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Monday, August 27, 2018

#Audiobook #Review: 3 out of 5 stars for In the Woods by Tana French #TanaFrench @PRHAudio

TITLE: In the Woods
SERIES: Dublin Murder Squad, Book #1
AUTHOR: Tana French
NARRATOR: Steven Crossley
PUBLISHER: Penguin Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: April 20, 2007
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 20 hrs and 23 mins
GENRE: Mystery
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. He is 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 12-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.


I have long wanted to start this series, but I am somewhat put off by longer books. I decided to listen to this one while painting my children's rooms over a three-day weekend because I could listen for long periods without a break.

The author describes Detective Rob Ryan as someone who craves the truth but lies. I thought that was an odd statement. The event that takes place in the beginning of the book happened during Rob's (then known as Adam) childhood in 1984. He, with two friends, went into the woods near his home in Knocknarea and he was the only one who came back out. His shoes were filled with blood, and he was catatonic from shock. He has no memory of what happened, and the other two kids were never found. The story then moves forward to the present, when a case brings him back to Knocknarea.

I have to admit that I struggled a bit with this one. It took me a while to get into it, so I was thankful that the painting kept me listening for 6+ hours at a stretch. I did like the book but it moves slowly and it's quite long (20+ hours on audio). I think if I would have been listening to this one solely on my work commute, it would have frustrated me and taken me forever to get through. For me, I really needed to get a good chunk of listening in to be fully immersed into the story.

While the present-day mystery gets wrapped up by the end of the book, we still do not find out what happened to Rob in those woods when he was a child. We get a few glimpses, but we are still pretty much in the dark. I would love to know whether that part of his past is revealed in the next book in this series, The Likeness. I actually already bought that one in paperback format before I listened to this one, so I'll be continuing on with the series regardless.

Narrator Steven Crossley is very good, and I enjoyed him. As I mentioned earlier, this is a long book so he definitely did a fine job at keeping me listening. I note that other reviewers have complained that his accent should be Irish not British but the author explains the character's lack of an Irish accent on his schooling in England. Still, that doesn't explain why none of other characters have Irish accents. Here is a sample of the narration:


3 stars!! It was good, and I enjoyed it.

This book qualifies as:


  1. I sometimes struggle to listen to complicated mysteries/thrillers on audio, even though I generally love audio. I just find that I have to pay close attention to hear all the details, and since I am usually listening while doing other things, I can easily miss something.

    I enjoyed reading In the Woods in print. I don't think you'll find any answers, though, from this story in the next book. I haven't read it yet (my husband is on book 5!), but I know these books by Tana French are not a classic series per se but are all linked by the Dublin Murder Squad - so each one features a different detective from the squad and I think the stories are all separate, too. But I DO intend to read The Likeness, too. It didn't make it onto my Big Book list this summer, but maybe for the fall R.I.P. Challenge!


    Book By Book

    1. I don't think I'm ready yet for The Likeness. I'll put it off until next year. Maybe the next Big Book Summer!


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