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In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad #1)

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  162,705 Ratings  ·  12,586 Reviews
A gorgeously written novel that marks the debut of an astonishing new voice in psychological suspense.

As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children. He is gripping a tr
Hardcover, 429 pages
Published May 17th 2007 by Viking (first published 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan 06, 2011 Matt rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Khanh (the Grinch)
Some wounds will never heal, and there will forever be a Rob Ryan-shaped scar in my heart.

Some books are written deliberately to provoke sadness. It's fucking easy to induce someone to tears when the book is about a dying cancer patient with a labrador retriever whose leg has been amputated, with one ear missing. The most effectively emotional books are the ones where you least expect it. The ones that sneak up on you.

There are differing degrees of sadness, the type that makes one curl into a ba
Sep 19, 2014 Nataliya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nataliya by: Catie
"What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this - two things: I crave truth. And I lie."

This book is brilliantly cruel - a story of deep and painfully real psychological f*ckery masquerading as a murder mystery. There's nothing "feel good" about it. If you like a book to leave you feeling warm and fuzzy at the end, it's not for you. If you like neat resolutions - it's not for you (and if you already read this book, you know exactly what I'm talking about). If you hate being left with
Emily May
May 17, 2015 Emily May rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Emily May by: Tatiana, Catie, Megan
Though the isbn is the same as the one pictured, my edition of this book has a much creepier cover and tagline:

Needless to say, I was completely expecting something a bit dark and twisted, a creepy psychological murder mystery with an outcome I never would have seen coming. And I got that. But I never expected this book to leave me feeling so... sad. And you know why? Because I cared. Ms French carefully builds up a complex personality for each of her characters, complete with a past, a sense of
Monique Bos
Jun 02, 2008 Monique Bos rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dera Weaver
Jul 28, 2008 Dera Weaver rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 12, 2010 karen rated it liked it
it must be really hard to write convincing mystery novels. you can't have your killer be too obvious or no one will bother reading past the third chapter. but you can't have them be too unexpected, without textual support, or you will be accused of cheating. the super-saturation of police procedurals in all their manifestations: literary and film and teevee, sets the genre up for failure - it just adds up to a steaming bowl of repetition and a dessicated medium. there are about five ways a murde ...more
Dec 04, 2013 J.D. rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 06, 2015 Kemper rated it really liked it
This book is tricksy.

Rob Ryan is a veteran homicide detective with the Dublin police along with his best friend and partner, Cassie Maddox, and the two start working a case involving a young girl found murdered at the site of an archaeological dig. Sounds like it could be the cold open of an episode of CSI: Ireland, right?

Ah, but that’s only part of the story. Rob is actually from the area where the girl is found, and 22 years before he and two friends went to play in the nearby woods and somet
Dan Schwent
Dec 13, 2014 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
When a twelve year old girl is found murdered at an archaeological dig, Detective Ryan and Maddox are on the case. But what does this case have to do with a similar case twenty years earlier, a case that saw an adolescent Ryan as the only survivor?

As a veteran of detective fiction, riddles, and brain teasers, I'm a big fan of mysteries that keep me guessing. In the Woods was one of those sorts of mysteries.

In the Woods is the story of two detectives looking for answers, both on the case they're
Jan 26, 2011 Tatiana rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of dark mysteries
Recommended to Tatiana by: Megan
As seen on The Readventurer

In the Woods reminded me a lot of Gillian Flynn's novels (Sharp Objects and Dark Places). All these books are very dark mysteries/psychological thrillers and they all are as much about particular crimes the narrators investigate as they are about the narrators themselves, a disturbed bunch.

Rob Ryan, a detective on the Dublin Murder squad, and his partner Cassie Maddox are assigned to investigate a murder of a pre-teen girl. The thing is, the girl's body is found in the
Jan 11, 2014 Samadrita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who want to get their hearts broken but in the best way possible
Recommended to Samadrita by: Jill
It's been a while since I have read a book that has left me so utterly devastated, a book entailing such a profound emotional investment that having finished it I feel a gaping emptiness within, a sense of loss. It feels like my heart has been simultaneously crushed into pulp under the weight of the tragedies that descend on the lives of a handful of characters and blown to smithereens. And I would never be able to pick up the pieces and glue them back together into a throbbing whole again.

I rea
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 13, 2008 Loren rated it liked it

Three-and-a-half stars

Years ago, one of my father’s clients -- a man from the Emerald Isle named Cosgrove -- dropped by our place and, during the evening, got an insatiable hankering for the hard stuff. So my mother (who was essentially a teetotaler) found a bottle of small-batch scotch someone had given her as a gift and poured him four fingers’ worth. My father began to rib him about his prodigious thirst, but Cosgrove looked at him over his highball with dea
Dec 03, 2014 Carol. rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes mysteries, psychological analysis, lovely word-smithing
Shelves: mystery, male-lead
I started this series out of chronological order, which only increased my appreciation for French. By some odd chance, I happened upon a new copy of her second book, The Likeness, in the library just waiting to be checked out, while In the Woods had a wait list of at least 100 people. I followed with Faithful Place, immersed myself in Ireland of forty years ago and promptly forgot to get on the waiting list for Woods. Nataliya's lovely review reminded me what I was missing (here: http://www.good ...more
Mar 06, 2016 Lyn rated it really liked it
Brilliant, easily one of the best murder mysteries I’ve ever read.

Tana French’s 2007 introduction to her Dublin Murder Squad series eschews “normal” detective prose for a more literary and artistic approach. Hers is not the terse and journalistic objectivism of hard-boiled literature, nor the overly technical and post-modernistic dialect of more recent crime writing. French’s language is rich and erudite, blending the best of many genre’s into a style that is fresh, unique and intoxicating.

I am not sure why it took me so long to read this book. Since first starting IN THE WOODS in March, I picked it up and stopped reading it two or three times, until finally last week I started over from the beginning and finished it in less than a week. I do that a lot, but I am much more aware that I do it now that I am on Goodreads. I always feel like once I have marked a book down as "currently reading" I am doing some disservice by not finishing, or that it tends to make me look flighty. I am ...more
Aug 10, 2012 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've just finished reading through some reviews on for this book. It had been awhile since I read Karen's review of the book, and I had forgotten what she said about it, but I was surprised that this book inspired rage in her. Especially because she forced this book on to me, really. She pretty much shoved this book into my hands when we were at the library telling me to read this.

I might be a bit more forgiving about some of the weaker elements of the book. Normally a book like this I would re
It is impossible to even attempt to record the number of crime/mystery/thriller novels out there, and nearly all of them follow a similar pattern - something horrible happens, maybe an assault, maybe a rape, maybe a murder, and relatives/(police) detectives/whoever have to solve the mystery. This procedure has been applied thousands of times, and although exceptions to the usual pattern can, of course, always be found within the genre, they are rarely to be discovered.

But then there are books li
Mar 25, 2008 Marya rated it did not like it
Shelves: adult-mystery
Despite not finishing this book, I could not reconcile what I had read with the blurbs on the back cover. It was almost as though the review authors and I were reading entirely different books.

True, the author is prosaic, but that does not automatically translate into "beautiful and brilliantly evocative prose". I found her prose to be long-winded, and used exclusively for atmospheric descriptions, rather than to further the plot.

Secondly, the blurbs mentioned vivid characters. Indeed, the autho
Stacia (the 2010 club)
It took me a lot of thought and some discussion with a friend before I got to the point of understanding as to why people gave this book 5 stars. I think I sort of get it now. The entire last section of In the Woods rolled through as a slightly unexpected mind twist, unsettling the foundation of the story, and leaving the reader in a bit of a haze. There is definitely some talent in writing shown through the manipulation of reader emotion.

That said, it's not that I need books to be happy or even
Oct 20, 2012 Keertana rated it really liked it
Rating: 3.75 (?!) Stars

In the Woods is one of those books that you finish feeling bereft – bereft of answers, bereft of joy, bereft of happiness. Suddenly, grief and sorrow and despair are your companions as this is a novel that leaves you feeling so, so sad and heartbroken. It’s a story that will shock you to your very core, rattle your nerves, and make you re-think everything you ever thought was true. It is, in every sense of the term, a psychological thriller like no other.

When Katy Devlin

Huh? Seriously?
That’s all you’ve got? No freaking
way. Life is too short.

This book was okay
This book did not change my life
The font is too small

It did supply me
with a dysfunctional man
with a haunted past

Sometimes, when you are
close to someone, you miss things

Yes, she said...he said.

Now, I have to read
the damn sequel, (life is short)
Do you want marvels?
Jul 13, 2015 Kaora rated it really liked it
In my teens I read a lot of murder mysteries. I stopped as I got older and found a passion in traveling to new and exciting worlds in science fiction and fantasy. Murder mysteries stopped being surprising to me, and gradually I stopped reading them as I lost interest. However, this book had such rave reviews that I had to give it a shot.

And I was not disappointed. It has truly rekindled my love for the genre. For the most part.

There were two main issues I had with this book.

1. The ending in gene
Joe Valdez
Nov 06, 2015 Joe Valdez rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-suspense
I've heard about readers who become so absorbed in a good book that they stay up late to finish them, or talk to the characters, or turn the pages hoping that something bad doesn't happen to them. I rarely if ever have reading experiences that primal; I'm usually analyzing the character development, narrative, even the margins and the design of the book, all from a safe remove, sort of like a naturalist perched in a camouflaged blind, studying.

In the Woods, Tana French's debut novel which launch
This is my job and you don't go into it - or if you do, you don't last without some natural affinity for its priorities and demands. What I am telling you before you begin my story is this, Two things: I crave the truth. And I lie.
 photo in the woods_zpsowltx5ll.gif

I had the delightful pleasure of Group reading this intensely awesome book with my friends Unnati and Christine. That being said, this was my first Tana French novel and I totally enjoyed it. I can't give nothing away as my two other reading buddies are still readi
May 11, 2011 Martha rated it it was ok
I kept going back and forth between being drawn in by this book and getting bored with it and wanting to put it down. The idea of a detective having to deal with a case that hits home personally is kind of done to death, but I heard the author interviewed on the radio and thought this book might be interesting. She said she planned to write a series with the same characters, but there would be a different lead character in each one. That seemed like a good idea, since series novels can get repet ...more
May 23, 2016 Algernon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016

After almost five decades of reading all sorts of books, I suspect I am becoming blase and a bit cynical about the writing trade, especially when it comes too such a formulaic and overdone field like police procedurals and crime stories in general. But once in a while I still stumble across the genuine article and the thrill is back with a vengeance, the mouth forms automatically into the "WOw" shape and I find myself again reading into the early morning hours on a workday.

I usually wait a
Aug 21, 2012 Reynje rated it really liked it
Recommended to Reynje by: Catie
”And then, too, I had learned early to assume something dark and lethal hidden at the heart of anything I loved. When I couldn't find it, I responded, bewildered and wary, in the only way I knew how: by planting it there myself.”
While Tana French’s debut is full of equally powerful and beautiful writing, I chose this quote for two reasons. Firstly, because it spoke to me in a very direct manner as an idea I can relate to all too well. And secondly because it speaks to French’s mastery of char
Jun 16, 2016 Fabian rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing... really excellent. I took a risk at the UTEP library just picking this out at random... and what serendipity it was! This particular week was rife with parties and late nights (daytime reserved for sleep) and all throughout "In the Woods" was a faithful companion... it was a pleasure to get back into it, for it's a dense and meticulous, brilliant piece of literature. It kicks "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"'s ass... people, READ THIS INSTEAD!

You feel so much for the trio of
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Tana French grew up in Ireland, Italy, the US and Malawi, and has lived in Dublin since 1990. She trained as a professional actress at Trinity College, Dublin, and has worked in theater, film and voice-over.
More about Tana French...

Other Books in the Series

Dublin Murder Squad (6 books)
  • The Likeness (Dublin Murder Squad, #2)
  • Faithful Place (Dublin Murder Squad, #3)
  • Broken Harbor (Dublin Murder Squad, #4)
  • The Secret Place (Dublin Murder Squad, #5)
  • The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad, #6)

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“I am not good at noticing when I'm happy, except in retrospect.” 246 likes
“I had learned early to assume something dark and lethal hidden at the heart of anything I loved. When I couldn't find it, I responded, bewildered and wary, in the only way I knew how: by planting it there myself.” 239 likes
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