In the Woods

In the Woods

Book - 2007
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"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."
Publisher: New York : Penguin, c2007
ISBN: 9780143113492
Characteristics: 429 p. ; 24cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jun 16, 2019

Bit of a spoiler, warning:

Enjoyed it for the most part except that it wasn't very subtle about constantly reminding us that the friendship/relatiopship was just too good to last, and the ways he destroys it at the end doesn't jell with his character as it has been built up.

Mar 18, 2019

As a previous reviewer said, this book was my first exposure to Tana French, and I too loved it. The writing was so engaging, and the characters grew on me the more I read it. It was the kind of book that gave me a little thrill of excitement as I was reading it, to know that it was waiting for me at home to continue on with it. Also the kind of book that made me sorry that it was over when the book ended. I will be reading more of Ms. French’s books.

Mar 06, 2019

This was my first read from Tana French and I absolutely loved it. Its a wonderful mystery, you get sucked in the more you discover about the case. If you like mysteries, cop shows, twists and turns - read this! It is totally worth the time!

Feb 12, 2019

I gave this a three at the time I read it, but honestly I couldn't tell you one single thing about it now. Must have been good, but not memorable.

Jan 21, 2019

This is the third book I've read by Tana French. So far I've only really enjoyed one...and unfortunately this wasn't it. Don't get me wrong...she writes well, and I started out loving this book. But for me, the love affair started to fall apart midway through the book.

That was the point at which I realized the main character was just plain unlikeable, certain sub plots unbelievable, and the story chapters too long. As such, the ending for me was not worth the wait and just plain irritated me. I did however enjoy French's "Faithful Place" so it could be down to personal tastes.

Nov 14, 2018

Very very enjoyable.It's a lengthy book but she really knows how to move a story along. She's great with her descriptions - you get lost for a minute or two and forget your reading fiction. It sounds so real, as if you are right there seeing what's happening. That's a rare gift for a story teller.

Two or three times a year I pick up a book that I gobble down like a good meal. And this is one of those. A young girl is murdered in a Dublin suburb and we follow the police investigation through the eyes of one of the detectives who, himself, was involved in an eerily similar crime in his childhood. I thoroughly enjoyed the relationship between the two detectives which takes some very unpredictable turns – as does the murder investigation. I can’t wait to read more of Tana French’s books. (submitted by JH)

WestSlope_TheaH Aug 21, 2018

Tana French is my favorite mystery author and her award-winning debut showcases her unique blend of police procedural and psychological thriller. I love her richly detailed storytelling, complex characters, and the moody, disturbing atmosphere that permeates her work. In the Woods is the first in a series---you’ll be hooked!

Mar 11, 2018

On one hand I couldn't put it down. Tana French has a beautiful way with words and a strong narrative voice. On the other hand the main character is unrealistic, unreliable and unlikable. The plot meanders slowly, flipping and folding back in on itself and going back to the beginning several times and lastly, the character's central conflict remained unsolved and was ultimately of no importance. I became actually angry near the book when the narrator states, "But before you despise me too thoroughly, consider this: (pronoun deleted) fooled you too." What an unbelievable act of hubris. It's an interesting twist to be sure but entirely guessable as far as the whodunit genre goes.

Feb 25, 2018

Went into this one after reading Inspector Gamache series and just couldn't get into it.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability
May 15, 2019

crystalpatterson thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Apr 05, 2017

gobula thinks this title is suitable for 2 years and under

Jul 27, 2016

BWilsoned thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Kristen MERKE
Jul 02, 2013

Kristen MERKE thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


Add a Summary
Jul 25, 2017

This book wasn't quite what I was expecting--it was far more.

French writes with a taut, well-paced style. The story begins with several potential areas of tension: male and female detective partners; a detective who is hiding his true identity because of a childhood trauma; and a murder to solve that has taken place at the site of that childhood trauma. And the author pulls and works each of these strands in the a very taut rope.

Because the story is told in first-person—Detective Rob Ryan is living with the aftermath of a childhood trauma—the reader sees and hears everything he does. But we also see how his mind works. More interestingly, we watch his mind unravel. But French's writing is so tightly paced that the reader is sliding down the treacherous slope with Rob Ryan before we realize it.

Detective Ryan’s story begins as a typical detective investigation, with only a few phrases suggesting he is telling this story from a point in the future. But as the murder investigation continues, the tension between Ryan and his partner builds. This becomes more apparent in Ryan’s telling, as he begins adding more information about their relationship and the changes he begins to recognize after the case.

As the case reaches its tense conclusion, Ryan’s voice becomes a tight balance between distraught and resigned. And the reader cannot put the book down until knowing how the story turns out.

As the investigation concludes, the reader is as exhausted as the investigators. The final chapter is Ryan’s “now.” He is looking back with all the awareness of hindsight, filled with sadness, self-loathing, and resignation.

This reader was left feeling overwhelmed by the emotions in these characters as well as the self-absorption most humans go through life with. One of the most amazing “whodunits” I’ve ever read.

Feb 23, 2011

loved it, a dark mystery with characters i enjoyed reading about. A detective who was the sole surviver of a abuduction of two of his other friends, investigates a murder that took place in the same location 25 years later. Haunting and lonely- you won't like the ending.


Add Notices
May 15, 2019

Other: mention of child rape


Add a Quote
Aug 14, 2010

"Don't step on anything that looks like archaeology."

Explore Further


Subject Headings

WPL owns a similar edition of this title.

View originally-listed edition

Report edition-matching error

To Top