Book Review · Crime/Thriller/Mystery/Horror · In-Person Book Club

In the Woods by Tana French

Dublin Murder Squad, #1

Genre: Crime/Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 429
Publication Date: May 17, 2007

Rating: 3-star-review out of 5
Story Perspective: First-Person
Themes: Honesty, Relationships

downloadThree children go into the woods. One comes back.

Twenty years later, Rob Ryan, the surviving boy is a detective and has kept his past a secret. However, when a young girl is found dead in those same Irish woods, Ryan revisits his past and tries to make sense of the present. Could the disappearance from years ago relate to this case? Could he get the answers he’s longed to know all these years?


Toward the beginning of this read, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Though the disappearance of the children was definitely something that sparked my interest, Ryan’s voice at first was of little interest to me. However, as time went on, I became used to his tone and began to enjoy the read a bit more. 

Ryan, as a character, was made to be a broken and lost one. He went through something so traumatic, losing his best friends and never knowing what happened to them as a child. This would lead anyone to feel lonely and unsure. This also leads to unstable relationships. His detective partner, Cassie, is someone who is so understanding and one of my favorite characters here. Unfortunately, Ryan doesn’t truly see the benefits of what he has in their friendship.

In general, some characters are interesting and add a lot to the story while others not so much. But it isn’t the characters that has brought the rating of this book or even the writing; it is the plot itself.

The plot left several unanswered questions and has plot holes by the end of the read. I can understand that sometimes not all questions can be answered, but in a fictional work like this, it would have been nice to be given more than what the reader is given. The reader is left not knowing a lot and is left guessing. What’s troubling too is the subsequent books in this series doesn’t seem to really refer back to this one.

With considering the amount of plot holes and some frustrating moments, I rate this as an average book and do not plan on continuing the series.

Sure. To those who enjoy mysteries involving a flawed character and some unanswered questions.

4 thoughts on “In the Woods by Tana French

  1. I think that part of the point is that we aren’t supposed to know everything as readers of the book. Ryan is a very unreliable narrator and I don’t think the book would have fit its tone if it had tied up nicely. That being said, I can understand where you are coming from and don’t blame you for giving it the rating you did. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your thoughts, and for sure, Ryan was definitely not reliable as a narrator and that was on purpose. I think I just like resolutions or at least have it be explored more at later point, but this doesn’t seem to happen here, which probably was the angle. In any case, it’s great to hear your thoughts and I truly appreciate you commenting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I would agree. I was excited for this, so it was a bit disappointing that it didn’t meet my expectations. For me, in a series, I like to follow the same characters otherwise I don’t find it a series, they just happen to be books in the same genre, so for sure, I don’t plan on continuing. It’s good to hear that you agree the others are not as interesting. Thank you for your thoughts. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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