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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (65,433 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Tana French Narrator: Steven Crossley Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Dublin Murder Squad Series Release Date: May 2007 ISBN: 9781429585972
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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 gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, 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 twelve-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.

Richly atmospheric, stunning in its complexity, and utterly convincing and surprising to the end, In the Woods is sure to enthrall fans of Mystic River and The Lovely Bones.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Tana French is the most interesting, most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years. The Washington Post
  • "[Tana French] inspires cultic devotion in readers…most crime fiction is diverting; French's is consuming. The New Yorker
  • To say Tana French is one of the great thriller writers is really too limiting. Rather she’s simply this: a truly great writer.”­ 
    —Gillian Flynn
  • French is a poet of mood and a master builder of plots.” ­
    The Washington Post
  • One of the most distinct and exciting new voices in crime writing. The Wall Street Journal
     
  • French does something fresh with every novel, each one as powerful as the last but in a very different manner. Perhaps she has superpowers of her own? Whatever the source of her gift, it’s only growing more miraculous with every book. Salon.com
  • When you read Ms. French — and she has become required reading for anyone who appreciates tough, unflinching intelligence and ingenious plotting — make only one assumption: All of your initial assumptions are wrong The New York Times
  • Drawn by the grim nature of her plot and the lyrical ferocity of her writing, even smart people who should know better will be able to lose themselves in these dark woods. The New York Times Book Review
  • In the Woods is as creepily imaginative as it gets. USA Today
  • “Part whodunit, part psychological thriller, and wholly successful...French’s plot twists and turns will bamboozle even the most astute reader...A well-written, expertly plotted thriller. NPR
  • [An] ambitious and extraordinary first novel...rank it high. The Washington Post
  • [In the Woods] plies dark, shuddery suspense to a breaking point...[a] thoroughly taunting suspense novel. New York Daily News
  • [An] ambitious and extraordinary first novel...rank it high. The Washington Post Book World
  • Tana French promises two whodunits for the price of one in her harrowing first novel. Drawn by the grim nature of her plot and the lyrical ferocity of her writing, even smart people who should know better will be able to lose themselves in these dark woods. Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
  • Readers who like their hard-boiled police procedurals with an international flair will love Irish author Tana French’s debut novel...In the Woods is as creepily imaginative as it gets. USA Today
  • Tana French’s intense debut novel, In the Woods, is part whodunit, part psychological thriller, and wholly successful...French’s plot twists and turns will bamboozle even the most astute reader...A well-written, expertly plotted thriller. Nancy Pearl, NPR’s Morning Edition
  • Winner of the Anthony, Macavity, and Barry Awards for Best First Novel, and the Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American Author
     
    Finalist for Los Angeles Times Book Prize
  • “[French] sets a vivid scene for her complex characters, who seem entirely capable of doing the unexpected. Drawn by the grim nature of her plot and the lyrical ferocity of her writing, even smart people who should know better will be able to lose themselves in these dark woods.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “[An] ambitious and extraordinary first novel...rank it high.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “Readers who like their hard-boiled police procedurals with an international flair will love Irish author Tana French’s debut novel...In the Woods is as creepily imaginative as it gets.”

    USA Today

  • “[In The Woods] plies dark, shuddery suspense to the breaking point...[A] thoroughly taunting suspense novel.”

    New York Daily News

  • “An auspicious debut...The theater-trained French clearly knows a thing or two about drama...The book’s plot and pacing are rock-solid, but its tender characterizations, particularly the deepening relationship between Ryan and his brainy, tough female partner, are what set it apart. Strong stuff.”

    Seattle Times

  • “A terrific debut...French’s psychological insights into the damaged policeman’s torment combine grippingly with the clammy atmosphere that surrounds the lethal woods. As an example of a novel in which the past returns to haunt the present, this scores very high marks.”

    Times (London)

  • “This is a wonderfully assured and beautifully written debut novel, a multilayered psychological thriller that digs beneath the surface of ordinary lives and delivers excitement and insight in large helpings.”

    Irish Independent

  • “A masterpiece.”

    Evening Herald (Dublin)

  • “A stunning debut that examines the complexities of the human mind and the cost of discovering the truth.”

    Barnes & Noble editorial review

  • “Irish author French expertly walks the line between police procedural and psychological thriller in her debut.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “This is an amazing piece of work, taut, persuasive, and intricately constructed to stunning effect...Steven Crossley does an expert job...A dazzling performance.”

    AudioFile

  • In the Woods is a superior novel about cops, murder, memory, relationships, and modern Ireland. The characters of Ryan and Maddox, as well as a handful of others, are vividly developed in this intelligent and beautifully written first novel...Equally striking is the picture of contemporary Ireland, booming economically and fixated on the shabbiest aspects of American popular culture. An outstanding debut and a series to watch for procedural fans.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “A readable, non-formulaic police procedural with a twist.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller
  • Winner of the 2008 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best First Novel by an American Author
  • Selected for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • Winner of the 2008 Barry Award for Best First Novel
  • Winner of the 2008 Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel
  • Winner of the 2008 Anthony Award for Best First Novel
  • A 2007 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Mystery/Thriller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stacey | 2/17/2014

    " This book was just "ok". It seemed to be bogged down in detail and drawn-out. I finished it because I wanted to see if the mystery of the narrator's childhood friends' disappearance was solved. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Suzanne Bigler | 2/15/2014

    " I am drawn to these books by Tana French because I enjoy the Irish settings/descriptions but I feel like the main character of the Irish police detective is always the same, only the family history/details change. I thought it was an interesting premise with the detective in a current child murder investigating a place of childhood trauma where he had been terrorized and his friends went missing. I was disappointed though that the older mystery was never solved and the romance in the book fizzled. Just not very satisfying in that regard. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eileen Lennon | 1/31/2014

    " Okay, could have been shorter. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cjhall | 1/28/2014

    " I couldn't put this book down, it was very compelling. But, in the end, it left me vaguely unsatisfied. It was well written and engrossing, but I'm not actually sure I "liked" it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pattesmith | 1/28/2014

    " Sure was disappointed at the end...not the ending of the book, but that a character got away with something. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jody | 1/21/2014

    " Definitely enjoyed this book. It's interesting that I sometimes scoff at books and movies where the ending is all happy and all the loose ends are tied up. This was a book in which that didn't happen and to an extent, that left me wishing it would have ended differently. Can't have it both ways, can I? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa Rader | 1/16/2014

    " Loved this book, but I was a little disappointed in the ending. Was looking for a few more answers... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Wendzh | 1/16/2014

    " I was disappointed with this read. It started out very promising, the author has a great talent for writing and weaving a story but it just didn't live up to its expectations. The story sags in the middle, but you keep reading to find out what happens, and then ends on a rather anti-climatic note. Huge potential and I hope to be surprised by her other books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David Dziorney | 1/10/2014

    " I was slightly disappointed. I read Broken Harbour and loved it. After finding more Tana French on good reads I decided to check out In the Woods and it failed to meet my expectations. Its still an enjoyable book and will still recommend Tana French. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suicide Blonde | 1/8/2014

    " giving this book 3 stars is generous. I had solved the who-dun-it by about halfway through the book, the narrator was unlikable and all the female characters were some combo of angel or bitch. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathie | 12/21/2013

    " Excellent psychological mystery! For a first novel, Tana French presented a weel written novel with several unexpected turns. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 12/20/2013

    " I don't know how I feel about this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Louise | 12/17/2013

    " Excellent yet frustrating Irish crime novel. Will have to read the next one to see if there are more answers!! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carey Combe | 12/10/2013

    " Unbelievable, unlikeable central character, ludicrous police work (they hadn't looked in the shed?) made me abandon this. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michele Watson | 12/6/2013

    " Really enjoyed this book. Combination of intriguing characters and a good plot. Looking forward to reading her other books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily Lavender | 12/4/2013

    " If you don't think you like murder mysteries, you might give this one a try- more a novel about someone who solves murders than just a typical whodunit. Creepy, sad and gripping in an un-put-down able way. Kiss your life goodbye for a few days once you read the first page. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael Foley | 9/24/2013

    " I had not heard of this author before and read this book on a whim and was pleasantly surprised. After finishing this book I quickly purchased the next. There are four Dublin Murder Club books and each one focuses on a different detective. Looking forward to reading the next one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate Harding | 7/2/2013

    " I have been dying to read tis book. Argh! I found the ended extraordinarily frustrating, but that being said, I really enjoyed it. It's a beautifully written crime novel and I felt instantly invested in the characters. Tana French has a lovely way with words. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lisa Eirene | 4/10/2013

    " The book was okay. I felt like I struggled a lot to finish it. I also felt like the main character (male) had a female voice so it felt very odd reading it. It never felt the story was being told by a guy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle Capozzi | 5/21/2012

    " 4.5, Really liked this book, will read more Tana French! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Daphne Atkeson | 1/27/2012

    " Remarkable debut...terrific psychological thriller with vivid, powerful, believable characters and a solid ending that didn't tie with a bow. Great, great book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Maureensophia | 12/4/2011

    " I didn't get invested until the last 50 pages, the rest of the book kind of wandered along. Not a terrible read, just not engaging. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenn | 11/2/2011

    " The book that opened my eyes to an entire genre. So so good. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Louisa | 10/10/2011

    " I know this was all the rage, but just did not grab me. Too long, too predictable and a total sad sack for a main character. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David Roberts | 8/20/2011

    " Interesting, not too complex, archaeological/psychological murder mystery. Quick readso you don't have to store extraneous characters in your long term memory... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donna | 8/17/2011

    " I like the complexity of the characters in French's mysteries. I've now read four of her books and enjoyed each one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rae | 5/24/2011

    " Loved the build up, but there was no payoff for the main character's mystery. My hope is that further Dublin Murder Squad books reveal what happened in the woods. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer (Books, Personally) | 5/18/2011

    " Ahhhh.... took me a while to properly get into it, but once I did I couldn't put it down! Gripping, moving crime/psychological thriller. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Margot | 5/17/2011

    " I read it last year. It was a good psychological thriller, but I like my endings a little tidier, but hers is probably more realistic. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Matthew | 5/17/2011

    " This book was great if you don't want the central mystery to be solved in any way. I was mad when I finished. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 5/15/2011

    " Refreshing - a mystery writer who actually understands character development. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicole | 5/15/2011

    " Even though I enjoyed the story, I enjoyed ' The Likeness' more (yes, I read them backwards on accident) Detective Ryan is just not as interesting as Cassie Maddox. Too bad the next book, ' Faithful Place' doesn't sound like it has her in it at all! "

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About the Author
Author Tana French

Tana French is the author of In the Woods, The Likeness, Faithful Place, Broken Harbor, and The Secret Place. Her books have won awards including the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity and Barry Awards, the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Best Mystery/Thriller, and the Irish Book Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Dublin with her family.

About the Narrator

Steven Crossley, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, has built a career on both sides of the Atlantic as an actor and audiobook narrator, for which he has won eleven AudioFile Earphones Awards and been a nominee for the prestigious Audie Award. He is a member of the internationally renowned theater company Complicite and has appeared in numerous theater, television, film, and radio dramas.