Coincidentally, I just finished Benjamin Black's "Vengeance", another procedural set in Dublin. Black's novel is skillfully written, but is no match for French's, kicking with life and clear-eyed observation. She has, for instance, a hardened detective, but he is no romantic figure: he is, as she both demonstrates and remarks, merely "****ed up". All her characters are palpably human, and, quite rare in any fiction, she portrays a convincing "besties" friendship between a male and a female. Amid the general dark mayhem lurks a keen sense of humor.
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.
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 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.
The story really gripped me, and, as I listened through, I found myself doing housework with the ipod on, taking the long way home to listen a while longer etc. I don't mind the ambiguous ending - it's what I've come to expect in modern writing (and TV!). What irked me was the narrators unfamilarity with Irish colloquialisms (the use of the word "sure" and "yer man", etc.) and Irish place names, which were often mispronounced. Hearing placenames familiar to me prounced so oddly took me right out of the story...
Don't be afraid to listen to this book! I vehemently disagree with the reviews which make this book sound like an empty, slow, unsatisfying read.
It is beautifully written, with just the right amount of character flaws, dry humor, ironic twists, and bittersweet resolve peppered over a masterful crime novel.
The lack of Irish accents is not a problem, and the lack is, in fact, often referenced in the novel itself.
I would not be surprised, as this book seems to be the first in a series, that the mystery of "In The Woods" will resurface, and may ultimately be resolved.
The main crime portion of the plot *is* completely solved, and that is more than enough to keep me coming back to this author every chance I get.
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!
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.
There was a lot of potential with this story. I was excited when I saw the synopsis of it, but after I got to listening to it, it got longer and longer and we weren't going forward in the story. Without trying to give anything away, the "In The Woods" part of the story is never solved. I was hoping that the author would bring them together and tie up all the loose ends. After the story finished, I still feel like I'm "In the Woods".
It was a waste of time and money to listen to this one.