In the Woods by Tana French


In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad, #1)In The Woods (Dublin Murder Squad #1)

Author: Tana French

Genre: Thriller, Fiction, Mystery

Originally Published: May 17th 2007

Format: Kindle (429 pages)

Goodreads:        Book         Author


Synopsis: 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. He is 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 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.


My Rating: ★★★★

This is a dark and deeply psychological thriller. Detective Ryan and his partner, Cassie, are tasked with solving the murder of a 12 year old girl after her body is found dumped at an archaeological site. Little does Ryan know how this case is going to drag up his own dark history as the only remaining survivor of the mysterious disappearance of his friends in the same town.

The investigation takes a lot of twists and turns and I really enjoyed every second of it. I had a few ideas on who I thought was the murderer, but even that was twisted into something I hadn’t expected in the final reveal at the end. I would have liked to learn more about Ryan’s own childhood and got some more clarification on that, but I don’t know if that is being saved for future books in the series.

What did I love most about the book?

My absolute favourite thing about this book is the depth of the characters. Each and every character in this book has a complex and intricately built personality, they each have their flaws and they just feel SO real. I cared very deeply about the characters. Cassie was my favourite. I loved how strong and independent she was and I adored her friendship with Ryan. These two made me laugh, sympathise, feel jealous and then they made me awfully sad. I just loved their interactions and how carefully their friendship was written, it was so important to this novel and the investigation.

Memorable Quotes

“I had learned early to assume something dark and lethal hidden at the heart of anything I loved. When I couldn’t find it, I responded, bewildered and wary, in the only way I knew how: by planting it there myself.”

“Maybe she, like me, would have loved the tiny details and inconveniences even more dearly than the wonders, because they are the things that prove you belong.”

“For a moment, I felt as if the universe had turned upside down and we were falling softly into an enormous black bowl of stars, and I knew, beyond any doubt, that everything was going to be alright.”

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed the writing style of this book. It is, at times, a little too wordy but on the whole I thought the writing was detailed and intricate, leaving me feeling full of suspense and wanting to read on. There is no doubt in my mind that Tara French is a fantastic author and I will definitely be trying out the next book in this series at some point.

Have you read In The Woods or any other instalments of the Dublin Murder Squad series? What did you think? 

What are your favourite mystery/thrillers?


Feel free to follow me on Twitter or Goodreads. Comments are always warmly welcome. 

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8 responses to “In the Woods by Tana French

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  3. I really like Tana French as her books tend to be more about the psychology of the detectives rather than the crimes. In The Woods is a little frustrating but I think that’s what makes it great. If you like Cassie you should definitely keep going and read the Likeness as it’s all about her. The plot is a little unbelievable but it’s my favourite book in the series.

    Liked by 1 person

      • All of her books are very similar in that way. The only downside is if you don’t like the character she focuses on it’s not always the easiest read. I found that with the third book (which I’ve totally forgotten the name of). I’m actually ever hopeful she’ll bring back the characters from In the Woods.

        Liked by 1 person

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