Twenty years ago, three twelve year old children went to play in the woods near their homes. Two of them never came home, and the third – once he was found – had absolutely no memory of what happened to his two best friends.
Now, in the same piece of woods, a twelve year old girl has been found murdered. One of the lead detectives investigating the crime is Rob Ryan…. coincidentally, the boy who was found in the wood 20 years earlier. However, he has changed his name and developed an accent so no one realizes he is the same person. He can’t help but think that he is back in this area for a reason – can he remember what happened to his friends? Worse yet, are the two crimes related?
This is an incredibly layered and well constructed thriller of a novel…. where you go back and forth between suspecting everyone and no one. Ryan’s character is so flawed and tortured by his memories – or lack there of – that you are really rooting for him, until you want to smack him up side his head. The few relationships he maintains in his life – his parents, his roommate, and his partner – really illustrate just how broken he is due to the loss of his first (and possibly only) true friends.
I really enjoyed this book…. the author’s debut novel in fact. I love the thrillers where you really can’t figure out who the bad guy is until the truth is revealed. Even once the murderer is revealed, the twists kept coming in learning the details, and the ultimate “mastermind”. The fact that it is set in Ireland also won some points with me!
In The Woods
by Tana French
Penguin Books, 2007