"What I warn you to remember is that I am a detective. Our relationship with the truth is fundamental, but cracked, refracting confusingly like fragmented glass. It is the core of our careers, the endgame of every move we make, and we pursue it with strategies painstakingly constructed of lies ... and every variation on deception. The truth is the most desirable woman in the world and we are the most jealous lovers, reflexively denying anyone else the slightest glimpse of her. We betray her routinely ... This is my job ... What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this--two things: I crave truth. And I lie."opening lines of In The Woods chapter 1, pages 3-4
In The Woods by Tana French, an Irish writer, is an extremely well-written and well-crafted mystery novel. The downside is that this is French's debut novel, and her website (located at http://www.tanafrench.com/) does not offer any insight as to when we might expect a follow up.
In The Woods contains two parallel mysteries. The first involves the main character and narrator, Rob Ryan, who went into the woods one day many years ago with two childhood friends. The children are missing, a search ensues, and the only one found is Ryan, who is discovered clinging to a tree with blood soaked feet. His two friends are never seen nor heard from again, and their fates are shrouded in mystery. Ryan suffers amnesia regarding exactly what happened in those woods to him and his friends on that long ago day. This traumatic experience and the fact that the mystery of his friends' fates was never solved haunts Ryan into adulthood and taints his relationships and friendships.
The second mystery emerges in the present day when a girl is brutally murdered and her body dumped on an archaeological dig site in Ryan's hometown on the edge of the woods in which his friends disappeared. Are these two mysteries connected by more than just mere geography? This is the question that haunts Ryan throughout the novel, and he struggles to solve this present day murder (he is a homicide detective) and force his mind to give up the memories of what happened in that same wood several years previous. He realizes almost too late that both mysteries threaten more just the case and his career--they also threaten his relationship with his partner and his life as he knows it. Before he can do anything to stop the downward slide he has begun, everything quickly and irrevocably spirals out of control.
The novel is well written with an interesting and unusual setting in Dublin, Ireland that quickly becomes a character in its own right in the novel. You won't be able to put this book down, and I hope you'll take the time to check it out. It is available here at the library and is located at Fic/Fre upstairs in adult fiction. It is currently being shelved in the New Arrivals section next to the water fountain.
--Reviewer Ms. Angie