Wednesday, July 13, 2011

In the Woods by Tana French

So conflicted. French has a strong grasp of what I think of as poetic prose and an amazingly sharp eye for detail. This was both her strength and her undoing, after awhile it becomes tedious. My first issue with the story was that I kept forgetting the narrator was supposed to be a man because the voice and observations were decidedly feminine (in my head anyway) until about 250 pages into it. Another 100 pages or so and French slipped back out of it and Detective Ryan started sounding more like a girl again. The plot was brilliantly woven but it was not paced to be a true novel of suspense. It was more about a detective's experience going through a case, than about the case itself. And it was sadly predictable. For anyone who reads or watches a lot of police procedurals or spent any time studying was too obvious almost from the first introduction of the guilty character. All that being said, I did enjoy reading it. Even though I knew who it was going to be I wanted to see how it would be played out. Toward the end though, French started to lose me. I didn't buy Detective Ryan's weakness for a certain person. And then on 409, she lost me altogether when she claimed, "(the guilty person) fooled me, but (guilty person) fooled you too." Um no. And to say it is almost arrogance. I've heard this line in plays and movies, it was a cheap device. BUT! But I liked her grasp of language and detail. For writing skill I would give her 5 stars. For plot, 3. So I leave it at a happy medium of 4. It's not a fast read, unless you want it to be. You really have to be committed to it, I felt. And yes, I'll read The Likeness. But not right now. I want something with a little better pacing (assuming The Likeness will be like In The Woods) for right now. As a murder mystery this book should have been AT LEAST 100 pages shorter. It's like Hamish MacBeth on steroids.

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