and Maddox are empathetic and flawed heroes, whose partnership and friendship elevate the narrative beyond a gory tale of murdered children and repressed childhood trauma." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[French] sets a vivid scene for her complex characters, who seem entirely capable of doing the unexpected." New York Times
"A mystery? Yes. But In the Woods is much more than that.... It is as exquisitely told as it is wondrously plotted. Why does one read? To experience novels like this. Not to be missed." BookReporter.com
Richly atmospheric, stunning in its complexity, and utterly convincing and surprising to the end, this novel marks the debut of an astonishing new voice in psychological suspense.
For readers who like their hard-boiled police procedurals with an international flare ("USA Today"), this thriller marks the debut of an astonishing new voice in psychological suspense.
About the Author
Tana French grew up in Ireland, Italy, the United States, and Malawi. This is her first book.