My Dark Book (French Edition)


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I call that a cheap trick, and I'm not even going to pick up French's second book with this character if she writes one to find out if she's beginning a series and wants to stretch out the story--I felt cheated, and I'm done. Although if there is a second book, and any of you read it, you could maybe let me know what's up. View all 35 comments. Trash heap that ruined the book for me. The first half of this book was - honestly - excellent.

I had no clue where the mystery was going. I especially adored Cassie fucking Maddox; her backstory with a friend from college honestly broke my heart. All the ingredients for a perfect book. Maybe even a five. I like the characters and I like the writing, so I should have liked this book, right?

I am going to try to explain this as spoiler-free [and what spoilers exist are noted] as possible: I am not kidding when I say it was such total trash that it ruined the whole book for me. My favorite pair of besties? Fine, sort of chilling, but also 1 not really a mindfuck and 2 has shitty connotations. And the worst part? The mystery from twenty years ago that causes this entire fucking BOOK and that was way more interesting than the normal mystery?

Literally no fucking resolution. How did they do it? You know what I thought, honestly? Tana French wrote herself into a corner with a fucking ridiculous case and then ran out of time on her deadline and decided to leave it open. How not to write a decent crime book Like, it's creepy, but we currently live in a culture that assumes women are liars, and this just plays the fuck into it. Again, major spoiler; view spoiler [she marries a man she has never shown interest in so our lead character can cry a little bit. The two stars rather than one is a reflection of me loving the beginning.

The ending of this book can go die in a hole. That is all I have to say. Blog Goodreads Twitter Youtube Hers is not the terse and journalistic objectivism of hard-boiled literature, nor the overly technical and post-modernistic dialect of more recent crime writing. Told from a first person perspective of Dublin homicide Very, very good. Told from a first person perspective of Dublin homicide detective Rob Ryan, French has crafted a multi-layered psychological thriller that is more than simply an investigation into the murder of a year-old girl living in the rural, suburban estate of Knocknaree.

Ryan, something of an unrealistic narrator, has deeply buried and scarring issues of his own as he was the lone survivor of an unsolved disappearance involving himself as a young boy and two of his childhood friends in Knocknaree in the mid-eighties. The facts of this cold case are intertwined and lurk tauntingly at the edges of the present inquiry. French also mixes in several sub-plots into her narrative that combine to produce an atmosphere of tension and heightening disquietude, plunging resolutely towards the end.

It is this group dynamic, the interactions between Ryan and his partner Cassie Maddox and the other members of the squad, as well as the collection of witnesses, that elevates this to a more mature and satisfying novel. The little girl is found on an archeological site, being quickly mined and researched because of an interstate going in, and this sub-plot allows French to explore Irish culture, both present and ancient. Irish history and pre-history, the archeological dig and multiple Celtic references all combine to evoke a sense of paranormal enigma to this already highly entertaining story.

View all 13 comments. Mar 06, J. I will agree that this book is gorgeously written, and the characters are well crafted and sympathetic. That's what kept me reading through the various absurd plot points. He comes back years later as a detective to investigate another murder in the same small estate, and no one recognizes him including the mother of one of those best friends. And then I will agree that this book is gorgeously written, and the characters are well crafted and sympathetic.

And then, after all that, while you do find out who committed the recent murder, the question of what happened to the protagonist and his friends years ago is never resolved. The real mystery is left hanging in the air. I put the book down at the end and said out loud, "are you [bad word: View all 20 comments. I didn't damn like it, but I owned it and it's on one of my badge challenges so I read it.

Trying to get as much read before chemo in May. Trying to get rid of things or get them on the shelves. And no, I'm not writing a big review. I'm over that unless it's a re read. Or I will review later. You guys can read some of the popular book bumpers with the great reviews and a million likes. But take some time to read the non book bumpers that have a few likes with amazing reviews.

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Pisses me off so ma I didn't damn like it, but I owned it and it's on one of my badge challenges so I read it. Pisses me off so many get left out. Tons of friends have loved this book and I'm glad you did, it just wasn't for me. It has to be a major mystery for me to like it. I'm not big on mystery books. I will scroll through and like all of my friends reviews on the book regardless of what you thought. I don't have time to waste going to the home page or profiles to find reviews.

So for now it's just liking friends who have reviewed or starred the same books. So happy Reading and thank you to friends that still support me. View all 25 comments. I'm leaving tomorrow and I'm not one for writing reviews weeks after having read the damn book. I'm actually in awe of people who manage to do just that. I think that it says something about me: And I just began too many sentences with I. Bear with me, would you? In the Woods affected me in a way that I didn't expect, slowly enveloping me in its sickeningly sweet lure. Little by little, I've been rocked by a false sense of safety, by the discreet and uncertain laughs, proofs of Rob and Cassie's complicity.

Of course I saw the warnings, the insights, yet I chose to ignore the bad taste in my mouth, the inexorable growth of my doubts and then the pang of betrayal and sadness. God, this book let me so fucking sad. There's nothing, really, that I could say to convince you to give it a chance, and many reviewers did it before me and with much more eloquence. So I'll only say this: Is Rob a jerk?


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Maybe, but I don't care , he's real, all of them are real to me. I care so much, og my god, do I care for him still. Did I guess some clues before he did? Yes, actually, I did, but again, it changes nothing to the way I feel right now, to the sheer awe still palpable in me when I'm writing these clumsy words. I'm just so sick of writing that, it's not perfect but - god, I'm so fed up with that sentence and I write it way too often.

Life is far from perfect or everybody would look at populists and say, What The Hell, do I look like an idiot to you?! Tana French pictures the unfairness and imperfection of it all perfectly. It's enough for me. Of course it's enough. One day later and I'm still dazzled and yeah, so very much sad. It will linger, I just know it. For more of my reviews, please visit: View all 28 comments. This book is tricksy. Rob Ryan is a veteran homicide detective with the Dublin police along with his best friend and partner, Cassie Maddox, and the two start working a case involving a young girl found murdered at the site of an archaeological dig.

Sounds like it could be the cold open of an episode of CSI: Rob is actually from the area where the girl is found, and 22 years before he and two friends went to play in the nearby woods and somet This book is tricksy. Rob is actually from the area where the girl is found, and 22 years before he and two friends went to play in the nearby woods and something very bad happened.

Rob was found with blood covered shoes and no memory of what happened to the other kids. They were never found, and Rob has done his best to disassociate himself from the event.

As the case progresses it sprawls to also involve a hot button issue of a new motorway being built through the archaeological site, potential political corruption and indications of child abuse while Rob and Cassie find themselves under extreme pressure to solve the crime. French also has a nice way of leading a reader down a path that seems somewhat familiar to any fan of crime fiction, but then zigs and zags into different directions. I had three or four occasions where I was seriously hoping that someone would punch him in the balls.

However, there are some pacing problems where things seem a bit repetitive and slow that probably could have been hurried along a bit. I also give French credit for not giving into a temptation that a lot of writers would have and having Cassie forgive Rob. He was pretty much a bastard, and her dumping of him as a friend, partner and lover then moving on without him was a powerful statement about how badly he managed to botch his life, not just the case. View all 36 comments. Jul 15, Samadrita rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Recommended to Samadrita by: It's been a while since I have read a book that has left me so utterly devastated, a book entailing such a profound emotional investment that having finished it I feel a gaping emptiness within, a sense of loss.

It feels like my heart has been simultaneously crushed into pulp under the weight of the tragedies that descend on the lives of a handful of characters and blown to smithereens. And I would never be able to pick up the pieces and glue them back together into a throbbing whole again. I rea It's been a while since I have read a book that has left me so utterly devastated, a book entailing such a profound emotional investment that having finished it I feel a gaping emptiness within, a sense of loss.

I read In the Woods while on vacation, whenever I took breaks from watching wave after wave crash on to the shore with the familiar rip-roaring intensity of the sea. I read this even when I was too tired to stay up till late, lying on an unfamiliar bed with a sheet of dubious hygiene standards. I read this during prolonged car rides. And every time I had to tear my eyes away from its pages, I felt a pang of irritation. As I made my way toward the bone-chilling climax of this narrative, awake at an unholy hour, I distinctly remember breaking out in a sweat on a cool December night to boot.

Sleep became an alien entity and, come hell or high water, I knew I would not wrench myself away from this fantastic make-believe world of a small town and the sinister occurrences that tied the lives of its residents in the most twisted way possible. I longed to stay trapped in the eerie magic spell cast by the woods, under the ominous shadows of leafy canopies of pine and beech, caught up in a hazy daydream playing hide and seek with Peter, Jamie and Adam.

My heart ached for the two children who never returned home from their beloved woods, who were never found again and the way the tragedy of their mystifying disappearance dealt a crushing blow to the life of their traumatized playmate who returned unharmed. It wept for Rob and Cassie and their missed chances. This book isn't about crime and punishment, it isn't about the science of deduction or smooth-talking, fedora-sporting detectives smartly arriving at inference after inference and nabbing the culprit in style.

I almost crave for the standardized simplicity of regular crime thrillers at this moment, the stories which conveniently compartmentalize the crime and the police procedure, the good guys and the bad guys. At least a book like that would not have left me feeling so desolate and bereft of any happy feeling. But this book took my breath away with its ability to instill so much life in each one of its characters that their distress became my own, with its ornate but never ostentatious prose and the way it deftly narrated a story infused with the dull shades of a sadness so affecting.

Tana French foregoes all the spick and span categorizations here, thumbs her nose at the usual pigeon-holing. Instead with consummate skill, she outlines the faint traces of humanity in the most brutal impulses, acknowledges the messed up ways in which this bizarre drama of life plays out and how a neat tying up of all loose ends seldom happens in reality. Sometimes, life is that merciless and cold. This book is about the labyrinthine pathways of our mind which treacherously conceal our most terrifying memories and how our subconscious prods us to replace the unpleasant truths with self-justifying falsities and even establishes our faith in them.

It is about the seemingly innocuous, small cruelties of mundane everyday life that are capable of triggering much bigger disasters that destroy the lives of children and the unforgivable cruelties oblivious, ignorant children are themselves capable of. I refuse to label this electrifying debut novel mere crime fiction because, in all earnestness, it is not. Rather, it is literature which delves deep into the causality of crime and meticulously brings out the humanity of all the people involved, literature capable of wringing out empathy from even the least sensitive reader.

And it is an exploration of the convoluted workings of the human mind, of evil and barbaric urges lurking somewhere in its darkest nooks and crevices. It is a cerebral suspense thriller and, without a doubt, one of the best I have ever read. But it is also a beautiful, bittersweet story about people who carry on with their broken lives shouldering the unbearable burden of past trauma, an unforgettable human drama which left me emotionally drained, agitated to the extreme and yet gasping for more.

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In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad, #1) by Tana French

View all 41 comments. The story started off very well, with funny bits, conversations and I was hooked in from the very beginning. The first person narrative really helped and I liked following Rob Ryan in his investigation, he made me a partner and I love it in my detective reads. The grim and real police work, the dead-ends, the annoying bureaucracy and the final countdown when you reach the very essence of the story.

Smooth and gripping, huh? The first two fourths of the story were really interesting to read, because the writing is very detailed and expresses a well-built mystery, the pages just flew upon my eyes. The description of the places, surroundings is gripping and simply charming, I liked the common people there, with their ordinary life, was disturbed by their dark side. It just dragged the story into long and a bit boring phase with lots of eye-rolling for me.

But to my great joy, this changed when I reached to the final part of the book. Memorable characters I can root for or hate a lot! The story centers upon two colleagues and best friends at the same time, they supplement each other, they are interesting and fun to observe. View all 79 comments. Dec 30, Carol. I started this series out of chronological order, which only increased my appreciation for French. By some odd chance, I happened upon a new copy of her second book, The Likeness , in the library just waiting to be checked out, while In the Woods had a wait list of at least people.

I followed with Faithful Place , immersed myself in Ireland of forty years ago and promptly forgot to get on the waiting list for Woods. Nataliya's lovely review reminded me what I was missing here: For a first book, Woods is impressive, not only because French takes risks with her narrative. It's a psychological mystery, an exploration of friendship and a slow disintegration of personality. I loved it, even as I dreaded the direction of the story. One day, the squad gets its first woman detective, Cassie Maddox. The two have an instant attraction and immediately begin a deep friendship.

They happen to catch a case in which a 12 year-old girl is found murdered at an archeological dig, right where a highway exchange is supposed to be built shades of Arthur Dent that I half-heartedly tried to ignore. Perhaps completely coincidentally, it is in the same small suburb that Ryan's two childhood friends disappeared when they were twelve. Ryan himself has no memory of the incident, and very few memories of the times after, but the case brings bits flashing back.

Ryan tells us from the start: The outright acknowledgement that he might not be kept me guessing. At first, I loved his narrative voice. Descriptions of himself and his two twelve-year-old friends, 'Jamie,' and Peter, reminded me indelibly of Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes and the gold-edged memories of summer days and best friends. Ryan captures some of that lost intimacy with Cassie, and it seems almost the first time since then that he has re-connected with another person. His voice had me chuckling with humor and sighing at his cynicism see my numerous updates while I was getting my car's oil changed.

Then oh-so-slowly the voice changed, subtly, distractedly. I won't say too much more except that it was extremely well done view spoiler [ and the character I loved at the beginning, I almost hated by the end. Not that he would have cared; he hated himself too. Perhaps it fell apart a little at the end, and the red herrings weren't developed enough to be seriously considered.

It felt a little more hurried after the slow pace of the beginning, but these are minor quibbles. The finish was stunning, if by 'stunning,' you mean a slap to the face right after someone answers your questions. Although I never deliberately avoid spoilers, for some reason I had not read any reviews before starting Woods that discussed various issues with the ending. Somewhat discombobulated, I went looking around for insight into French's process, and why she choose to do what she did.

Yep, definitely kept me thinking after I closed the pages. But also while I read them. Cross posted at http: View all 40 comments. There was one small plot point that annoyed me a bit, but other than that it was perfect. I barely ever read murder mysteries, but after this I definitely want to read more! View all 5 comments. When a twelve year old girl is found murdered at an archaeological dig, Detective Ryan and Maddox are on the case. But what does this case have to do with a similar case twenty years earlier, a case that saw an adolescent Ryan as the only survivor?

As a veteran of detective fiction, riddles, and brain teasers, I'm a big fan of mysteries that keep me guessing. In the Woods was one of those sorts of mysteries. In the Woods is the story of two detectives looking for answers, both on the case they're When a twelve year old girl is found murdered at an archaeological dig, Detective Ryan and Maddox are on the case. In the Woods is the story of two detectives looking for answers, both on the case they're working and inside themselves.

Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox are partners and best friends on the Dublin Murder Squad, detectives who catch all the murders that come down the pipe. When Katy Devlin is found murdered and sexually assaulted, they find themselves in the soup pretty quickly. Complicating things is the fact that Rob Ryan used to be Adam Ryan, a lad whose friends disappeared one afternoon, their bodies never found. In the Woods is very well written and it could be read as simply a police procedural, and it would have been a very good one.

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The thing that sets it apart from most run of the mill books of this type are the main characters. Rob and Cassie are very well written, real to the point that I wanted to shout at them a few times. Even though it took place in Dublin, it kind of reminded me of The Wire in that there was no happily ever after ending and no action. It was all gritty police work and even grittier interpersonal stuff. The mystery itself was solveable.

Hell, the clues were even pointed out but I was too busy getting misdirected by French's skills. When the truth behind Katy's death was revealed, it was even more chilling than I'd imagined. I wanted them to get together and have detective babies, not have their world come crashing down! Why do you have to be so mean, French? I wouldn't say it was the best book I read in but it's definitely in the top ten. Tana French can lead me In The Woods any day. View all 23 comments. A very well-constructed and impressive debut novel. I had a bittersweet moment near the end when I realized that my theory from near the start of the book was correct; happy to be right, but also a bit bummed that I had figured it out.

It wasn't much of a twist for me, but I honestly don't know how I solved it so early on. Don't let that keep you from reading this book. There were still quite a few surprising moments that didn't deal directly with the mystery, and those were incredibly satisfyin A very well-constructed and impressive debut novel.

There were still quite a few surprising moments that didn't deal directly with the mystery, and those were incredibly satisfying. It really is a great novel—a mystery with many layers, characters with depth, and beautiful writing. I've heard about readers who become so absorbed in a good book that they stay up late to finish them, or talk to the characters, or turn the pages hoping that something bad doesn't happen to them.

I rarely if ever have reading experiences that primal; I'm usually analyzing the character development, narrative, even the margins and the design of the book, all from a safe remove, sort of like a naturalist perched in a camouflaged blind, studying. In the Woods , Tana French's debut novel which launch I've heard about readers who become so absorbed in a good book that they stay up late to finish them, or talk to the characters, or turn the pages hoping that something bad doesn't happen to them.

In the Woods , Tana French's debut novel which launched her "Dublin Murder Squad" series in , knocked me out of my observation post with the locomotive power and cunning of a rhinoceros, or maybe a wild boar. French had me scrambling around the canopy and for pages, never let up. The relentlessness of her novel is not due to cop thriller cliffhangers but the relationship she crafts between her two detectives, as well as their environment.

Chapter 1 begins with a perfect sentence: What I warn you to remember is that I am a detective. The narrator is Robert Ryan, a competent if aloof young detective with the "Murder Squad. Adam was found that night clutching a tree, slashes on the back of his shirt and someone's blood pooled in his shoes. Neither Peter or Jamie were ever seen again. Adam, who was soon sent to boarding school in London and started going by his middle name "Rob," has been unable to recall what happened that day.

Rob joined the police to become a Murder detective and as a rookie, is briefly partnered with "this cretin called Quigley, who sounded like Daffy Duck with a Donegal accent. Rob rescues her from the rain and a malfunctioning Vespa one evening and the two become inseparable.

Having fueled intense speculation among the men, Cassie confides to Rob that her rapid promotion was the result of being stabbed working in the UCD, not because she blew her cover, but because the campus drug dealer whose trust she gained became paranoid she was trying to take over his business. Contrary to appearances, Cassie is not a particularly social person, any more than I am: I slept on her sofa a lot. Our solve rate was good and rising: O'Kelly stopped threatening to split us up every time we were late turning in paperwork.

Archaeologists at a dig in the country where a new motorway is scheduled to be constructed have found the body of a young female. Cassie volunteers to take the case before O'Kelly adds that it's in Knocknaree. Cassie is the only cop who knows about Rob's past, but he assures his partner that he's all right, even though he hasn't returned to the woods of his childhood trauma since the summer of ' The area around Knocknaree has been inhabited more or less since the Stone Age, with a Neolithic settlement and a Bronze Age ceremonial stone among the historical sites which will soon be rendered to history by the motorway.

The victim was found on the ceremonial stone, her skull caved in and ligature marks on her neck. Fully dressed, she appears to have been raped. Hunt, his research assistant Mark and a few of the student volunteers, including Damien, the badly shaken boy who discovered the body. One of the students identifies the victim: Katharine Devlin, aged 12, missing from the estates near the dig. Jonathan and Margaret Devlin don't touch throughout the interview.

No neighbors stop by to console them. The surviving daughters, Rosalind 18 and Jessica 12 act much older or much younger than their respective ages. Katy was a local star, a dancer headed to the Royal Ballet School. Her father has launched a community drive seeking to redirect the motorway around the historical sites and has received threatening phone calls.

Once Cassie determines that their killer had to be local, the pair also have to consider their case is related to the disappearances which Rob has redacted from his memory. He considers revealing his identity to O'Kelly and taking himself off the case, but feels driven to solve Katy's murder, whether or not he's ever able to journey back into the events of his youth and find answers. A mob story set in New Jersey does not interest me. A mob story set in South Africa has my attention, as does a mob story set in s New Jersey. Anyone who's always wanted to travel to Dublin can do no worse than this novel in terms of atmosphere.

We work on the grounds of Dublin Castle, and it spite of all the colonial connotations this is one of my favorite perks of the job. Inside, the rooms have been lovingly refurbished to be exactly like every corporate office in the country--cubicles, fluorescent lighting, staticky carpet and institution-colored walls--but the outsides of the buildings are protected and still intact: In winter, on foggy evenings, crossing the cobblestones is like walking through Dickens--hazy gold streetlamps, throwing odd-angled shadows, bells pealing in the cathedral nearby, every footstep ricocheting into darkness; Cassie says you can pretend you're Inspector Abberline working on the Ripper murders.

French's prose sings with brevity and detail, wit and mystique. For a novel set in Dublin, though, she almost completely does away with the regional patois that makes an author like Roddy Doyle something of a linguistics project for an American. After presenting an abundance of suspects and motives -- Cassie even considers, privately, that our unreliable narrator Detective Ryan could be responsible -- I was sufficiently caught off guard and completely enamored by the reveal of the killer.

In the Woods is one of the best novels I've read so far. My ardor has little to do with killers or murder weapons or plot diagrams; it's the way French builds the relationship between Cassie Maddox and Rob Ryan. She echoes something I've read Lorne Michaels state on the nature of friendships: She was always the stubborn one, of us two. I think she transferred because she had lied to O'Kelly and she had lied to Rosalind Devlin, and both of them had believed her; and because, when she told me the truth, I had called her a liar.

I don't even have a box of tissue paper and if there's one thing worse than getting emotional over a novel, it's getting emotional with toilet paper to dry your eyes with. Dublin Murder Squad has currently spawned four sequels, beginning with The Likeness. On the basis of French's debut, I can't see getting around to Hemingway or Fitzgerald until I read everything she's written.

Recommended to Tatiana by: Rob Ryan, a detective on the Dublin Murder squad, and his partner Cassie Maddox are assigned to investigate a murder of a pre-teen girl. The thing is, the girl's body is found in the same woods where 20 years prior Rob's two best childhood friends disappeared. Rob undoubtedly witnessed their disappearance but has absolutely no recollection of what actually happened. Are these two crimes connected? Will investigating this new crime stir Rob's repressed memories? Is it a good idea at all for Rob to be involved in this case? In the Woods is a very strong debut novel.

Although a little too wordy in places, it is still a beautifully written, skillfully constructed mystery, with a multitude of red herrings. But my favorite part of this book was witnessing the effect of the investigation on the detectives working on it. It almost destroys all people involved. And our narrator, Rob, is a very special head case. His transformation is particularly striking.

I found the entire story very satisfying in terms of crime-solving. I was pleasantly surprised by how neatly French wrapped things up. Well, except that one huge piece of the puzzle that apparently infuriated a bunch of readers not me though. That bit of unfinished business will have me coming back for more Tana French 's novels. His family moved from Dublin to England, where he acquired a polished English accent and adopted his mi 4.

His family moved from Dublin to England, where he acquired a polished English accent and adopted his middle name, Robert, as his first. But the murder of year-old Katy Devlin in his old home town stirs the memories of the locals and send Rob to investigate. Wearing his unrecognisable new persona, he returns to the village with his trusted partner and best friend, Cassie. As close as they are—and they ARE close—Cassie knows nothing of this part of his past.

Rob tells US his story, however, and reminisces often about the idyllic summer days when he and Peter and Jamie played in the woods, taking picnics to the old castle, climbing trees, free to explore as long as they were home for dinner. This is the cloud that hangs over his part in the investigation.

When he does, this sends his mind off in another direction in the past. They begin by investigating all of the people on the dig site and the family. Was her murder a warning to him? But he keeps drawing a blank when it comes to details or of what happened to Jamie and Peter.

The parts of the book I really enjoyed were the characters, the relationships, and the psychology that goes into investigating. I realise the investigation is the reason for the story, but the author has a lot more to offer than a whodunit. Its silence is a pointillist conspiracy of a million tiny noises—rustles, flurries, nameless truncated shrieks; its emptiness teems with secret life, scurrying just beyond the corner of your eye.

Our relationship with 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 concealment and variation on deception. View all 43 comments. Although suitably disturbing, the murderer is fairly obvious. Read this if you like to be consumed by a character — so consumed that you fall completely into his point of view. Eventually you may start to notice small lapses in his tale.

But by that point, it will already be too late. Which is why you can really only experience this book once. I also knew just how wonderfully, compellingly limited this narrator really is and it was fascinating to see him with that in mind. It almost felt like being betrayed over and over again by someone I trusted. Even the mystery looked different this time around. Knowing that the murderers are still out there and may never be found or convicted? That's why the woods themselves are so terrifying aren't they?

Not because of what we know for sure goes on inside, but because of every horrible, monstrous thing that we we imagine goes on. The shapeless, nameless monsters that live inside our own imaginations will always be more terrifying than the real, definable ones. They have no limits.

Read it to find out how deluded the narrator of this book really was, and how much he lied to you. Read it to fall head over ankles into another utterly absorbing point of view.


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  5. View all 17 comments. Now this is my kind of book. This is the best book I have read in a very long time! In the Woods has been languishing on my list forever, probably because it has mixed reviews. I am thankful I finally gave it a shot. Tana French writes beautifully, but in a way that does not hinder the flow of the story. The protagonist, young Irish cop Rob Ryan, tells the story in retrospect.

    This is done subtly with real-time Rob interjecting only sporadically until the end when he directly delivers the epilog Now this is my kind of book. This is done subtly with real-time Rob interjecting only sporadically until the end when he directly delivers the epilogue. I found this technique unique and refreshing. He waits four obsessed years before re-encountering her and, when he does, life refuses to follow a romantic script. There is a blissful eccentricity about Ludo — he puts glue in his hair when pomade is unavailable.

    His romancing recalls Nabokov — with jokes. The pleasure of reading is about the double take, the sense that Lila is actually self-involved, insubstantial, unworthy. At one point, Ludo likens himself to a stalk of grass held between her teeth. It is a rash, playful book, yet dark too. The second half is dominated by a splendid, larger-than-life character: Madame Julie Espinoza, a Jewish prostitute with a lizard brooch on her bosom a symbol of her constantly slinking out of trouble who transforms herself into Princess Esterhazy — she knows about the survival of the sharpest, duping the Nazis with aplomb.

    It is fascinating to see Espinoza shed her former self and become a fiction. And, meanwhile, Uncle Ambrose confesses to his nephew that he has, all his life, been in love with an imaginary woman. Topics Fiction The Observer. Order by newest oldest recommendations.

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