Some books are written deliberately to provoke sadness It s fucking easy to induce someone to tears when the book is about a dying cancer patient with a labrador retriever whose leg has been amputated, with one ear missing The most effectively emotional books are the ones where you least expect it The ones that sneak up on you.
There are differing degrees of sadness, the type that makes one curl into a ball, sobbing in the wee hours of the morning I still can t pass by a bookshelf containing the book Forbidden without recalling that memory Then there are books such as these It doesn t make a person shudder in pain as much as it leaves one with an overwhelming sense of sadness and a feeling of unfulfillment Of loss When I picked up this book, so many years ago, I never knew I was setting myself up for heartbreak Ask anyone who s read this book Their reply will range anywhere from MY FEELS to WHY DOES TANA FRENCH DO THIS TO US The damnedest thing is, this book wasn t even MEANT to be sad It just sneaks up on you It makes you fall in love with the main character It makes you sympathize with him Rob Ryan is not a bad boy He s a lost one He is the kind that brings out what little remnants of maternal feelings there exists inside me He is wounded, without being a new adult asshole Don t get me wrong, he is sometimes an assholewhile not intending to be.
He is a little boy, who behaves carelessly without intent to harm He is imperfect, he runs the other way when the going gets tough He is scared to face the past, he can t think about the future All he can do is live in the present, wholly devoting himself to his work because it s the only way he can avoid his shadows He would make a terrible husband He would make a horrendous boyfriend He will break your heart, and I don t even care.
I just want to love him I just want to take care of him I want to erase his hurt I want to obliterate his pain Rarely has there been a character who has broken my heart so badly This is a detective novel, but it s not really Don t get me wrong, there is an ample amount of investigation in the book It can hold it s own against any fucking detective novel out there It just doesn t feel that way because to me, this book is poetry I have rarely encountered better writing I have scarcely encountered evocative passages The other books in this series does a better job of investigation, but I don t care As far as I m concerned, the series begins, and ends the universe revolves around this book.
Do yourself a favor Lose yourself In the Woods.
A 81% Very Good NotesGreat characters and writing, but ends so bitter and depressing.
Though the isbn is the same as the one pictured, my edition of this book has a much creepier cover and tagline Needless to say, I was completely expecting something a bit dark and twisted, a creepy psychological murder mystery with an outcome I never would have seen coming And I got that But I never expected this book to leave me feeling so sad And you know why Because I cared Ms French carefully builds up a complex personality for each of her characters, complete with a past, a sense of humour and some serious issues to go with it all, and you can t help but care what happens to the detectives even than you care what happens with the case.
Having now read all her other works, I can confirm she isn t just a one trick pony I also feel forgiving of this book s ending, which I know bothered many other readers In hindsight, frustrating as it is, I find it oddly perfect.
In the Woods is a deeply psychological read that explores the nature of psychopaths and memory or lack of The story is narrated by Rob Ryan, a detective on the Dublin murder squad, who is sent back to his home town in hopes of unravelling the case of a local child murder A young girl found dead in the very same woods in which Detective Ryan played as a child But Rob Ryan has a secret Years ago two of his friends disappeared whilst playing in those woods and whilst he was with them and a witness to whatever happened, he retains no memory of the events His friends were never found The question is will this new case bring back old memories Is there some piece of evidence that s waited twenty years to be found in those woods A case like the one Rob and his partner Cassie face would leave a very personal mark on anybody, you cannot investigate the murder and sexual assault of a child and keep it just business as usual As the investigation progresses and leads the pair in a number of directions only to meet with dead end after dead end, it begins to take its toll on the two detectives, they come out of it very different people from those we knew at the beginning It seemed a very realistic and rather sad progression.
I m not saying that every wordy paragraph in this beautifully written novel was needed, but I personally didn t want them to be taken out I think the main reason I enjoyed this novel so much was because it is about far than a murder mystery it s about all the people involved and how they are affected And I was honestly on the verge of tears after reading the ending and then reading friends reviews of the second book in this series and discovering that we never get to hear from Rob.
There s a touch of love in this book, just a touch, not enough to be called romance No descriptive sex No sweet nothings Nothing like that And yet, it still fucking broke my heart.
Blog Facebook Twitter Instagram Tumblr What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this two things I crave truth And I lie.
This book is brilliantly cruel a story of deep and painfully real psychological f ckery masquerading as a murder mystery There s nothing feel good about it If you like a book to leave you feeling warm and fuzzy at the end, it s not for you If you like neat resolutions it s not for you and if you already read this book, you know exactly what I m talking about If you hate being left with a new question for each question that this story answered well, yet again, it s not a book for you But I loved it I loved every page of it, every wordy paragraph, every depressing turn of the story, every soul shattering instance, every painfully real mistake of the protagonist I chose reading this book over sleep a decision I almost came to regret later, having to work a 14 hour day on 3 hours of sleepHi, it s Dr yawn Nataliya returning a yawn page yawn Scalpel yawn pleasebut hey, we all make decisions we wish we could take back hey, just like Rob Ryan in this book And it ultimately was fully worth it I suppose you can say my real weakness is a kind of long sightedness usually it is only at a distance, and much too late, that I can see the pattern.
Rob Ryan is a detective in the imaginary Dublin Murder Squad, assigned to investigate a senseless murder case of a 12 year old ballet dancer Katy in a little town of Knocknaree What his supervisors don t know is that 20 years ago he was among the three children who went to play In the Woods near Knocknaree, and was the only one to come back under unbelievably strange circumstances, wearing shoes full of blood, and with no memory of what happened to his best friends who forever disappeared In the Woods The investigation forces Rob to revisit the place that has such painful associations for him, and slowly, day by day, rips his heart to shreds and destroys him a little bit at a time And it s not the murder story stories but Rob s despair, mistakes, pain, and downward spiral and self destruction that makes this book so painfully real and fascinating to read It is a reminder that our worst monsters ultimately do live within ourselves, and that we are our own worst enemies even without ever meaning to be And then, too, I had learned early to assume something dark and lethal hidden at the heart of anything I loved When I couldn t find it, I responded, bewildered and wary, in the only way I knew how by planting it there myself.
The heart of this book is the story of a friendship between Rob and his partner Cassie Maddox view spoiler and the ultimate destruction of it that Rob s downward spiral eventually brings hide spoiler This book is amazing really truly excellent I took a risk at the UTEP library last week, just picking this out at random what true serendipity it was This particular week was rife with parties late nights daytime reserved for sleep and all throughout In the Woods was a faithful companion it was a pleasure to get back into it, for it s a dense and meticulous, brilliant piece of literature It kicks Girl with the Dragon Tattoo s ass people, read this instead You feel so much for the trio of detectives trying to uncover the murder of a teenage girl atop a medieval altar In the Woods The backdrop is Ireland of modern day, not since 2003 s Veronica Guerin or recently the romantic comedy Leap Year have I wanted to visit the Emerald Isle so much Tana French establishes the whodunnit with elegant prose not fit for a bestseller it is written a la Haute Literature than Global Bestseller a la mediocre and the twists turns are calibrated to hit the protagonist s psyche in clear cut precision he too was a victim in the same woods years earlier Alcoholism and despair follow our lad about, and although it spreads itself way too much in the end, it is the best psychological thriller, I believe, since Robert Harris The Silence of the Lambs PS When will I read its sequel After 8 years it can t come soon enough Seriously, man, I wanted to rate this book higher than two stars I almost went with three, but I just can t do it This book felt like it ran this long, exhausting marathon only to collapse into a heap, huffing and puffing just before it crossed the three star line Right now it s laying there lifelessly It might get up slowly and crawl across that line later, but I doubt it.
The protagonist of this book really, really annoyed me It felt like a parody of one of those old black and white movies where the picture freezes and the guy steps out toward the camera, lights a cigarette, pulls his hat down, and goes into this long monologue about life or women or his past or whatever The action would pick up or a new lead would be uncovered, and here comes Rob rambling on for pages and pages and pages.
Example Cassie Oh wow This thing we just found could connect this murder to events from your past WHOA Rob That is amazing Great job, Cass Rob steps toward the camera Rob Yeah, Cassie was like that She was always finding connections to things and blah blah blah She made a great partner because hey remember that time 20 years ago when my friends and I were In the Woods and blah blah blah I want to tell you about all the people I work with and give you a brief description of each one of them and also explain in detail how my boss is and blah blah blah My mind is trying to remember what happened 20 years ago and you know Cassie and I are great partners and we re best friends and people think we re dating but blah blah blah Hey, time flies, man Did I tell you what happened to me as a child Did I remind you about Katy Also, her family sure is weird The people at the dig site are weird Everyone is a suspect blah blah blah Let me pause here to tell you how I deal with my roommate and also O Kelly and my childhood and my current job and Katy and her weird family and interrogation and coffee and vodka and this dream I had and looking for clues and In the Woods and we keep hitting dead ends and and and and and blahhhhhhhhhhhh.
Cassie Hey, Rob We have a suspect.
While I have heard much of Tana French in the last few months, I had been inundated with new series in my 2016 reading journey that I was not sure I ought to add another collection to my list However, the series held a few unique aspects, one of which was its setting in Ireland, a place I hold close to my heart After allowing myself to try at least one novel, I discovered that French tells a story that proves as gripping as some of the great European series I have discovered in the past couple of years The Rob Ryan character is both gripping and baffling, which caught my attention from the start His work on the Homicide Squad and the struggles tied to his youth proved to be a thread throughout the story and remained relevant until the final pages While French takes her time in the story s progression, the drawn out development is done in such an effective way that the reader forgets the pace at which the story matures The plot is both straightforward and convoluted, as the reader encounters twists and dead ends as they relate to motives for the crime Strains between the characters help bridge portions of the investigation narrative, but might surge into being central plot lines for subsequent novels French takes on a great deal in her debut piece but comes out of the experience firmly rooting herself in the genre by providing a unique flavour I am eager to lose myself in her subsequent novels, which I hope are just as riveting.
Kudos, Madam French for blowing my mind and creating an instant fan out of me I cannot wait to rush into the second novel, hoping that Ryan and the rest of the gang prove equally as compelling.
Like hate the review An ever growing collection of others appears at I have no fucking clue how I felt about this book Because, hey, beginning Awesome Ending Trash heap that ruined the book for me Let s talk The first half of this book was honestly excellent You can read a thousand reviews talking about it, so I ll keep it short The writing is honestly stunning, much better in my opinion than Gillian Flynn or Paula Hawkins styles I had no clue where the mystery was going And the lead characters, Rob Ryan and his partner best friend Cassie Maddox were super compelling and no romance, bonus point I especially adored Cassie fucking Maddox her backstory with a friend from college honestly broke my heart All the ingredients for a perfect book Maybe even a five I like the characters and I like the writing, so I should have liked this book, right I am going to try to explain this as spoiler free and what spoilers exist are noted as possible the ending of this book is maybe one of the most unsatisfying things I have ever read in my whole life I am not kidding when I say it was such total trash that it ruined the whole book for me Not One Thing Is Resolved Rob Ryan s character arc Flop My wife Cassie Maddox s character arc Long sigh My favorite pair of besties I don t want to talk about it Mystery Fine, sort of chilling, but also 1 not really a mindfuck and 2 has shitty connotations The commupence Non ex is tent And the worst part The mystery from twenty years ago that causes this entire fucking BOOK and that was way interesting than the normal mystery Literally no fucking resolution Who did it How did they do it What is up with that hair clip in the forest and the blood inside Rob s shoes NO ONE FUCKING KNOWS I m sure this is framed in the minds of many readers as some kind of deeper meaning about memory You know what I thought, honestly Tana French wrote herself into a corner with a fucking ridiculous case and then ran out of time on her deadline and decided to leave it open How not to write a decent crime book 101 And so the only actual thing that is wrapped up is the current case, which is the only thing in this entire goddamn book that wraps up and I still don t like it It s tagged Don t say I didn t warn you view spoiler I sort of despise the connotations of a girl pretending to be a rape victim to manipulate her boyfriend into killing someone Like, it s creepy, but we currently live in a culture that assumes women are liars, and this just plays the fuck into it hide spoiler The Bestselling Debut With Over A Million Copies Sold That Launched Tana French, Required Reading For Anyone Who Appreciates Tough, Unflinching Intelligence And Ingenious Plotting The New York Times , Who Is The Most Interesting, Most Important Crime Novelist To Emerge In The Past Years The Washington Post As Dusk Approaches A Small Dublin Suburb In The Summer Of , 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 Gripping A Tree Trunk In Terror, Wearing Blood Filled Sneakers, And Unable To Recall A Single Detail Of The Previous HoursTwenty Years Later, The Found Boy, Rob Ryan, Is A Detective On The Dublin Murder Squad And Keeps His Past A Secret But When A Twelve 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 PastRichly Atmospheric And Stunning In Its Complexity, In the Woods Is Utterly Convincing And Surprising To The End it must be really hard to write convincing mystery novels you can t have your killer be too obvious or no one will bother reading past the third chapter but you can t have them be too unexpected, without textual support, or you will be accused of cheating the super saturation of police procedurals in all their manifestations literary and film and teevee, sets the genre up for failure it just adds up to a steaming bowl of repetition and a dessicated medium there are about five ways a murder plot can resolve itself, and the rest is wallpaper and window dressing.
and then there is this and for the most part, it falls into the same traps the main plot resolution is facile and a little yawn y, but tana french has massive balls for her treatment of the subplot she evidently does not care about infuriating her readers i am reading the second novel now, just out of anger technically it is for class, but it s above and beyond the demands of the syllabus i have never read a book out of rage at the author before can i get a plaque and i refuse to say why and how and when this book began to push my wrath buttons, but push them it did, and those of you who have read this will understand me when i howl, and maybe one of you can tell me why i am still watching lost when it started failing me like three seasons ago but this is the diseased impulse we are working with here i will see this second tana french book through, even though it is not doing for me what i had hoped the first one would do for me is this coded enough good i asked the near mythical tom fuller about his take on this book, and he said i liked it until i didn t which sounds forrest gumpy, but is spot on the way i felt about it it has its good points the irish setting is well rendered, there are some great descriptions of people, places, and things, the two detectives have a wonderful rapport until they don t see how flexible that kind of assessment is it s not all wee bairns and Lebor Gab la renn, but syntactically it is delightfully irish, and that part of it is a pleasure to read.
dunno this isn t the worst, i just figured that genre fiction had to play by certain rules in order to be invited into the clubhouse tana french is a subversive lass, aye, to be sure.
go ahead, read it, and come howl with me.
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