Finally. FINALLY! I have finally read Tana French and yes, I feel complete.
I might be a wee bit dramatic, but how lovely was it to read this psychological thriller with a narrator who tells you right off the bat that he's a liar, combined with a new homicide that pulls in a twenty-year-old cold case with no identifiable killer? Reading this confirmed what every reviewer said about it. Fantastic! It was a delightful trip to Florida last weekend as I was immediately consumed by this creepy story.
First in the series for the Dublin Murder Squad, Tana French has obviously knocked it out of the park on her debut published in 2007. Opening with a horrific event from 1984, three children set out into the woods near their home for an afternoon of fun in Knocknaree, Ireland. Only one boy returns. Rather, he is discovered after a fearful search, catatonic and against a tree in complete distress, his eyes seeing something no one else witnesses, unable to share what happened to his two friends.
Twenty years later, that young boy, Rob Ryan, has grown up into a police homicide detective. Still unable to recall any of the events of that fateful night, Rob is partnered with Cassie, a new homicide detective into the group, and their pairing brings them to the discovery of a missing child, found near the very same woods in Rob's hometown of Knocknaree. Could it be the same killer? As Rob and Cassie delve into the case even further, Rob dives deeper and deeper into the case, to the point of sleepless nights and too much alcohol. When he begins to see things, confused events that blend with past memories that are just now starting to come out, even his trusted partner Cassie begins to feel a trickle of doubt.
I don't think I can do this book justice and convey eloquently how incredibly caught up I was in this story. French's writing is what brings psychological thrillers to the next level, and each characters' story is delivered efficiently, yet with striking prose, and I know I would be remiss if I didn't pick up her next books immediately upon release date. The strength of this story is not just in the chilling plot itself, but more with French's characters, each of whom have a past to contend with. Partners Rob and Cassie are an incredible duo, and certain events they experience throughout this case simultaneously made me giddy with glee and heartbreakingly devastated. What a fearless and fierce debut!
There's no question I will collect Tana French's first edition hardcovers to put on my shelves for permanent safekeeping. And as much as I love horror stories (I listened to the audiobook for The Exorcist, for cryin' out loud), there were several sections in this book that I actually found much creepier (which I loved, by the way).
Tana French delivers a powerful debut, a mystery mixed full with psychological conundrums and beautiful writing, with the final pages resulting in a combination of sadness for its end, and anticipation for the next in the series. With a brilliant story and characters, and a questionable ending which can only be served by following the series, this intelligently told tale will keep you engrossed in its pages long after closing the book.
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Release Date: 5/27/08
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FTC Disclosure: I purchased the book two years ago.
About the Author (from her website)
Tana French is the Edgar Award winning author for In the Woods and the author of The Likeness, Faithful Place, and Broken Harbor. She grew up in Ireland, Italy, the US and Malawi, and has lived in Dublin since 1990. She trained as a professional actress at Trinity College, Dublin, and has worked in theatre, film and voiceover.
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