Saturday, September 27, 2008

In the Woods

In the Woods by Tana French was originally published in 2007. My paperback copy has 429 pages. This is a murder mystery that is also a psychological drama. It started out great and I was totally engrossed in the story, even when I figured out one who-done-it long before the ending. The sad part is that the good writing, intriguing characters, tantalizing story line, and mounting tension and suspense almost all went to waste because of a disappointing ending. French could have done so much more with this novel. All the ingredients for a great novel were there through most of the book, they just weren't present at the most important part, the conclusion, and I felt a little let down. Rating: 3.9

Synopsis from cover:
In Tana French's powerful debut thriller, three children leave their small Dublin neighborhood to play in the surrounding woods. Hours later, their mother's calls go unanswered. 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, Detective Rob Ryan - the found boy who has kept his past a secret - and his partner Cassie Maddox investigate the murder of a twelve-year-old girl in the same woods. 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.

"Picture a summer stolen whole from some coming-of-age film set in small-town 1950s." opening sentence

"These children will not be coming of age, this summer or any other summer. This August will not ask them to find hidden reserves of strength and courage as they confront the complexity of the adult world and come away sadder and wiser and bonded for life. This summer has other requirements for them" pg. 2

"What I warn you to remember is that I am a detective. Our relationship with truth is fundamental but cracked, refracting confusingly like fragmented glass." pg. 3

"What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this - two things: I crave truth. And I lie." pg. 4

"His fingernails were digging into the trunk so deeply that they had broken off in the bark." pg. 5

"I can't explain the alchemy that transmuted one evening into the equivalent of years held lightly in common. the only way I can put it is that we recognized, too surely even for surprise, that we shared the same currency." pg. 16

"In ways too dark and crucial to be called metaphorical, I never left that wood." pg. 31

"You know what it means, Knocknaree?...Hill of the King." pg. 96

"We developed an intense, unhealthy relationship with caffeine and forgot what it was like not to be exhausted." pg. 138

"All I'll say is that there's been something just a little off kilter about that place all along." pg. 188

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