Title: In The Woods (Book 1 in The Dublin Murder Squad series)
Author: Tana French
Social Media: Facebook and Goodreads
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Format and Price: eBook at $12.99
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
About The Author:
Tana French grew up in Ireland, Italy, the US and Malawi, and has lived in Dublin since 1990. She trained as a professional actress at Trinity College, Dublin, and has worked in theater, film and voice-over.
About The Book:
‘You’re twelve years old. It’s the summer holiday. You’re playing in the woods with your two best friends. Something happens. Something terrible. And the other two are never seen again.’
Twenty years on, Rob Ryan – the child who came back – is a detective in the Dublin police force. He’s changed his name. No one knows about his past. Even he has no memory of what happened that day.
Then a little girl’s body is found at the site of the old tragedy and Rob is drawn back into the mystery. For him and his DI partner, Cassie, every lead comes with its own sinister undercurrents. The victim’s apparently normal family is hiding layers of secrets. Rob’s own private enquiries are taking a toll on his mind. And every trail leads inexorably back . . . into the woods
~Character VS Plot: While engaging enough to keep my attention, this book is more character orientated than plot orientated and with a Crime/Mystery novel, I think that’s difficult to pull off well. I’m a plot-orientated reader and writer so a reader’s level of enjoyment will depend on what on type of reader you are. When I pick up a Crime novel, I may be interested to a degree on how the main detective interacts with other people and the relationships he/she has, but I don’t read a crime novel so that the main character’s love life takes precedence over a crime.
To Rob Ryan’s credit he does acknowledge that he’s been an arse at the end, but by that point I had stopped caring. I don’t have a problem with an unreliable narrator and at the beginning I didn’t mind the main character, however by the end I couldn’t stand him and I just couldn’t connect to the main character at all.
~Little Did I Know: The book flip-flops between present and past tense, now I understand that some of it is needed to explain back story, flashbacks of Rob Ryan’s missing memories, but there were also “Little Did I Know” and “Before It All Came Crashing Down” moments peppered here and there that irritated me. I have a great dislike of Little Did I Know, especially in a crime novel, I don’t want to be told, I want to be shown.
~Interesting Choice of Villain: I don’t want to spoil it, but the ending is pretty messed up (in an emotional way), however in a legal and perhaps writing fashion, very well played.
In conclusion, I think the novel was well written, but the author’s preferred style of focusing on the people and people interactions, I don’t think it’s for me. The first book was good and I can understand why it’s popular but I won’t be pursuing the rest of the series.