In The Woods by Tana French – Review

Welcome bookish friends! I hope you are having a fantastic Friday. Today, I’ll be reviewing In The Woods by Tana French. This was an okay mystery that went downhill at the end. The characters were meh and I wasn’t feeling very attached to the book.

Book: In The Woods

Author: Tana French

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Summary: 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 gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

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.

Richly atmospheric and stunning in its complexity, In the Woodsis utterly convincing and surprising to the end.

Quote: “I am not good at noticing when I’m happy, except in retrospect.”

*Mysteries. The mysteries were honestly good. I loved the fact that Rob was being tortured by his past (like in a good not bad), and the new murder that seems to be linked to the previous kidnapping. I was expecting this to be haunting, painful, and quite sad as well as very tough for Rob to deal with. This book lived up to my expectations in that respect.

*Rob and Cassie’s friendship. I LOVED with a capital L-O-V-E-D the dynamic and relationship between these two. The way that they understood each other, and annoyed each other, and knew each others ticks and some of each other’s secrets was just beautiful! A reader who didn’t start the book from the beginning would think they were married or in a non-platonic relationship, but they were friends and nothing more. However, there were some bad aspects which are mentioned below.

Quote: “What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this — two things: I crave truth. And I lie.”

*Rob. As you continue reading, you realize how crappy and how much of a jerk Rob actually is. Sometimes, he’s not really to blame as he’s haunted by his past, but still. As the story progresses and he becomes more embroiled in the case, his mental and physical health deteriorates. He makes reckless decisions, becomes blinded with desperation, and in general just totally goes off the rails. At first I was sympathetic, and then I got mad (my patience and sympathy can only last for so long), especially at the end.

*That Ending. I really disliked that ending and I will not recommend this book for that reason. You can read the spoiler by pressing on the arrow, but if you still want to give this book a chance, just know that I was absolutely devastated and angry with the ending.

I despised the ending of this book for several reasons. One being the fact that Rob utterly and irrevocably destroyed his friendship with Cassie. Two, he didn’t even try to fix it until he heard that she was getting married. And then in the most pathetic way I’ve ever read, he calls her to tell her that he loves her. THE STUPID IDIOT. Three, he didn’t pull back when it got too much during the investigation nor did he want to accept help. He was blinded by the investigation, by the suspects, and Cassie was covering for him as much as she could, and she still believed in him and in their friendship and he didn’t give a thought about it until it was all too late.

It seems like I’m being ridiculously harsh on Rob, but I honestly don’t blame Cassie for leaving him. After that incident he destroyed everything and I was screaming at him the whole time. Even at the 90-95% mark, I was still hoping and praying that they’d at least end their friendship properly if not take baby steps into trying to save it.

I would have been fine if they’d at least said to each other that they couldn’t be friends any more, and I would have been a lot happier if they’d tried to talk it out or take baby steps into repairing their friendship. BUT NOOO. They don’t even say a proper goodbye and Rob utterly destroys his life.

And what in the world happened in the epilogue or whatever? Sam whatshisname and CASSIE got married? Are you even close to kidding me?! I think that was some error, because I am not comprehending this. I know there were a few tips through-out the story, but…???

And there’s more, I’m also disappointed that Rosalind didn’t go to jail. I’m also miffed, but not super mad, that the 20 year old mystery was not solved. I did some sleuthing on Goodreads and I don’t like the explanation that some para-normal or un-human something happened, because I don’t really believe in that. I highly doubt some super-natural being stole those kids and filled Rob’s shoes with blood. I’m just not buying it.

And that is the end of today’s rant.

*Masterpiece? A lot of people have called this amazing, haunting, chilling, ‘a literary marvel’ or generally an awesome book that you should pick up right away. I am not part of that group. I believe that, even without the awful ending that this was just meh at best.

Quote: “Over time, even the unthinkable gradually wears a little niche for itself in your mind and becomes just something that happened.”

Overall, I was really disappointed by the ending of this book. It could have been a decent mystery, but the ending totally ruined it for me. I wouldn’t recommend it, however, here is a positive review that might help you decide whether to read this or not* (Emily May’s Review)

One sentence summary: A decent mystery that had an unsatisfying ending.

Overall, 1.75 stars rounded to two


*The idea to include positive reviews in negative ones was created by Kat @ Novels and Waffles

Have you read In The Woods? Did you like it? Do you think I should still give Tana French’s other books a try? Let’s chat in the comments below!