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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

In The Woods by Tana French

*Psst* Click the picture to find a copy

It's funny how our personal tastes change. Obviously, we grow to like foods that we used to hate, you find a workout program that works and suddenly you love exercise, but something I never thought would happen to me was a change in the book genres that I like. Of course, I knew I would graduate from YA (something I struggle to read and enjoy now) to adult fiction. To me, though, that's just growing up. I mean fantasy to mystery/thrillers and sci-fi to contemporary fiction. I've always been a bookworm, but if you'd asked five years ago whether or not I wanted to read a murder mystery with psychological thriller elements thrown in I would have given you a hard pass. But this year I asked for this book for Christmas (Thanks, B!) because I was dying to dive in!

In middle school, my friend group fell hard for Mary Higgins Clark. Even the girls in the group who didn't read were checking them out of the school library. For some reason they stocked almost all of them! Being the bookish gal that I was I took a chance and checked one out. I mean, I didn't want to get left behind at the lunch table! I read the first few chapters, had a few nightmares, reverted to being afraid of the dark and turned the book back in on it's due date two weeks later. I lied, said the book was fine and waited until all my friends moved on to something else. Enter The Clique! Thank you Lisi Harrison for saving me from murderers and introducing me to mean girls...

A few years ago, I started watching Bones and I loved it. Then I realized that there was an entire series of books that inspired the television series. I ran to Half Price Books bought the first three and devoured them. I've been hooked on mysteries ever since. Then The Girl on the Train came out and I LOVED it! After that I was desperate to find something similar. A few Amazon searches, some BookTube watching, and a trip to B&N all led me to Tana French. So thanks everyone!

In The Woods is the first book in the Dublin Murder series. There are five books out and a sixth expected to be released sometime this year, so I have to start catching up! The book follows Rob Ryan and his partner Cassie Maddox as they investigate the murder of a young girl in the same Irish suburb Rob grew up in. The twist? Twenty years earlier two children disappeared into the same woods and were never found. Three children went into the woods that day and Rob was the only one to make it back home. (Not spoilers, it's all on the back of the book!)

This book is complex! There's the backstory of Rob's childhood and his involvement in the investigation to find out what happened to his friends. There's the new case that Rob and Cassie have to handle without letting on how close to home it hits for him. Then there's the psychological bits, Rob trying to remember what happened 20 years ago, questioning if the two cases are linked, and examining if he's starting to break under the pressure? Not to mention the tangled relationships for all the characters! It wouldn't be a novel without some complicated "romances."

I must admit that one part of the book (a clue) about halfway through led me to the ending. I guessed the bad guy, but Tana French definitely threw in some twists and turns so my guess wasn't exactly on point. I think that's the best sign of a good mystery. You might figure out whodunnit, but not the motive and not the how. French delivered with a few interesting details and a pretty intense ending. 

I have to mention how thoughtful the writing is, also. The characters were believable and were multi-dimensional. The book had quite a few down moments, but I read those just as quickly as the mystery-solving bits and thought most of them were beautiful. The contemplations on friendships, the scenes in woods, and the dialogue was all so equally engaging. I thought her writing and grasp on how people think and react to others was more real than I've read in a long time. Plus, I love that she didn't feel the need (cave to the pressure) of tying up every single one of the loose ends. The ending is  not handed to you in a perfectly wrapped package with a shiny bow and I love that! 

 I took it to Miami, read it the entire way there, and immediately bought the sequel The Likeness in South Beach to read on the way home. Speaking of ...  I am going to go read it right now! 

Love you lots, 

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