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by Tana French
Viking, May 2007
448 pages
ISBN: 0670038601

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In Knocknaree, a suburb of Dublin, Detective Rob Ryan and his partner Cassie Maddox are trying to solve the murder of 12-year-old Katy Devlin. Her body was found at an archeological dig.

Rob Ryan is not happy investigating Katy's death. It means he has to go back to Knocknaree where he was born. Twenty years earlier, Rob, then known by his first name Adam, and two of his friends went into the woods to play. Adam was found clinging to a tree with his sneakers filled with blood and slashes on his back. The bodies of his two friends were never found. When the police asked 12-year-old Adam what happened in the woods, the child couldn't remember a thing.

Adam's family sent him to a boarding school to get him away from Knocknaree. When he became an adult he stopped using Adam and used his middle name, Rob, instead.

As Rob and Cassie investigates Katy Devlin's murder they discover that her death might somehow be related to the missing children from 20 years ago. Only Cassie knows that Rob is the one child that came out alive. Rob knows that he should tell his superiors but he is determined to find out what happened to Katy and possibly remember what happened to him and his friends in the woods so long ago.

IN THE WOODS is author Tana French's first book and it is wonderful. French takes the readers slowly into the death of little Katy and shows us how it relates to Rob's friends' disappearance from the past. She introduces us to well thought-out characters and the very credible reason why the two incidents are related.

The relationship between Rob and Cassie is superb. The two get along very well and are close friends but as the book goes along we see how the two cases start to deteriorate their rapport.

The author also gives us a fine insight to the guilt that Rob feels about being the sole survivor from his experience and how that guilt starts to mislead and hinder him as the murder investigation continues.

When this well over 400-page book ended I was left wanting more. A wonderful thriller and top-notch first book, Tana French's IN THE WOODS should not be missed.

Reviewed by Sharon Katz, July 2007

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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