Monday, May 12, 2014

What I am telling you, before you begin my story is this - two things: I crave truth. And I lie.

I finished Tana French's In The Woods a few weeks ago and I'm still mad at it. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

In The Woods is a detective murder mystery novel. There are actually two murder mysteries going on. Twenty years before the events of the book two young children went missing in the Knocknaree woods. There was one child left, who was so terrified he couldn't remember anything that happened to himself, his two friends, or why his shoes are mysteriously filled with blood.

We're now in the present and this little boy has grown up to be Detective Rob Ryan, a member of Dublin's murder squad. He and his partner Cassie are given a case of a murdered girl, found near those same woods Rob had been found in years ago. From the back of the book, at least my copy: "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 very much enjoyed most of the book. I liked the set-up. I liked both mysteries. Rob makes for an interesting narrator. Not necessarily someone you can entirely trust. Not someone I liked all the time, but that's certainly not a requirement. The book seemed to end several times. I could see how many pages were left so I knew we couldn't be at the ending yet. Then again once we got near the end I couldn't believe that things were going to wrap up so quickly. I didn't have nearly enough pages left for everything we needed to get through.

One thing I very much liked in the book was the relationship between Rob and Cassie. At least most of the time. Whenever I read a book with a great male/female friendship, I spend a lot of time worrying the author is going to make it into a romance. Not that I don't like people to be in love, but I also really like friendship and maybe we don't have to treat friendship as lesser than a romantic relationship, mmmkay?

Now, here's the tricky part with this review. The parts of the book that make me mad and the parts that involve a lot of spoilers. I wish I could figure out a way to explain my frustration without throwing a bunch of spoilers at you, but I'm not that clever. So, if you don't want any spoilers, I'll just tell you that my enthusiasm for the book began to wane until I got to the end and I got angry at it and I likely won't read the other books in this series. Cos it is apparently a series. BUT I won't say I'll never read those books. I liked it enough to consider giving it another try. But it's going to have to shape up.

For those that want more details and don't care about spoilers. Remember, these are spoilers for a murder mystery so yeah, it will probably mess up your experience of the book if you know these going into it. Spoilery spoilery spoilers. You've been warned.
Hey, remember when I included that quote from the back of the book about how Rob had the chance to uncover both mysteries. You know what he doesn't do? Uncover both mysteries. (That would be in all caps-angry-internet-yelling but I'm trying to keep things calm here so those that don't want spoilers aren't accidentally pulled in. But please understand, I mean that all caps like.) The whole twenty-year-old mystery? Yeah, it stays a fucking mystery. And after all of those false endings earlier, we really rushed through the present day mystery. It was a supremely unsatisfying. And I'm still pissed.
Spoilers are above. For a murder mystery. So again, if you don't want things spoiled, don't read that.

If anyone else read this, let me know your thoughts. Were you as angry as me? Or did maybe I miss something?

Title quote from page 4

French, Tana. In The Woods. Penguin Books, 2007.