Friday, November 10, 2017

In the Woods by Tana French

Reviewed by Christy H.

            Detectives Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox had an instant bond when Cassie joined the Dublin Murder Squad.  Now partners and best friends, they work exceedingly well together – interrogating suspects, questioning witnesses, or just divvying up small, everyday tasks. They know what roles to play, when needed, to get the best results. But when a twelve year old girl’s body is found in Knocknaree woods their partnership and friendship is sorely tested.
            The Knocknaree woods hold a special place in Rob Ryan’s heart – not all of it good. When he was twelve years old himself, he and two friends knew those woods inside and out. They ran and played there, hid there, witnessed horrible acts of violence there. Then all three seemingly vanished into thin air. Rob Ryan was the only one found hours later, clinging to a tree, shoes blood soaked, and unable to remember a thing. He was Adam Ryan then. Over twenty years later he still doesn’t remember much, and his friends have never returned.
            Soon after he went to boarding school, started going by his middle name, and eventually became a policeman and ultimately a detective. When the new Knocknaree case falls into his lap, he admits who he is to Cassie. He wants to keep working the case so he and Cassie do everything they can to keep his past secret.
            Though I enjoy true crime, police procedural novels are not generally what I pick up to read. I bought this one years and years ago though and figured it was more than past time to give it a go. I really enjoyed it. I liked French’s writing, and I loved Cassie. She’s good at her job and thick skinned – which she would have to be as the only woman on the squad. She’s never deterred from speaking her mind when she knows it’s important, and she doesn’t mind a bit of teasing as long as she can tease right back. I even liked the relationship between her and  Rob,  even though Rob himself grated my nerves more and more as the book went on. He was at times frustratingly naïve or needlessly cruel. I admit I did at one point consider dropping the book because his point of view was so irritating but I stuck it out because the mystery was intriguing, and Cassie was the real star. I’m glad I finished it. The conclusion was satisfying, creepy, and intense. And I’m interested in the second in the series The Likeness as well. I’m not a series person but Cassie is the main character in that one, and I just can’t say no to that.

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