The Pequod Review:
In the Woods is Tana French’s first crime novel, as well as the debut of her extraordinary six-book (and counting) Dublin Murder Squad series. The series is set in Ireland, generally between the years of 1975 and the present day, and it typically combines strong crime plots with intelligent explorations of the country’s recent economic changes and demographic shifts. In the Woods, however, is one of the most personal and least political books in the series. It is primarily the story of two Irish detectives, Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox. When Rob was twelve years old, he was the lone survivor of a violent attack that claimed the lives of two friends. Now, twenty-two years later, a young girl’s body is found in the same wooded area of his youth, and Rob and Cassie are charged to lead the investigation. Despite a few implausible coincidences and the predictable themes of trauma and memory, French’s characterization is very good. Winner of the 2008 Edgar Award for Best First Novel.