Jeff's Reviews > In the Woods

In the Woods by Tana French
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's review
Nov 03, 2008

liked it

My friend Gio used many expletives to describe what I can only imagine to be frustration with this novel. Actually, all Gio offered were expletives--sans nouns and verbs--so I, of course, was very intrigued. Basically, Tana French delivers a police procedural set in present day, economically successful Ireland. I liked the characters. The lead, in particular, is flawed and frustrating; psychologically unable to move forward even as the reader roots for his success. There's also a great character in Cassie, the lone female member of the murder division on the Irish Police Force. The crime to be solved is theatrically gruesome, which is, I imagine, what bothered Gio. French, however, is less interested in the whodunit than she is in developing psychologically complex leads. I'm not sure she entirely succeeds, but I was compelled to finish nonetheless.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by jo (new) - rated it 1 star

jo did i inspire you with my enthusiastic remarks, jeff?

Jeff yes we can . . . I mean yes you did

message 3: by jo (new) - rated it 1 star

jo *** SPOILERS ***

no, it wasn't the gruesomeness. it was the fact that the protagonist's original trauma is a humongous red herring and, ultimately, remains unresolved, thus proving a useless and, yes, deeply frustrating narrative sidetracking; it was his extremely annoying personality, including all the bullshit (there i go again) he unexplainedly gets away with; it was the endless detours into should-have-been-edited-outland; and, finally, it was the fact that the novel is built for a sequel. that always gets on my nerves. it's bad enough in films, but in a work of fiction with literary pretense? nah.

glad you enjoyed it, though!

Jeff well yeah, Rob's childhood trauma proved to be a bit too tidy (as did the mirroring of Adam/Peter/Jaime with Rob/Cassie/Sam), narratively speaking, but I didn't mind that it was unresolved (I didn't find him annoying as much as I wanted him to let go of the past in some small way, which is what I think the novel circles around). As for a sequel I don't see what you obviously see, but I don't think I would pick up a second helping.

message 5: by jo (new) - rated it 1 star

jo for the sequel, i meant to solution to the kids' kidnapping, and more about rob's psychological torment.

you're so sweet jeff. it makes total sense that you'd identify somewhat with poor wee rob. :-)

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