Going to the bookstores on weekends provides me with ideas for books I want to read. Years back I saw Faithful Place, Tana French’s third book in her Dublin Murder Squad series. If a title and jacket description grabs me I usually check on the author’s other publications. For some reason I didn’t – it was enough for me that the story took place in Ireland and it was also a mystery. Love both.
Recently I finished In The Woods, French’s first book. The book starts with the story of three children who disappear in the woods one afternoon. Jamie, Adam and Peter are very tight friends and have always been so for the twelve years they have lived in the neighborhood. One day they go off playing and don’t come back. Parents start a search, the garda is called in and they eventually find Adam Ryan clinging to a tree, blood in his shoes and slash marks across his back. Jamie and Peter were never found. Detectives talk to Adam but he was so traumatized by what happened that he can’t recall anything.
Fast forward 22 years and we are introduced to Rob Ryan, a detective with the Dublin Murder Squad. Rob is actually Adam Robert Ryan, the boy who was terrorized in the woods many years ago. He goes by his middle name so there is no association of the case where his friends went missing many years ago. He and his partner Cassie Maddox are assigned to investigate the murder of a twelve year old Katy Devlin. Katy’s body is found near the same woods where Rob’s friends had disappeared. Katy is discovered during an archaeological dig. Could this be related to the previous crime?
Rob and Cassie continue on with the investigation even though they know Rob should come clean with the supervisors about his true identity. It’s a gritty story, a good mystery. Rob is obviously scarred by his childhood experience. He’s overall a likeable character but has some serious flaws when dealing with relationships, particularly those with women.
I had read some reviews and noted there are a few people who were very disappointed that the first mystery remains unsolved. I was rather hoping you would have some closure on what happened to Rob/Adam and his friends Jamie and Peter. It’s still my hope that French will one day come back to Rob Ryan’s story and give us some closure on the disappearing kids. I will tell you the murder of Katy Devlin is solved despite some real groaners of frustration near the end. Overall I loved this book and as I have already read book 3 in this series, I guess I will tackle book 2 next.