A great thriller, well read and acted, but the book should have been abridged. I could/would have skimmed through parts if I were reading the book, but this isn't easy to do when you are listening.
My husband and I listened to this on a road trip, and the first half was great. My husband gave up after 16 hours.
I give it 4 stars because the story and reader were good, but would recommend it only to those that like lots of description and words, not those who like suspense and get eager to know how it will end!
I intially found this book very interesting and certainly well written. In fact, its strength is in the narrative, rather than in the story. I was very disappointed by the drawn-out, unsatisfying conclusion. It was as if the author got bored and decided to conclude the book too quickly. You see, there are two main story lines, one concerning a recent murder which is concluded fairly reasonably, although not quite believably. I find it hard to believe that the police would not have looked more deeply into the victim's family, especially considering a family member does turn out to be involved in the murder.
The second is a disappearance that happened 20 years ago, with overtones of some sort of strange creature having possibly been the cause. This is never solved, but rather left hanging, making me wonder why then it was even brought up in the first place. Of course, the disappearance is part of the explanation for the twisted character of the main protagonist, but it would have been easy enough to create another reason for his actions.
Therefore, I was very interested at least 3/4s of the way through the book, then ultimately disappointed when it started to become apparent that the second story line was never going to be concluded satisfactorily.
I ignore genre labels. Some of my favorite books are outside my genre comfort zone. Listening to audiobooks is still reading. Not theater.
I think there should be a law against writing a mystery without actually solving it. This book took 20+ hours to read. It starts out relaying a story about 3 twelve year old children in Dublin who go into the woods to play, and only one of them is ever seen again. 464 pages later, the book ends and I still don't know what happened to the two kids who disappeared.
I also dislike it when I hate a book that everyone seems to love. I didn't actually hate In the Woods - at least not nearly as much as I hated The Night Circus and Gone Girl - but I didn't like it either. It was Tana French's first book and it won every award it was up for, including the Edgar. I just saw it on a list of the best books by 1st time authors in the last 50 years, along with Dr. Zhivago and Bonfire of the Vanities. So I obviously missed something.
Parts of the book were entertaining if highly implausible. The author does a great job of describing Dublin in the early 2000s. And some of the secondary characters are interesting.
The secondary mystery - the one that was actually solved - took forever to solve and the resolution was so obvious, from the moment the ultimate brains behind the operation was introduced. The book is narrated from the perspective of the main character looking back over the events. We are supposed to believe that this is a bright guy and good at his job, yet he makes mistake after mistake, including being totally taken in by the main person behind the secondary murder. It was so obvious that the person was a sociopath, and a very annoying sociopath at that, yet the main character seemed totally charmed, and based on the narration, the author apparently thinks the reader would also be charmed. Either the author needed to dial way back on the sociopath vibe, or admit that her primary detective was terrible at their job. I think we are supposed to chalk the detective's blind spot regarding the ultimate villain up to the fact that this murder is intertwined in the original murder that happened 20 years earlier, which the detective was a major participant in, and that was freaking him out.
Clues were mentioned and then ignored. Then when the big "aha" clue came, the one that allowed the detective to figure out who actually committed the murder, it comes out of the blue and "how" the detective figured out the significance of the clue is never explained.
I've liked Steven Crossley's narration on other books, I think of him as Simon Prebble-lite. But his style was too heavy for this book and I think one of the reasons the ultimate bad guy was so obvious was the narration for that character.
My daughter convinced me to finish this book and read the next in the series. I usually share her taste in books and she liked In the Woods and loved the next book in the series. I have my serious doubts though.
The book was very descriptive. The author developed scenes and characters so fully that you could place yourself into the scene. I felt it was overworked. Too much Dylan Thomas over and over again.
The mail character starts out rather likeable but by the end becomes someone to avoid. I was disappointed int the long drawn out ending.
edit. edit. edit.
He was very good with all of the voices, even the women's voices.
I'm always on the lookout for multiple book authors like Child, John Sanford, Crais and even Clancy and Grisham. Judging from this first book, Ms. French could be next.
This book was a nice break from the American, everything ties up neatly in the end approach. The characters are intriguing and flawed, and ultimately pay the price (and that's the good guy), but oh so compelling, the realpolitik is (gasp) realistic, the story complex and engaging.
The reader was awesome, crafting words and accents with care, precision and art. Definitely a pleasure and a lovely change of pace to listen to an English accent.
As other reviewers have said, I cleaned the kitchen much longer, took the long way home day after day and stayed up late multiple times to get to the end of this one.
First novels by great authors are one of the rarest and greatest pleasures in reading/listening. Don't miss this one.
I've been an avid reader for years and just discovered the joys of multi-tasking with audio books. It always takes a while to get "into" the flow of a new narrator and this book was no different. I enjoyed Crossley's narration, albeit most characters should have had an Irish accent. The 2 star's reflect the lack of a conclusion to one of two story lines in the book. Why would anyone want to listen/read a mystery book with no conclusion?! I was more interested in the main character's personal story concerning the unexplained loss of his two childhood friends. If the author had revealed an ending to both stories I would have given this book 4 stars, but now I'm sorry I wasted my time listening to it.
As this book was wrapping up the end of plot #2, I was eagerly anticipating the wrap-up of plot #1. Sorry, too bad for me. I was just left hanging. After spending hours and hours developing plot #1, the author doesn't resolve it? What a huge disappointment. I give 1 star because I did enjoy the character development (as I pictured Jude Law as the protagonist!), and 1 star because I thoroughly enjoyed the narrator. Minus 1 star due to way too much unnecessary vulgarity, and minus 2 stars for the gaping hole of an ending.
I prefer more action, humor, and excitement in the books I listen to; but I had to give "In the Woods" five stars, because Tana French wrote it so beautifully. It proceeds slowly and quietly, without thrills and chills, to the ultimate solution of the murder mystery. The solution does not provide the happy ending that I wanted, but probably more accurately depicts real detective work in the real world. I like the reader, Steven Crossley, but it puzzled me that he never used an Irish accent, since the story takes place in Ireland. Also, it disappointed me that the protagonist -- the detective solving the murder -- never solved his own twenty-year-old mystery that had propelled him into police work in the first place. I recommend this book to people who value exquisite character development and lyrical writing, but maybe not so much to fans of the mystery-thriller genre.
This was such a great read, I was dying to get to the end but not wanting to let the characters go... and then with a quarter of the book left the author decides to make the protagonist act totally out of character, to make his fiesty love interest run away and to never answer the mystery the book started out with! I was sooo disappointed. It could have been soo terrific!
This is undoubtedly the best detective novel I have ever read. The resolution of the "whodunnit" part is a complete surprise, but totally consistent with the evidence and built right into the plot from the beginning. You end up thinking, "Yes, that was obvious. Why didn't I see it?" The only reason I did not give it five stars is for one major shortcoming and a minor one. The major shortcoming is that it just moves too slowly. I think the plot could have been wrapped up in about half the length of this book, add a another quarter for the excellent character development, and you still have a book that is 1/4 longer than it needs to be. The minor shortcoming is that at the end there are still unanswered questions and loose threads to the story. It is probably appropriate that there should be, but it bothered me.