In the Woods

by Tana French | Mystery & Thrillers |
ISBN: 9780143113492 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 5/16/2022
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Monday, May 16, 2022
I got this softcover at a local thrift shop, for another release copy.

I first read the book because I was intrigued by the premise: three kids go into the woods one day and only one returns, traumatized and terrified, with someone else's blood on him - and no memory of what happened.

Fast-forward to his adulthood, where he's a police detective, called in to work on the murder of a young girl - very near the site where his friends disappeared so long ago. He's changed his name in the meantime and of his current co-workers, only his partner knows the truth. (I admit that when he decided to keep the secret so he could work on the case - however unlikely it might be that it was connected with his own - I winced; he *knew* what he was risking, up to and including making any evidence he might find ineligible in court, and it's a pretty blatant violation. Sure, he has his reasons, but it made it harder to sympathize with him later on - it could have been so easily avoided.)

Aside from that, he and his partner are fascinating characters, quirky and likeable, with a really marvelous relationship - he and she have been a great team, with no romantic complications and with personality traits that make them great foils for each other. When the two of them are assigned a third officer to join in their team investigating the murder, the three of them wind up having some truly delightful team-building scenes, whether they're working on the case or unwinding together after hours. I liked them all so much at this point that I really, really wanted main character Rob to confess to his bosses and get all three of them recused, so they could go do other interesting things without courting the inevitable disaster. But of course if they'd done that it would be a completely different story...

The case itself has some tantalizing aspects, and does cross over Rob's traumatic case as far as physical location goes. But it also raises new issues, among them Rob's judgement or lack thereof. He mutters something about how nobody could have spotted the plot-twist regarding the true killer of the young girl - but I noticed some things about one character immediately, and couldn't believe that Rob would let himself get taken in so badly. [Given that we learn everything from Rob's point of view, and he calls himself a liar, it's an interesting question: did he deliberately tip off the reader about the criminal's true nature only to taunt the reader for not noticing? I dunno.]

The main characters are flawed in various ways, with Rob's flaws being more blatant and deep-seated - not without cause, but still very frustrating, when he winds up wrecking all the good things in his life. I was so involved in the story that I got truly angry with him...

As for the mysteries, past and present: one gets solved, one does not, though there are flashbacks and hints as to different things that MIGHT have happened. There are even some hints at a supernatural possibility, though the reader is free to decide whether that was really due to drugs or trauma rather than some lingering nature-god at the site of an ancient temple {wry grin}. If you like your stories tied up neatly, this one probably isn't for you, but if you enjoy intriguing characters and complex plots, you might like this very much.

The author has continued this series as a loosely-linked set of books, each one following a different character into new and different areas. I've enjoyed all of them so far, though I admit that I'm still hoping for a future novel that will bring us back to Rob and his fate; then again, perhaps this book says all that's really necessary... [There's a very good audiobook version of this novel, btw; recommended. And there's a TV Tropes page on the series, with some entertaining tidbits. And there's a TV series adaptation, Dublin Murders - though I admit I didn't care for the way it handled the material. It took the first two books and played them out as if happening concurrently, more or less, with some loss of the sense of teamwork for Rob and his mates.]

Released 1 mo ago (5/17/2022 UTC) at Lake Massebesic Conservation area off Rt. 121 in Auburn, New Hampshire USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I left this book, bagged against the elements, on a bench in the little memorial park on the lake shore just across NH-121 from the Auburn Town Clerk's office; hope someone enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in NH here.]

** Released for the 52 Towns in 52 Weeks challenge. **

** Released for the TV Series challenge. **

Journal Entry 3 by ggirol at Auburn, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, May 21, 2022
Found it today (May 20) while bike riding around Massabesic Lake in Auburn, NH. Right where it was left on the 17th. Bag was sealed nicely so the book was undamaged by the recent rains. Will read and pass it on.

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