In the Woods

[Amazon Link]

Although I'm not much in the market for adopting new authors into my TBR system, sometimes it just happens. The weekly "editorial roundtable" episodes of the Reason podcast have a segment where the participants reveal which media they've been reading, watching, or playing with recently. And Peter Suderman was effusive in his praise of the "Dublin Murder Squad" series by Tana French. (And, by the way, Peter is not alone: this book won the 2007 Edgar Award for Best First Novel, and much mainstream critical praise was heaped thereon.)

Even better: This first book in the series was available at the UNH Library, so I decided to take a flyer.

The narrator is Rob Ryan; he and his partner, Cassie Maddox, are called to investigate the horrid, sordid murder of a twelve-year-old girl found in the woods of a Dublin suburb. The girl's family is weird. The murder scene is about to be obliterated by a new highway, and archeologists are frantically digging up whatever they artifacts they can find from long-ago inhabitants; the archeologists are weird too. And there's some shady stuff going on with corrupt city officials and crony developers.

But what's really bad is Rob's history: twenty years ago, he and two friends were playing in those very same woods. His friends vanished without a trace; Rob was found, near-catatonic and bloody, unable to remember what happened to them. Could the present day murder have links to that past horror? Yeah, maybe! Rob is already keeping his traumatic past a well-hidden secret from nearly everyone, but (even so) it's a poor choice for him to get enmeshed in the present crime. Unfortunately for Rob, it's just the first of many poor choices.

This is a combination police procedural and psychological thriller, and both parts work well. So, yeah, I'm up for reading more Tana French.