Monday, August 2, 2010

In the Woods by Tana French

In the Woods

Pages (Paperback): 464 pages
Publisher: Penguin
Released: May 27, 2008

Quick Thoughts: Can I just start by saying that this has a gorgeous cover. It's simple, yet beautiful at the same time. I love it. And that is more or less the reason why I wanted to read this book. What can I say, I'm easy to please and very shallow when it comes to book covers.

Review: One day, Adam Ryan and his two friends decide to go into the woods and play, something they usually did. Except, only Adam of them comes back and they can't seem to remember anything from that day. Twenty later, Adam, who now goes by the name of Rob, is a police officer. His past remains hidden from almost everyone that he knows and he intends to keep it that way. But when a girl is murdered in the same woods that his friends disappeared in, Rob will have to face his past whether he likes it or not.

Okay, maybe not, since the past is never solved. One of the things I really wanted to read about was his past. Two kids disappear, one kid returns disheveled with blood on his shoes, he doesn't remember what has happened and no one has a clue either. His friends remain missing and his memory does as well. This just has oodles of opportunity to make a great mystery novel. And yet, nothing ever comes from it.  The mystery surrounding the girl who died, 20 years later, is predictable and not sadly not as interesting as Rob's mystery. Even though I do understand why French didn't resolve the original murder, I still wish that there was more about it. Not everything will be solved and some things will always remain a mystery, but I still want to know what happened.

One thing I loved though is how French dealt with Rob. He went from a likeable character that you want to root for, to someone who is just wrong, stupid, and unlikeable. His fall from grace was truly a joy to read. This may sound bad, but the more he fell, the more it made me want to keep reading to see how much of a bigger hole he could dig himself into. That and the fact that Rob constantly mentions that he's a very good liar, makes me wonder if he actually knows more about what happened to his friends then he is letting on.

The other characters couldn't really hold a candle to Rob, he was by far the most interesting person in the novel and the one who I wanted to read about the most.

Final Thoughts: From what I've read and seen, this is a book that you either love or hate. I simply fall in between.I do remember one part, near the end, when Rob is telling us about what happen and how we, as the reader, are fooled. Except, I wasn't. It's not because it was predictable (even though it was), but because throughout the novel there are little hints here and there, many from Rob narration, that guide you towards the truth.

In the Woods is a beautifully written novel with a character that is unforgettable, sadly, the book is predictable and we never find out what happened to Rob's friends.

Grade: 7.5 out of 10

In the Woods is available at bookstores and Amazon.

Check out the smaller version of this review at 5 Line Reviews

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