Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tara French - In The Woods - Book Review

         This was the first in the series of the Dublin Murder Squad.  What I liked about the book was that this was a great change of pace for me since this was more than just another police procedural.   It was a powerful psychological drama.  

          First, there was the story of the murder of Katy Devlin, her body found in the woods in the town of Knocknaree.  From there, it’s up to Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddux to solve the murder.  

           Then there is the second part of the mystery, where Rob Ryan, who was known as Adam Ryan, disappeared when he was 12 along with two of his friends only to be found hours later in a pair of blood-soaked sneakers.  The author did a great job of blending both stories together.  

            While the plot was going through suspects to see who murdered Katy Devlin, Ryan and Maddux’s friendship is put to the test as that only brings even more tension to this story since you never really know where it’s going to go by the time it’s over.  That made the story even more gripping.  

             To me, this was a great psychological drama at it’s best with some great and memorable characters that blend into the story and make the plot even more complex.  Much of it is seeing Katy’s family being questioned and the roles of the other family members such as Rosalind and Jessica.  

              My biggest complaint in the story was that some of the early chapters were overdone with long backgrounds of the characters as well as inner thought.  On the other hand, I would say that the prose is great and the writing is the best I’ve ever seen in a long time.  It was a challenge on one hand to get through the early part of the book but the beauty of the writing made up for it.  

              It all lead to some twists and turns and the frustration of Ryan and Maddux going through suspects to find the murderer.  All this led to a lot of surprises.  I can see the similarity between In The Woods and Lehane’s book, Mystic River, which was one of my favorites.  

              All in all, this was a great read as well as a great change of pace from the whodunit novels.  I’ll give it five stars and look forward to reading the other books. 

Ron Hummer

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