(Current fiction & past quality fiction)
The Albuquerque public library system has three copies of this novel with 21 people waiting their opportunity to check it out six years after publication.
Betsey Van Horn of Austin writes lots of reviews for Amazon and had splashed a vivid picture of this 2008 novel when it came out. Examiner read the novel recently and feels what Van Horn wrote might inspire further “catch up” readers like Examiner to buy or check out “In the Woods” (Penguin) by Tana French, an Irish novelist of exquisite literary demeanor.
“It performs a vivisection on genre. As much as it is a mystery of the present murder of a young girl and an unsolved past mystery of the main protagonist’s boyhood (he is now a detective who as a young boy survived a violent attack on himself and two friends, who were never found), it is much, much more. It is about the enigmatic quality of relationships, the complicated enmeshments glued by dysfunction, the underbelly of fear that keeps people from leading full lives, and the question of survival in a life of elliptical events.”
Wrote the publisher in its sales pitch:
“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, stunning in its complexity, and utterly convincing and surprising to the end, In the Woods is sure to enthrall fans of Mystic River and The Lovely Bones.”
Examiner felt the psychological suspense of this story as strongly as anything read in recent years (except possibly “Carthage” by Joyce Carol Oates) and highly recommends Tana French’s “In the Woods.” In fact, if you don’t read or haven’t read this novel and “Carthage” also you may be considered deficient in keeping up with contemporary literature.