I had read one of French’s later novels last year and had not realised there was a series, as i had enjoyed the book I decided to go back to the beginning; In the Woods is the first. It was a slow start for me but I eventually got into it and although I guessed the twist about 20% in, it was still a good read and I stayed up until 2am to finish it and to see if I had been right.
I give it a 7/10 and I am straight on to the second in the series
Here is the official blurb:
Much more than a gripping police procedural, Tana French’s debut novel offers readers a stunning look into the dark recesses of the human heart and a brooding reflection on the evils that are sometimes just a breath away. As a newly anointed murder-squad detective in Dublin, Ireland, Rob Ryan solves mysteries for a living. Yet only a handful of people know that a generation earlier Ryan himself stood at the centre of one of the most tantalizing unsolved cases in the recent annals of Irish crime. At the age of twelve, then known as Adam Ryan, he and two playmates wandered into a wood near his home in the town of Knocknaree. Hours after being reported missing, Adam was found unhurt but standing in a pair of blood-soaked sneakers, so deeply traumatized that he could not recall a single detail of what had happened. The two other children were never found.
Ryan has spent twenty years trying to bury his past, but if his line of work has shown him anything it is that some secrets refuse to remain hidden. His long-stifled anxieties abruptly surface when the battered body of twelve-year-old Katy Devlin is discovered in the same woods where Ryan had lost his friends and his innocence. When Ryan’s partner Cassie Maddox volunteers herself and Ryan to take the case, Ryan embarks on a treacherous odyssey through repressed memories and contemporary horror. At the same time that he and Cassie become the best hope for bringing Katy’s murderer to justice, Ryan nurses his personal hope that he may, at last, find the keys to unlock his own decades-old mystery. While investigating Katy’s strangely inward-looking family and the political intrigues surrounding a local highway project, Rob and Cassie develop some promising leads in the Devlin murder. However, as the investigation also brings Rob closer to resurrecting his own most disturbing moments, he finds his hopes of killing two birds with one stone dissolving into confusion. Trying to recover what was stolen from him so long ago, Rob begins to risk losing everything of value that he still has—his professional reputation, his closest friendships, and his mental well-being.
A first-time author who writes like a seasoned veteran, Tana French populates her psychological thriller with deftly drawn, unforgettable characters, from Rob’s brilliant and magnetic partner, Cassie, to Katy’s overprotective and evasive parents to Mark Hanly, the passionate young archaeologist whose very life is devoted to buried truths. Always at the center of the story, however, is Rob Ryan himself—keenly intelligent, outwardly brash and confident, but far more fundamentally wounded and incomplete than appearances reveal. In the dark, deceptive world of In the Woods, many of the hardest questions depend upon a single query: will Rob’s attempts to regain his inner equilibrium finally throw his life, his friends, and the Devlin investigation out of balance forever?