Monday, February 18, 2013
In the Woods by Tana French
In the Woods
by Tana French
Narrated by Steven Crossley
Dublin Murder Squad, Book 1
Penguin Audiobooks, 2007
20 hours and 23 minutes
As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children. He is gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.
Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a 12-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox (his partner and closest friend) find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. 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.
I am Tana French's newest fan. She has been on my 'authors to read' list forever, and our recent trip to Florida seemed like the perfect time to follow multiple recommendations (Staci's, most recently) and get started. Mystery is not usually my genre of choice, but with two under my belt by mid-February, I've now equaled last year's final tally. Perhaps a new reading trend is developing.
As for the novel itself, the plot is riveting, the writing solid, and I especially enjoyed the strong psychological component. Some of these characters have serious issues! The twists kept me guessing right up until the end. Yet even then, the case is not wrapped up neatly and filed away.
I will be reading all of French's novels.
A note on the audio production:
Steven Crossley, narrating from Rob Ryan's point of view, was pitch perfect - slow, deliberate, and at times, almost wistful. Although he has nearly one hundred credits to his name, including many of Ian McEwan's novels (which seems like a perfect match to me), this was my first time listening to him. I was disappointed to learn that he does not narrate French's other books.