Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a twelve-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox—his partner and closest friend—find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.
*May Contain Spoilers*
Tana French tempts readers with two hauntingly terrifying mysteries in her novel, In the Woods. When Adam Ryan survived the biggest tragedy Knocknaree had ever seen, he knew it would follow him forever. Always hunting, attempting to finish what was started during that last summer of innocence. So he hid, in plain sight as a Detective on the Dublin Murder Squad. Switching to his middle name and obtaining an English accent let him blend into crowd. Until Katy Devlin is found, murdered, just outside of the Knocknaree Wood that stolen the lives of Ryan's two friends.
Adam Ryan, Rob, is the main character of the novel and the point of view readers experience. He admits he isn't a reliable source throughout this investigation up front, allowing readers to know that he lies, and though the clues were right in front of him, he missed the murderer's flashing neon sign. Ryan is the character that readers want to help: give him a little pat on the shoulder and a few words of encouragement. He's the character who appears strong but falls to pieces. He not only evokes sympathy and understanding out of the readers, it's deeper than that. It's as if, through this entire story, no other perspective matters because the current investigation is linked to the past investigation and Ryan can see both. But it's a facade, a trap door, a set-up for the reader. The Ryan that is presented by the details, situations, and events is not the same Ryan presented by the novel's point of view (Ryan himself). It's an investigation full of intrigue and disappointment, with Ryan giving the grand tour.
The plot of the novel mainly follows the murder investigation of Katy Devlin. It does include some flashbacks to the tragedy that befell Ryan and his two closest friends, though his memory of that time is nearly non-existent. There is a short lived side-plot love story and an interesting political sub-story, but these all revolve around the case and finding Katy's killer. Though the investigation does lead the Murder Squad to the killer, the ending is a loophole that will bring readers to the edge. Highly entertaining novel with gorgeous style and immense detail, which is just lovely in a murder investigation.
Rating: 4/5 Cups