Book Blitz (part 2): In the Woods, Tana French

Still working to catch up on all the books that I’ve read since my last book post–expect several more of these “book blitz” posts. (So named because, in theory, these reviews are going to be quick. Blitzed. Less analysis, more opinion and intro.)

Holy mother, these books were good. Like, couldn’t put them down, thought about ‘em in random moments when not reading, theorized about possible endings good. Amazing.

My sister found them, and had mentioned them to me a few times, but we talk about books a lot,  and I have a pretty extensive to-be-read list, so I hadn’t really gotten to them yet. And then she brought them to me.

Apparently I should listen to my sister.

In 1980-something, three children were playing—as they frequently did—in the woods behind their Dublin neighborhood. That afternoon, though, they didn’t make it home in time for tea. Search parties only found one of the children: Adam Ryan, a 12 year old boy, was clinging to a tree, tennis shoes splashed with someone else’s blood, completely unable to account for the last six hours or the whereabouts of his friends. The case was eventually shelved when no evidence could be found.

Twenty years later, Detective Ryan—who began going by his middle name, Rob, just after the events of that summer to avoid the press—just happens to be in the squad room when the report of a young girl’s murder comes in. As he and his partner, Cassie, drive to the site, he realizes that it is the same neighborhood in which he grew up. And the girl was found in the woods, and now it seems that the cases are linked…

This book was truly excellent. It’s not just ooh!- murderer!-scary!, it’s supernatural-scary. It’s an unexpected combination: police procedural, psychological drama but with these really ominous mythological overtones. Really good. Reminded me of (without being derivative in any way) A. S. Byatt’s “The Thing in the Forest”, found in the collection Little Black Book of Stories and Michael Connelly mysteries.

Seriously. Read this. Good stuff.

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