Twenty years ago, three children ran into the woods adjacent to their neighborhood to play and disappeared. Hours later, after the Dublin police had been called, a single little boy was discovered, clinging to a tree, his shoes filled with blood, t-shirt torn, with no memory of what had occurred.
Detective Rob Ryan is that little boy. He has changed his first name, gone to boarding school in England and acquired a nice English accent and no one, save his partner, Cassie Maddox knows his past. Cassie and Rob are called to the same woods, to investigate the murder of another child, 12 year old Katy Devlin. This case will be the toughest that Rob has ever investigated, and brings him to the brink of memory long suppressed.
Tana French, in her debut novel, In the Woods, promises a double fisted “bang for our buck”. We wonder and hope that both of these crimes will be solved, and the book does not disappoint. French has an amazing ability to develop her characters and bring them to life. At times, it’s as if we are reading a non-fiction account, filled with real people brought to life on these pages. Ryan is a flawed and witty man, with a tendency to drink a bit too much. Cassie is simply one of the most likable female characters I’ve ever encountered.
The prologue of this novel is so beautifully written its almost poetry.. The author is one of those rare people that can bring a scene to life so vividly; you can close your eyes and be there. There is an almost lyrical quality to the opening of this novel. If you weren’t fortunate to have a summer like this in your childhood, you want very much to pretend you did. From start to finish, In the Woods is an excellent read. I look forward to many more novels by Tana French, and hope they will revisit many of her characters in this novel.