Book Review: In The Woods

CLAIRE OLIVER
The sun has set in a small town in Ireland, and three anxious mothers are calling in their children who have vanished into the dark woods. Then Rob Ryan, who is one of the children, is found clinging to a tree with a terrifying look and blood-stained sneakers. The other kids are nowhere to be found.
Twenty years later Detective Rob Ryan is investigating the murder of a twelve-year-old girl that is directly linked to his chilling past. With the help of his fellow investigator Cassie Maddox he must piece together the evidence and solve the case on hand, but will he solve his mysterious past as well?
In the Woods by Tana French reads like a journal. She is very meticulous in her writing and gives lots of detail. It is not like some of the murder mystery’s I have read like Sherlock Holmes. She focuses mostly on things “in the moment”. In other words, the book is like an endless timeline. There aren’t any major time gaps in between each chapter. Which makes some of the book boring. The first 200 pages were not exciting at all. I couldn’t really get into the story as much as I wanted too. At first I thought it was going to be a love story between Cassie and Ryan, but French dropped that story idea pretty quick which was confusing. One moment Ryan is practically in love with Cassie and then he just forgets about it. When the body was found it started to get a little more exciting. Unfortunately there are a lot of characters in the story so it was hard to grasp why Cassie and Ryan were making one character out to be the murderer instead of another more obvious one. Interrogations and interviews with suspects helped to better develop a plot line.
The book has very crude language. I think it is more geared towards adults than teens because of the way each character talks and acts. It is very descriptive too. French uses colorful words to describe simple things like summer days or powerful memories. Ryan talks like a detective, he pays attention to details and it shows in the way he speaks and talks about his life outside the office.
Overall I thought the book was okay.  It didn’t capture my attention in the way I thought it should’ve. There were too many facts and details crammed into one page I had to read each word carefully, or I would miss something. That is expected from a murder mystery, but I was worried that the ending would be confusing. I don’t think I will read the rest of the series. I wouldn’t call it a total failure though, the imagery was what carried me through the book. I would recommend it for an older audience.

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