Sample
  • The Witch Elm

  • A Novel
  • By: Tana French
  • Narrated by: Paul Nugent
  • Length: 22 hrs and 7 mins
  • 3.8 out of 5 stars (8,451 ratings)

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The Witch Elm

By: Tana French
Narrated by: Paul Nugent
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Publisher's summary

Named a New York Times notable book of 2018 and a best book of 2018 by NPR, The New York Times Book Review, Amazon, The Boston Globe, LitHub, Vulture, Slate, Elle, Vox, and Electric Literature.

“Tana French’s best and most intricately nuanced novel yet.” (The New York Times)

An “extraordinary” (Stephen King) and “mesmerizing” (LA Times) new stand-alone novel from the master of crime and suspense and author of the forthcoming novel The Searcher.

From the writer who "inspires cultic devotion in readers" (The New Yorker) and has been called "incandescent" by Stephen King, "absolutely mesmerizing" by Gillian Flynn, and "unputdownable" (People), comes a gripping new novel that turns a crime story inside out.

Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who's dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life - he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family's ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden - and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.

A spellbinding standalone from one of the best suspense writers working today, The Witch Elm asks what we become, and what we're capable of, when we no longer know who we are.

©2018 Tana French (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Editorial Reviews

A satisfying slow burn
I'm a huge fan of Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad series, so I was more than excited for her first-ever stand-alone novel, The Witch Elm. What it shares with her other books is that knack she has for creating an amazing sense of place: always modern-era Ireland, but so much more precise than just that. Narrator Paul Nugent is new to me, but he’s quickly become a favorite. He gives a very clear picture of the book’s central character, Toby—a 20-something year old who (up until now) seems to have been blessed with good luck in all things. When something terrible happens to him, this completely likable-enough guy goes through physical and emotional challenges, to say the least. As he recovers from his own trauma, he finds himself back at the old family compound, Ivy House, to care for his ailing uncle. True to form, French turns Ivy House into a character in and of itself. It’s not your typical haunted house, but is equally as unnerving, especially after a skull is discovered hidden in the hollow of a witch elm in the backyard. Toby’s former sense of ease in life has been obliterated, and now he must confront the fact that he may have had it all wrong his entire (privileged) life. —Tricia F., Audible Editor


I waited obsessively for Tana French's new standalone novel to arrive, so when it finally did it felt like a luxury to linger so long in its unsettling world. It's an absorbing, intricate mystery about a young man whose happy-go-lucky worldview is upended by a devastating attack. Left with holes in his memories and physical challenges, he must reckon with his past when a skull turns up in a tree on his uncle's estate. The combination of luminous narration and prose is magic—and, no spoilers, but take a listen and hear why The Cut called it eerily prescient about the current cultural conversation. —Kat J., Audible Editor