In The Woods by Tana French

Rob Ryan, along with his partner Cassie Maddox land the biggest murder case of their police careers when a 12-year-old girl has been found murdered in the woods by a Dublin Suburb.  For Cassie, this is the career boost of a lifetime…

but for Ryan it is something more…

Twenty years previous, Ryan (then Adam) at the same age that the now murdered girl was, was part of a group of three best friends that entered that same woods feeling their whole lives were before them… Ryan was the only one to leave the woods, his sneakers covered in blood, with no memory as to what happened… the other two children, were never found.  

No one knows about Ryan’s’s past history with the woods or the connection the two children never found… no one, except Cassie.

Although stir carrying many scars from his own experience, Ryan does his best to push the past back into the past while applying all his skills to find the killer of the present… yet in his subconsciousness, he can not help but wonder if the two are not somehow linked together… 

“What I warn you to remember is that I am a detective. Our relationship with the truth is fundamental, but cracked, refracting confusingly like fragmented glass. It is the core of our careers, the endgame of every move we make, and we pursue it with strategies painstakingly constructed of lies … and every variation on deception. The truth is the most desirable woman in the world and we are the most jealous lovers, reflexively denying anyone else the slightest glimpse of her. We betray her routinely … This is my job … What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this–two things: I crave truth. And I lie.”

~Opening to In The Woods by Tana French

This audio is a case of internet buzz that brought me make this purchase.  I had heard Tana French was an incredible writer, I had heard that the audio was fantastic… knowing that I can get to audio and through audio faster than I can another book on the pile, I went audio.

Diving into this audio I was instantly engrossed in the back story of Ryan’s childhood nightmare and believed this was going to be an incredible story.  I have always enjoyed a great murder mystery, probably one of the earliest genres of choice in my youth reading career (oh yes… I feel it is a career :razz:) so I settled in for an amazing ride…

I enjoyed the play back and forth by police partners Ryan and Cassie… I loved that Cassie was not a dopey girly girl but a strong and vile partner to Ryan… what he missed she found, and vise versa.

As the story unfolds into a great and disturbing tale of a family with too many secrets, and the entwining of the two stories both past and present I felt like a kid on the edge of my seat holding the book tight and the blanket up to just below my eyes tighter.

And then just when I was think this book.audio was a rave… the end failed big time for me.  It failed so big in fact… I thought I must have missed something.  It could not end that way I thought… I have strings left over… they are unraveled… where is my somewhat neat package tied up in a bow?

But no – no package… and no bow. 

I even looked at a few other reviews  to make sure that I accurate that there was no closure… and its true… at least as far as I am concerned I felt a little cheated in the end, like I was building excitement on this rollercoaster – up,up,up and then…


no exciting drop…. just flat.

Will I read Tana French again?  Absolutely… I hear her book The Likeness (also featuring Cassie Maddox) is pretty awesome… so yeah, I will try again.  😀

Amazon Rating

Goodreads Review

The 2011 WHERE Are You Reading map has been updated to include In The Woods

I purchased this audio from audible.com

41 thoughts on “In The Woods by Tana French

  1. This is the only book by Tana French that I haven’t read yet (even thought it’s her first). I have also heard of people who have been let down by the ending.

    The Likeness is brilliant, Sheila! One of my favourite books of last year – enjoy! 🙂

  2. I hated the ending too but I still loved the book, and I love French, and I have faith that one day she’ll come out with a sequel and tell us WHAT THE $%#& happened to Ryan!

  3. I liked that part of it remained unsolved (the woods part) but really hated the person Ryan turned into. I kept hoping for him to figure out he was being an @ss but he never did. Sigh. I’m hoping the next book is better!

  4. I have been curious about this book for a while, but never got around to reading it. It is not my normal read, but I will probably read it at some point

  5. I’m sorry you didn’t like the ending as much as I did. I more than loved it because it didn’t clean everything up in a nice, neat package. It felt more real for me that way, like it could possibly happen. The older I get the messier I like my books and movies. Sometimes I like the ending to be left a little messed up, the good guys don’t always get the badguys. I even like it, sometimes, when the bad guy comes out completly on top. I haven’t read the second one yet, though I have it. This makes me want to get to it sooner than later.

    1. I like messy too Ryan… too neat is boring – but this felt like we were led to believe there was a tie in – and all this information came up about the old case… and then they left it….

      I am hoping maybe the second one will touch on what was left out here… not neatly, but darn it Ryan – I need some sort of closure! LOL 😛

  6. I remember when I read this that I was so angry! I loved the writing, but that ending… And I read reviews that called it a “brave” choice to leave that unresolved. Bah! One of the reasons I love mysteries and thrillers is that the bad guy almost always gets it in the end – and everything is tied up. I will say that The Likeness and Faithful Place are both excellent reads, and I will continue to read whatever she writes. But I don’t know that I’ll ever get over that ending!

      1. Sheila – she changes the main character in each book – The Likeness is Cassie’s story. Faithful Place is a the story of a character we meet in The Likeness.

  7. It definitely doesn’t tie up things in a pretty little package!! I know a lot of people were upset with the ending (or lack thereof) but she’s such a good writer. Continue on with her … I promise that the future books aren’t as messy at the end!!!

  8. I agree that the ending was very frustrating. I do like closure to my books and a neat little bow isn’t so bad either. But the one thing that was positive about the ending being a bit untelling is that it led to a great book discussion for with my book group. Everyone had different ideas about what happened and we all tried to provide more proof to why our ending was *Right. I am looking forward to reading Likeness.

  9. I have to be honest . . . I remember very little about this book. I know I loved it, but I can’t remember the ending. Bad, I know. Maybe that is the downside to reading so many books. It is a lot harder to remember the details for every single one!

  10. I completely agree that everything was amazing up until the end. It almost seemed like it wasn’t intentional – you know, Rob’s whole story situation and the fact that nothing was resolved. However, Faithful Place was so entertaining aside from being a little farfetched. I’m reading The Likeness now and LOVE Cassie Maddox. I find that while the whole situation might not be completely sound, but it’s certainly been a fun read. I can’t wait for her next book to come out!

  11. I am in the middle of reading this book now and, although I didn’t read your entire review I see I am probably going to be irritated by the ending. Oh well! I’ve still heard great things about the book and so far, I’m enjoying it. So I’ll keep on going!

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