In the Woods by Tana French

In the Woods

By Tana French

  • Release Date: 2007-05-17
  • Genre: Mysteries & Thrillers
Score: 4
From 662 Ratings
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As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours. 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 twelve-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.

Richly atmospheric, stunning in its complexity, and utterly convincing and surprising to the end, In the Woods is sure to enthrall fans of Mystic River and The Lovely Bones. And look for French's new mystery, Broken Harbor, for more of the Dublin Murder Squad.


  • That ending tho!

    By Leslieamanda1
    Started a little slow, got really into it, and then that ending though!
  • In the woods

    By "/Garden Godess/"
    Such a disappointment. It was compelling and worth the effort for 2/3 of the book. The final chapters seemed like they were written by a different author.
  • In the Woods

    By Awesome! Awesome!
    Great at times but I gave it three stars because of the ending.
  • Not the detective story I was hoping for.

    By Annmric8
    In The Woods was a detective story about Ryan and Cassie who were partners in the crime department. I had different preconceived ideas about the direction of this story given the opening prologue of three kids missing in the woods. Turns out the story was about Ryan twenty years later. He was the only known survivor from the woods. Tana rambled on and on about nonsensical stuff that was not pertinent to the story. She inserted plot theories creating one distraction after another. I kept thinking when are the detectives going to solve this crime instead of drum up all this dirt on the local residents. The story contained three mini plots working simultaneously in conjunction to the crime of Katy. The story began with introducing Adam and his two friends who were playing in the woods. Adam was found having no recollection of what happened to him or his friends. Twenty years later, Ryan is a detective and he claimed it had nothing to do with him wanting to solve his case. Coincidentally, a twelve year old girl was found in the same woods. Ryan worked the case hoping to trigger some memories of his own. This was quite appealing to me and I had hoped for the same of Ryan. I desperately wanted information as to the wearabouts of his two friends and the mystery behind his shoes and shirt. Apparently, Ireland had no crime scene investigation team to aid in the discoveries of the 1984 missing kids case. Tana paralleled these two cases by comparing how twenty years later with some high tech equipment and some experienced field investigators a crime could be solved. Yet, the efforts, resources, and clues were still slow in showing results. Until they could find something concrete that fancy equipment was of no use. A lot of components made up this story offering many layers. I needed a notebook to keep track of all the characters and who they were related to and who they worked for. Not to mention the environmental aspect of the story. The detective process was time consuming and really boring since most information led to nothing but more nonsense. I suppose this is typical in detective findings. Cassie's character became extensively developed yet I waited for Ryan's character to reach this same level of development after all this story was about him. Ryan's character had no business being a detective in my opinion. Tana pulled at my heartstrings in the beginning making me believe Ryan could be holding vital information about his friends and possibly link it to the current case in the woods. Instead, Ryan was a mess. He barely functioned as a human being let alone a working detective. I did not care for Tana's style or technique in this detective story. Her approach and delivery at times was filled with unnecessary distractions. I felt lured into the story by the concept of three kids missing in the woods to find out the case was unsolved and Adam became a detective unrelated to his unsolved case. I wish Tana would have provided Ryan's detective history prior to solving this case. Cassie's character had talent to profile people. She was by far the best character in the story. Sam was another great detective who seemed to gather evidence appropriately. Ryan unfortunately was preoccupied and mentally unstable. I found him incapable of reading people. He was easily manipulated.
  • Loved it!!!

    By Chikjfbdjmf
    Age 19 when I read it. And it was my first mystery book, it's gotten me hooked
  • Great Start

    By Plays With Fire
    This novel starts with a chilling situation that really grabs the reader. The characters are well developed and interesting in their own right. About halfway through, however, the whole story bogs down with uninteresting situations, boring discussions about alcohol and smoking, lots of flowery prose and an unsatisfactory ending all of which prevent me from reading any further in the series.
  • Plodding Narrative

    By Woolsandfire
    Artful writing, character development long and boring, and the historical subplot anti-climactic. Need more than "dark woods" to frighten today's reader.
  • Meh

    By Holli1215
    This book started off great and I was into it about 3/4 through and then it dragged on forever. I kept reading because I wanted to know what happened at the end and all the questions weren't even answered! So frustrating
  • Good read; great book

    By NAMason
    French is a wonderful writer. She has created full, real characters and a brilliant mystery story. Her imagery is vivid and her poetic writing evokes emotions. I could not stop reading this and cannot wait to start her next book.
  • In the woods

    By Martagirl39
    An ending that included wrapping up the only part of the book I really cared about would have been nice. An open ending is not really an option for a mystery. U kind of want the mystery solved. That's why u keep reading. 😐