Saturday, January 16, 2016

Guiltless Pleasure!

In the Woods 
by Tana French 
 (Not the Stephen Sondheim musical "Into the Woods," no matter how many times I call it that instead.)

A passage I read over and over, because even though it's specifically about a being in a Murder Squad, which I know nothing about, it encapsulated the depth of trust and love I often feel for artistic collaborators:  The girls I dream of are the gentle ones, wistful by high windows or singing sweet old songs at a piano, long hair drifting, tender as apple blossom. But a girl who goes into battle beside you and keeps your back is a different thing, a thing to make you shiver. Think of the first time you slept with someone, or the first time you fell in love: that blinding explosion that left you cracking to the fingertips with electricity, initiated and transformed. I tell you that was nothing, nothing at all, beside the power of putting your lives, simply and daily, into each other's hands.

I know there are some Tana French fans here (hi, Allison and Lydia!), and after reading In the Woods I suspect there are some future Tana French fans here as well.  I tore through this book with that desperate, can't stop, flashlight under the covers kind of feeling. You guys, internet book club is so fun!

With no details and no spoilers, Rob Ryan is a detective haunted by a childhood tragedy, solving a case which may or may not be linked to his past.  It checks all the boxes of the best crime thriller beach reads. A detective duo to beat any of the Law & Order franchises.  Corrupt politicians.  Suspicious fathers. Antisocial archaeologists. What sets In the Woods apart from those crime thriller beach reads, however, is that Tana French is a really good writer. Like, really good. It's everything I love about a tawdrier, say, Gillian Flynn-type romp, while still allowing me to feel like I'm reading something Literary. At a point about halfway through, I realized I didn't even care whodunnit - I was just pleased to spend time in the dark, deranged mind of Rob Ryan.

I'm so glad Tana French has more Dublin Murder Squad books to follow this one. They shall sit snugly in my back pocket, ready to kick me out of any more reading ruts that come my way this year.

Update, unrelated:
I'm using the little "Julie's Books" tab in the sidebar to track and link the books I read this year. If you'd like to do the same, just click your "So-n-So's Books" page in the left sidebar, and then click the image of the little pencil at the bottom of the post. You can then edit away, and add your newest reads to the top of your post. And, if you wish, you can copy and paste the URL from the corresponding post to link directly to your review of that book. If you want to keep track that way, it'll be an easy way that we can find each others' recommendations throughout the year.


  1. My favorite television genre, easily, is the murder-mystery. But, as one of my overall take-better-care-of-yourself-chelsea resolutions for this year is to consume less things on a screen, I think I might just turn to the murder-mystery book genre - and I'm so happy to have a recommendation for one that feels a little more high-brow than grocery store paperback! Xx

  2. It's crazy that the murderer ended up being a bunch of decorative pillows tied together, wearing a trench coat, and pretending to be a people.