I’m not normally a fan of the crime genre normally I find it a bit samey the detective is normally emotionally scarred in someway and is completely or at least partially incapable of any kind of relationships and sits, alone in his (never hers) dingy flat solving unsolvable murders brilliantly. (YAWN!)
In the Woods veered away from some of these stereotypes although the Detective Rob Ryan was emotionally scarred (and was obviously a man) He had good reason for his emotional dilapidation and it was the under current for most of this debut novels plot. I would say more but… SPOILERS!
When Rob Ryan (previously Adam Ryan) was a twelve year old boy his two best friends disappeared in the woods near their homes in Dublin never to be seen again. He was found, his shoes filled with blood and his nails clinging to a tree in the woods with no memory of what had happened to his friends. Now a detective he is called back to the small town where it all happened where a young child has turned up dead at a archaeological dig. Rob is terrified that the past will come back to haunt him and force him to go and look back to a past that he had done his best to leave behind him.
In the Woods is a great novel especially considering it’s a debut, it is a deep and carefully considered book about friendship and about those that we must leave behind even when we wish we didn’t have too. What made this novel for me was the friendship between Rob and his police partner Cassie a believable platonic friendship with tragedy in its wake.
This is the first in a series but can be read just as well as a stand alone the next book is called The Likeness.