BOOKwoodsThe first in a series of five books, Tana French’s debut novel is impressive and mind-bending, another stay-up-all-night read. Part police procedural, part psychological thriller, In the Woods is dark and mystifying, masquerading as a murder mystery for what is really a brilliantly cruel piece of psychologically mastery. For fans of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, Dark Places, and Sharp Objects, this book is a must read.

The story begins in Dublin, Ireland during the summer of 1984 when three children vanish in the woods. Two of them have disappeared forever, leaving Rob Ryan clutching a tree trunk in sheer terror, unable to speak, much less remember what had happened.

Twenty years later as a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad, Ryan buries his past in order to work on the case of a murdered 12-year-old girl who was found in the same woods. Detective Ryan and his partner, who have become fast friends, delve into past and present to solve the murder.

This first person novel is as much about the murder mystery as it is about the narrator himself and his dark and dreary past, which comes back to haunt him every time he visits the scene of the present crime. Are the two crimes connected?

You will wonder if Ryan’s repressed memories will resurface as he delves into the murder of another child in the same secretive and illusive woods. As you become privy to Detective Ryan’s thoughts and unravellings, the transformation he undergoes will be particularly striking.

Questions left unanswered will undoubtedly have you craving more. Reach for the next in the series, The Likeness followed by Faithful Place, Broken Harbour, and recently released final book of the series, The Secret Place. Find a good spot to read this, preferably with people around, but definitely not in the woods!

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