In the Woods is dark, complex and twisty but not in a gimmicky sort of way. It is the murder mystery I have been waiting for and I have already added the second and third books in Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series to my TBR list. It’s a mystery novel that is more than simply a “whodunnit.” It’s a rumination on memory and friendship with a conclusion that is an emotional kick in the gut.
In 1985, three children disappeared into the woods behind their small Dublin suburb of Knocknaree to play. Only one was ever seen again. Twelve year old Adam Ryan was found by search parties late that night clutching a tree with his shoes filled with his playmate’s blood and no memory of what happened. In present day, Adam Ryan is now Detective Rob Ryan of the Dublin Murder Squad. No one knows about his past aside from his partner Detective Cassie Maddox. Rob is pulled back into his memories of Knocknaree when he and Maddox are assigned to the murder of a twelve year old girl in the area. Rob struggles with the current case and his sparse memories of the 1985 murders as he tries to find the young girl’s murderer.
I did not want to put this book down. I spend almost all of a miserable sick day from work plowing through as much as I could. Meals were and bedtimes were delayed because I kept wanting to read one more chapter. This was that kind of book for me. It had the feel of season one True Detective at its atmospheric best. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves gritty detective novels and has somehow missed this book published in 2007 to pick it up.