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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Goodreads | Eric_W Welch (Forreston, IL)'s review of In the Woods

Goodreads | Eric_W Welch (Forreston, IL)'s review of In the Woods:

Firstly, let me say that this is an excellent book and I will be reading more in the series. The following are not intended as criticisms, merely as observations.

No point in relating the basics of the plot. What makes the book interesting is the relationship between the two detectives and other characterizations. I did note, however, that the POV is that of the male detective, Rob Ryan, (changed to that of his partner, Cassie Maddox, in the second of the series, I read somewhere,) and that it seemed to me that some of his comments were those I don't think most men would make, but definitely those a woman might, e.g., related to the way a teenager wore makeup, the way the corpse looked, etc.

I liked the way the investigation into the death of a child, an identical twin, unfolded, and how the author mixed in the childhood memories, or lack thereof, of Ryan. What really made the book special was the unfolding of the relationship between Cassie, Rob and Sam, the third detective assigned to the case.  It’s almost idyllic the way they work twelve hours trying to sort out the different witness statements looking for hints and contradictions, then reconvene to Cassie’s for dinner and more dissection of the case followed by a bottle of wine and discussion of themselves and all manner of ideas and thoughts.  There are some very surprising turns as the book unfolds, so I won't say more.  Just remember that the narrator tells you right up front that he lies.

French has some lovely writing and turns-of-phrase.  For example, the young priest at the child’s funeral falling back on his  “frail seminary arsenal of cliches.” That’s so evocative and descriptive.

My wife and I listened to this book over several different trips.  The book is very well read, but at times Rob's overly detailed introspection we both felt got in the way of the story.  There can be such a thing as redundant characterization.  I do look forward to the second book in the series.


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