Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a 12-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 past.
©2007 Tana French; (P)2007 Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc.
First, the narration was very good. I would listen to him again.
Second, the first half of the book was also very good even with the overwritten parts. I wanted to know very much what happened in both crimes. I also liked the main characters, and I loved the relationship between the main characters.
Third, the second half of the book really changed my pleasure in listening to the book. The anger and animosity coming from our main character, Rob, was so incongruous with how he had been I was thrown. A very large part of the book that I had been enjoying was the friendship between Cassie and Rob, and once that was taken away, I did not enjoy the book as much.
Fourth, so much of the book was unnecessary and irrelevant that I found myself drifting for long moments (especially during the second half of the book).
Fifth, the conclusion was ridiculous and unresolved and frustrating.
It was almost like two people wrote this book.
From Austen to zombies!
In the Woods is a police procedural on the surface. A girl is murdered, and the protagonist and his partner try to find the killer. Underneath, however, it's the story of that protagonist, Detective Rob Ryan, and his attempts to know and overcome his own buried memories.
On the procedural front, there's everything a reader would expect from a modern detective novel: squad-room characters, a grumpy supervisor, the working relationship of Rob Ryan and his partner, Cassie Maddox. There is also suspense, some red herrings, some authentic leads, and an investigation that gives readers a look into the political and personal worlds of the suburb where the murder takes place.
By itself, this would have been satisfying enough, but In the Woods goes a step further. Rob Ryan, like many other modern detectives, has an ongoing problem. Inspector Morse had alcohol, Barbara Havers has her weight and shyness, but Rob Ryan's in a worse spot: he knows he escaped a horrible situation that presumably killed two of his childhood friends.
But unlike other detectives' problems, this one doesn't just get in Rob's way as he tries to solve the crime: his psychological state is the major part of the story. Parts of In the Woods are therefore quite depressing. Sometimes you want to strangle the guy--why did he DO that? What the heck is wrong with him? And then you remember: after what happened to him, he can't be all there.
In the Woods doesn't offer easy answers to this major story arc. For that, I applaud the author, because trauma that deep can't be solved with a sudden, triggered breakthrough. There's a start toward normality for Rob, but it's only a start.
I wouldn't mind seeing Rob again, but I don't expect him to be more normal next time. If anything, he might be in worse shape. The narrator did a fine job, with the exception of some female voices being a bit forced. Highly recommended if you're looking for a fresh, different detective novel.
One of the best-written and best read combinations around. I put off reading Tana French for a long time because I've been suckered too often, but when I was barely 1/4 way through Part One (of 3), I sat down and ordered the next two books she has written. The writing is THAT good. The story is elegant and moving and convincing, and the characters are more-real than most of the people in your own life. Steven Crossley has an amazing, rich and varied voice, an almost-beautiful thing to hear.
Here comes the flaw. This is a book which takes place in Ireland, in small town Ireland, amongst working class Irish people. ALL of them are Irish, but NONE of their accents are. The first-person narrator explains away his English accent by conveniently spending his teen years in English boarding school, but what of everyone else? It might be a sin for an English actor to attempt an Irish accent and do it badly, and I do love Crossley's voice, but surely there are Irish narrators looking for work? I've enjoyed many other Irish novels read by Irish readers -- in fact it is one reason I choose an audiobook over the print version sometimes. So, the English reader loses a star for this otherwise brilliant book.
Also China Miéville, Peter Hamilton, good space-opera, No Zombies, Apocalypses, Women who sigh and go weak at the knees when seeing a man!
Never have I given, to my friends or in the few reviews I have done here, a 5 star review. I cannot say enough about this book, and I really can't say much without it being a spoiler. I was amazed at the quality of the writing; tight, suspensful, well-rounded characters that you really cared about as well as vivid detailed descriptions of the countryside. I suspect that the "first novel" appellation may turn out to be false, and that this is written under a psuedonom (the writer is Tana French). Whatever, the book is a sitting in the car in the driveway, taking the Mp3 player into the house and listening during dinner book. I was unable to put it down. The author foreswears cliches and even the most jaded mystery reader will enjoy the twists and turns as our Detective protagonist trys to explore the depths of his boyhood memory to solve this modern day case. A fantastic book. If this author is really a newcomer, I await breathlessly the next book from Tana French.
Tana French wrote a good novel, but Steven Crossley, normally a proficient narrator, narrates this audiobook way...too...slow. While the audiobook is about 20 hours long, Crossley could have easily cut down the time by at least two hours by merely reading in a consistent conversational pace. There are inexplicably many, many long pauses, leaving the listener with a lot of dead air, and painfully slow-paced reading as if the narrator thinks he is reading to an audience who doesn't understand English very well. Nevertheless, Steven Crossley is blessed with a great vocal quality, and Tana French knows how to write a good story. If Crossley had had a speed-up button I could have pushed, this might have been a great audiobook.
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.
After listening to 75+ Audible books over the past 2 years, I can honestly say "In the Woods" ranks right up there among my top favorites. (It is also the only book I have bothered to write a review for.) The reader is fantastic and the story is gripping. Some Audible reviewers have complained about an unsatisfying ending. I totally disagree. I thought the ending was tight and all major conflicts were resolved at the end of the story. You won't be able to stop listening to this one. I can't recommend it enough!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I couldn't turn my Ipod off, I did extra housework to keep listening to it. In the end, though, don't look for straightforward answers. If you want a detective story that's nicely tied up in the end, this one may not satisfy. Some big loose ends are left dangling, let's hope the author has future plans to tie them up. If you want entertainment and an intriguing listen that will keep you guessing and make you think, though, this is definitely worth the listen.
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.
Tana French is in my opinion an excellent writer. She does like similes and detailed descriptive passages. These could bog a book down if one does not take pleasure in descriptive details. Fortunately, she is gifted and her similes are frequently poetic. It is my observation that the plot is of secondary importance. What she really writes about is relationships. So, if you are in no rush for the plot to progress and enjoy word pictures as well as a remarkable ability to explore and portray relationships, this is the book for you. If you have read or listened to "Faithful Place", you know exactly what I am talking about. I have just purchased "The Likeness". I am looking forward to it, but, because her books are somewhat heavy (not exactly cheerful), I may need to listen something of a lighter nature before listening to "The Likeness". The narrator was nothing short of fantastic.
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