In the woods is a psychological murder mystery of a12-year-old girl. The plot unfolds with detectives Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox reporting in an archaeological excavation site located right in the middle of the dense woods of Knocknaree. Coincidently, Rob Ryan had lost his childhood memories and two best friends in the same woods many years ago when he himself was 12 years old. Is it the same criminal striking back after some odd 20 or 25 years? Is the murder of Katy Devlin linked with the disappearance of Rob’s friends? With this case accidently falling in his kitty, Rob is forced to confront his dark and long forgotten past in order to find the answers to the unsolved mysteries of the woods.
The story is set in the woods of Knocknaree—a small estate in Dublin, Ireland. The past presents Knocknaree as it was during 1984. While the present times is set in the summers of 2000 when the investigation for Katy’s murderer is ongoing. The society described in the story comprises the low and middle class families residing in the not-so-developed Knocknaree estate.
This is a first person narrative with Rob Ryan taking the reader through the entire investigation. He tells the reader everything that he sees and experiences during the investigation thereby making the reader his partner in the investigation. The writing is very detailed and reflects fluency and fluidity in thoughts and ideas. The description of the woods is effective enough to inspire horror and thrill in the reader’s mind. The plot is gripping but loses its hold somewhere in the middle where the author takes you into the details of the narrator’s life while you really want to know what happened to Katy Devlin and narrator’s friends.
The story started off very well and captured my interest from the first page. Initial some chapters that mark the beginning of the investigation were really interesting to read, and I remember finding it hard to put down the novel. But then the author started focussing on the narrator and his monologue. This somehow makes the entire story unnecessarily long and boring. Yet, I'd recommend this novel to the suspense and detective genre lovers because the author seems to have done a substantial research on the techniques and methods of police investigation and reading about these techniques and the lives of detectives is interesting. The novel is the recipient of many awards with the Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American Author (2008) being the one.
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