kirstennnnnn (kirstennnnnn) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

In the Woods by Tana French

book 57: In the Woods by Tana French

This is the first novel by author Tana French. I think I was expecting a horror, but it turned out to be a murder mystery set on the outskirts of Dublin, Ireland. It's written very gradually and subtly, more like a favorite crime show than a movie where everything has to be high-impact to get through the story in the allotted time. I think the slow build adds to the psychological suspense, adding pressure so slowly that you can't tell it's creeping up on you. The plot is based on a couple of child murders, one new and one twenty years prior. The catch is that the homicide cop in charge of the case is, unknown to most of his team, the one surviving child from the earlier unsolved crime, who had subsequently lost his memory of the events up to and surrounding the disappearance and probable murder (lots of blood that was not his) of his play mates. The dialogue is smooth and clever. My only critiques are: 1. the main character didn't feel 100% real, more like a man written by a woman, although I can't put a finger on why; 2. the main character suddenly turned into a grade-A prick in the middle of the novel which seriously affected how much I could care about what happened to him; 3. some of the mysteries of the novel were left unresolved at the end, leaving me feel wanting. I discovered that the book is to be the first in a series with the female homicide partner playing lead in the next installment, The Likeness, so my hope is that some of the creepy things left unanswered are part of an over-riding arc that will be revisited in the future. I was immersed enough and am curious enough to read more (someday) to find out. I guess enough other people were as well, since this first novel won the author an Edgar.
Tags: award winner, ireland, murder mystery, police drama, suspense

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