Category Archives: Tana French

In The Woods – Tana French

I have had this on my to read pile a while. I originally wanted the hardback (which is very rare for me as for some reason hardbacks make my hands ache) but it was one of those ones with the coloured edges of the pages and would just look wonderful on a bookshelf. However the ‘tight’ me refused to pay silly hardback prices. So finally after noticing that Sophie Hannah recommends it as a ‘near perfect read’ on the back and re-reading the blurb that sounded fascinating and gripping I went for it.

The story centres around Detective Rob Ryan who twenty years ago was Adam Ryan, a boy who went into the woods near their estate and Adam was the only one they found, with no memory backed against a tree with some else’s blood filling his shoes. Ryan after being sent away to England has changed his name and has come back and has worked his way up to the Murder Squad. His first big case, with best friend and co-worker Cassie Maddox, happens to be a girl who is found on the outskirts of the very wood that haunts him now, could the two cases be connected?

I can’t answer that because I don’t want to give anything away for those poor souls of you who do take this book on. I hate to slate a book, I honestly do but I haven’t felt this let down in a long time. Tana French starts ‘In The Woods’ wonderfully and for the first hundred pages of the book I was hooked. It then felt like someone else had taken over, what was an intriguing and mysterious book became stilted. The book centred on Cassie and Ryan’s relationship and how ‘everyone felt excluded by them’ including their partner, oh and including the reader. It was like it was trying to be a romance or some clever cliché which then gets broken and you’re supposed to care.

Not only that, but bar a very creepy scene where noises are heard in and around the woods, the woods are barely mentioned which defeats the whole idea behind the book – without giving anything away. It’s hard not to when the ending is so disappointing it’s untrue. It felt like it lost its momentum, mystery and soul. Also a small point that really bugged me, the use of people listening to the Scissors Sisters and other bands randomly dates the book even though it’s modern but also sort of detracts you from the story, I can’t explain it exactly so I hope you know what I mean.

Sadly I was let down by this book and a little by Sophie Hannah’s recommendation, but I wont hold that against her. I have seen some people loved it on Amazon and others hated it. Maybe it’s a bit like Murder Marmite. I think the cover (though this isnt the one on the copy I had) is absolutely brilliant though, very creep. Do they have book cover awards?



Filed under Hodder & Stoughton, Review, Tana French