Thursday, 1 November 2012

In the Woods by Tana French

This is a really good book. The story sounds very spooky when you read the back cover but it turns out that it is not. Ok, there are some pages but on the whole it is a thrilling story. Twenty years ago three 13-yearold kids, two boys and one girl went into the woods to play as they usually did. Only one of them came out and he was found stuck to a tree in a terrified state, with blood in his shoes and no memory of what had happened.  Now, twenty years on a young girl is found murdered in the same woods and connections are made to the old case.

The narrator is Rob Ryan, former Adam, the boy that survived the incident. He is now a detective in Dublin.  His partner since just a couple of days is Cassie Maddox, a tough young woman. There is a freshness in these two characters. They are very close friends and they have a relaxed jargon, raw but hearty and they take care of each other; best mates in other words. A third colleague is linked to the group and he has difficulties to understand the relationship in the beginning. It is not so often you see such a good description of a friendship between a man and a woman. The group is given the case and sets off to the woods to investigate. They work with the assumption that it could be connected to the incident twenty years ago. As the story entwines tensions are going up. Ryan does still not remember what happened and he has not really let the incident affect his life. Now, with the new murder and the visits to the woods (he was never back once he left the village) he starts to remember part of what happened.

The book describes very well the police work in all its details. All the characters in the book are very well described and you fell a development not only in the work with the case, but also in the personal relationships between friends and colleagues, victims, witnesses and perpetrators. The writher (this is here first book and she won a lot of prices for it) keeps her characters in line and she does not take the bait and makes it into an expected ending. I will not reveal the ending of the mystery. I really enjoyed this book. Maybe it felt a little bit too long and too details in some places, but this is already forgotten.  I even woke up at 7 o'clock on a Sunday morning just because I had to finish the book. It is written in a beautiful prose so a real enjoyment. Tana French is Irish-American and has lived in the US, Italy and Malawi, before she settled in Ireland. She is also an actress. This book came in 2007 and she has written another three; The Likeness, Faithful Place and Broken Harbor. At least the Likeness, features Cassie Maddox again. Can hardly wait until I lay my hands on one of these books. 

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