Monday, February 16, 2015

In the Woods

by Tana French

Detective Rob Ryan is good at his job, and he might be great if he didn't have this nagging unsolved mystery in his past creating a constant distraction. To begin, we learn that as a young teen, Rob (aka Adam) and his two best friends, Peter and Jamie go into the woods to a favorite hangout and stumble upon a rape in progress. The attacker notices the witnesses and begins chase, Rob escapes, his friends do not, but their bodies are never found.

Next we are introduced to the "main" mystery, a dancing prodigy who is murdered just before her departure to ballet school.  Ryan is assigned a new partner, Cassie who coincidentally reminds him of Jamie, which causes some conflicting emotions and instability for him. But he is determined not to let this sassy girl outshine him.

So that's it, two mysteries for the price of one! Here's what happens (perhaps a bit of a spoiler so proceed with caution if the above sounds interesting to you): the mystery of Katy the dancer comes to an unsatisfactory resolution. Despite the blatant clues the answer was still head-scratching. Intertwined throughout this story, Ryan is secretly revisiting the past in hopes of putting it to rest. As the story progresses, you can tell French wrote In the Woods as a beginning to a series, since it is obvious Ryan won't have all the answers by the end of these pages. Problematic though is the fact that by the end of this book, despite all the sneaking and spying, nothing else is uncovered. Detective Ryan is no closer to solving that mystery than he was on page 1. There is not one new clue! Furthermore, as the story develops the characters deteriorate to a point where I had lost interest in them and their plight.

In general the book is well written, just some plot flaws. If you like the noir genre then you'd probably enjoy this book and even continue with the series and discover whodunit. I have my ideas, but don't care enough to discover on my own... so if you read the rest of the story let me know.

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