Rating Scale: 1 – Didn’t Finish. 2 – Meh. 3 – Kept my interest, but probably wouln’t read again. 4 – Would Recommend. 5 – LOVED IT! Added it to my list of favorites!
In The Woods kept me captivated from page one. Tana French has a true gift of language. She makes the scene come alive so that you swear you were actually there – tasting the salty air by the sea or hoisting yourself up over a stone wall at the edge of the woods. But let’s face it. Just because an author has a way with words doesn’t mean they can tell an entrancing tale of suspense and domestic horror. French gift wraps her story for us in a quirky wrapping paper and ties it with a bow of surprise.
The story is about a young, confused detective with a dark and stormy past. It’s the stuff of mystery legend. As a child, he was involved in a horrific crime that robbed him of his memory and much of his innocence. The crime remains unsolved, and the trail cold, until a particularly haunting murder occurs in the very same woods of his childhood attack. The rest of the story involves several dead ends, a few twists and turns, and some truly fantastic characters.
One of the things I liked most about French’s writing style was her ability to ensnare the reader into a sense of empathy for her (sometimes not very likeable) characters. Even though Detective Ryan turns out to be a somewhat confused and self-involved character, I was rooting for him the whole way. I always had the sense that at heart, he was a genuinely good person. Cassie, his partner, was a whip-smart, quirky and funny counterpart. Overall, French’s talent for setting a scene, combined with her excellent character development, kept me feeling personally vested in the outcome of this truly mesmerizing story.