In the Woods by Tana French (Dublin Murder Squad, #1)

A Plodding but Satisfying 4 StarsEdgar Award Winner for Best First Novel

coverLooking Back

This was one of my early reviews and as such was not in the format I currently use.  This was my introduction to Tana French and I never looked back.  Her stories are intensely character driven while at times, short on plot.  In my opinion, this is not a shortcoming.  You will be hard pressed to find better crafted characters outside of a Tana French novel.  While reading this series, you need to be aware that each installment is told from the perspective of a different character.  Realistically, you can read the books in which ever order you wish as novels (at least the first four) do not reuse characters in a meaningful way.

My Review

Three quarters of the way through In the Woods, I thought the book was in the 3-3.5 star range.  The story itself moves slowly and the murder investigation at the heart of the story unravels very slowly.  Generally, I would be bored and would have moved on but for the fact the characters themselves were very interesting.

Unlike many crime novels that I have read, In the Woods is intensely character driven.  The investigation is intensely personal to our main character and the story often switches between the present and the childhood.  The result is rich and vivid character and, in my opinion, some of the most well developed characters in any book that I have read.

The story really picks up in the last quarter as the investigation comes together quickly and we treated to interactions with once of the most intriguing “bad guys” I have come across.  You will have to read it to find out more.  I would also like to say that I figured out who was the ultimate villain early in the story and was satisfied to see that I was right in the end 🙂

Overall and excellent story with great characters.  Very well written.  As I listed to the audiobook, I was pleased with the narration.  It was top notch and very listenable.  I recommend this for crime/police procedural fans.

Subsribe to Our Posts

If you enjoy our reviews, have each new review delivered straight to your inbox.

Recent Posts


Tim Written by:

Tim is a lawyer, sports fan, parent, husband and book lover. He runs his own legal practice and is the founder of The Literary Lawyer book blog and a contributing writer for Tim loves to share his love of reading by providing reviews to entertain as well as provide information to help you make an informed reading decision.