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Publisher's Summary

The inspiration for the major new BBC drama series Dublin Murders.  

When he was 12 years old, Adam Ryan went playing in the woods one day with his two best friends. He never saw them again. Their bodies were never found, and Adam himself was discovered with his back pressed against an oak tree and his shoes filled with blood. He had no memory of what had happened. 

Twenty years on, Rob Ryan - the child who came back - is a detective in the Dublin police force. He's changed his name. No one knows about his past. Then a little girl's body is found at the site of the old tragedy and Rob is drawn back into the mystery. Knowing that he would be thrown off the case if his past were revealed, Rob takes a fateful decision to keep quiet but hope that he might also solve the twenty-year-old mystery of the woods. 

©2007 Tana French (P)2008 Oakhill Publishing

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What listeners say about In the Woods

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Don't miss this one, literary crime lovers...

Where does In the Woods rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

In the Woods is one of the best audiobooks I've listened to - partly because I love the story & the writing (I've actually read it before) - but also because it's very well read.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

The protagonist's back story is gripping & informs the present-day plot & main character's actions. Without giving anything away, the main character starts to lose the plot as past & present come together...

What does John McCormack bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

I usually prefer reading books but love to listen to audiobooks while driving or walking the dogs. One thing I don't like when listening to an audiobook is the (more old-fashioned) over-the-top storytelling style that quite a few readers have - almost like they're reading to children.

John McCormack reads in a more realist style, more like he's telling you the facts in a one-sided conversation. It draws you in. At the same time his voice is very clear & pleasant to listen to.

At first I thought his BBC accent was some sort of horrible mistake, as the character (told in first person) is Irish, but it emerges that he in fact (for an important reason) does have an English accent. It's a brilliant element of John McCormack's reading that his accent very subtly slides into a more Irish one as events unfold.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Many moving moments - & John McCormack doesn't overplay them - he's a subtle reader. Very effective.

Any additional comments?

The ending was almost ruined. As the narrator says his last words - voice low, atmospheric - a loud voice comes almost over his voice & intones 'Audible hopes you've enjoyed this program'. I needed a few beats to process what the ending was telling me - frustrating, & completely at odds with the style of book & the reading.

10 people found this helpful

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A nice start to the series

If you could sum up In the Woods in three words, what would they be?

Well worth listening.

What was one of the most memorable moments of In the Woods?

The quality of writing continued to impress me.

Did John McCormack do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

John McCormack was a good, not great, narrator (but I am fussy). Make sure you get this version rather than the one narrated by Steven Crossley if chronic mouth clicks and whistles give you the creeps.

Any additional comments?

The lovely Marian Keyes (via Twitter) often heaps praise on Tana French, so I thought I should give her a go. I wasn't disappointed. BUT although this is a series, the next books are about different characters, so there isn't an on-going story arc as such. The second book lost me with its rather far fetched story. This one, though, is very enjoyable, but beware, not every loose end is tied up.

5 people found this helpful

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very suspensful story, annoying voice

Where does In the Woods rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the best criminal thrillers, definitely. Keeps you on the edge of your chair and does it by elegant psychological means, not by resorting to guns and chases

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of John McCormack?

pretty much anyone. He takes some getting used to so that you even concentrate enough to understand what he says - Text-to-Voice in Kindle would be about as good. It gets better later in the book, though, so bear with him. The story is worth it!

3 people found this helpful

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Incredible writing, poor ending


I truly enjoyed the delightful literary style of this author. But I became slightly tired of building out the relationship of the two main detectives and the too-cuteness of it, and then that it fell in a heap in the end. I put up with the slightly cloying character and relationship building, almost for nothing it seems. But the writing itself was poetic and beautiful and imaginative and made it worth it for me.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

A very solid writing style

I liked this novel, even though it left me very frustrated with the ending and with a lot of questions. There was something very different in the narration which was great and very realistic most of the time, but sometimes it kind of wasn’t.
I will hopefully convey this part without spoilers: the narrator at one point turns to the reader and tells us about the person behind the murder: “you were fooled too.” I literally knew who ‘dun it’ in the first few sentences when they were introduced. I immediately thought ‘narcissist’ and the step to ‘psychopath’ wasn’t too big.
I can’t say what bugs me without spoilers, all I can say: I wish more things were explained. Maybe in later novels. The writing was good. The main character was a bit of a tool, but a lot of the supporting characters made up for him. Cassie is awesome.

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Captivating story mostly badly read

I persisted with this because the story was so complex and the characters interesting but nearly gave because of the awful reader: wrong cadence and intonation peppered through. He did get better as it went on.

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An overly stretched short story

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Chapters 20 till end (25) is the entire mystery and the whole read.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Predictable and undramatic.

What three words best describe John McCormack’s voice?

Dull and monotonous. Needs lessons in pronunciation. Calling Urdu (oordu) Erdu????? Really? So high handedness and disregard

Did In the Woods inspire you to do anything?

Change the book

Any additional comments?

I'm thoroughly disappointed and completely misguided with Audible's recommendation of this book.

2 people found this helpful

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Give this a berth -- a wide one

Who ever wrote the blurb needs to be retired. Looked interesting but far too long and the dialogues are insulting to the Irish (they couldn't be that primitive). I fast-forwarded to the end to find out who did it and even that was a let down.

1 person found this helpful

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  • M. M. Makki
  • 02-22-19

Tana French writes beautifully

This is a great story but it is ruined by a very unpleasant and grating narrative style. The narrator’s voice annoyed me so much I just gave up in the end. Don’t the people who hire narrators listen to them????

12 people found this helpful

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  • Kirstine
  • 11-29-13

Not as good as later books

I was impressed by the author's more recent books, Broken Harbour and Faithful Place, but felt that "In the Woods" less good. There's an interesting detective story in it but it's slowed down by too much self-indulgent literary descriptive stuff and wallowing in the visceral effects of shocks and disclosures on the chief character's digestive and nervous systems. I kept wanting to shout "get on with the story!" As par for the course the lead detectives are damaged by their pasts that impinge on the case but it does add to the interest. As is often the case in novels the authors appears to assume that doing an under-graduate course in psychology equips one to learn about and diagnose psychological and mental illness: it doesn't. Clinical psychology is a postgraduate qualification. I felt that the psychological explanation for the actions of one of the protagonists in the murder was far-fetched. I did finish the book but have to admit it was with relief.
The narrator is good.

15 people found this helpful

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  • BA50
  • 09-16-19

Good Story!

I liked this book and wanted to finish it to find out what happened to all the characters ands who murdered who but there were loose ends that personally I don't like in a book so I was disappointed .

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Clairemc
  • 01-16-13

A good listen.

I really enjoy Tana Woods books. Well written, good developed characters and a 'must finish' feel about them. My only gripe is that I always feel the story is never quite finished - unanswered questions too.

9 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Alicia
  • 08-17-12

Feeling disappointed.

My review of this novel might be unfair, but the truth is that I was unable to get past more than a few chapters because the narrator made what had been a wonderfully gentle pace of plot in 'Broken Harbour' (different narrator), deadly dull. I found myself listening out for the next cliche while wishing I didn't have to listen to the dialogue between the main character and his new work partner.

Such a shame because I adored 'Broken Harbour' which was one of the best reads I've had. Not sure that I can risk my credits on giving Tana French another chance.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Hilary
  • 01-06-14

Dire narration

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A more complete ending - either I missed something or the original mystery did not get resolved!
A different narrator - it was painful to listen to. The 'English' accent and intonation was all wrong and spoilt the whole book for me.

What was most disappointing about Tana French’s story?

The ending to the initial disappearance story. There wasn't one unless I fell asleep and missed it.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of John McCormack?

Anyone! But ideally the Narrator of Broken Harbour, by the same Author, which was Hugh Lee.

Any additional comments?

Please check your narrators before releasing books in Audible as this was a disaster.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Borbála
  • 02-07-13

Brilliant thriller

This was one of the best choices I have made on Audible. Brilliantly written, excellent characters and dialogues. It was a joy to listen to, kept me on edge the whole time.



My only problem was with the narrator who was a bit annoying. I have never heard anyone speak like this. Not even the Queen pronounces individual words so carefully within a sentence, it just doesn't sound authentic. The accents are great though. When he switches to one the character suddenly comes alive and it doesn't sound like a narrator reading from a book anymore.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Carol
  • 10-19-14

Strange & pointless

Was In the Woods worth the listening time?

Not really.

Any additional comments?

The premise of the story is promising, and draws you in, but then it just goes on and on, goes nowhere, and dribbles out. Although the crime is solved, the back story for the central character - i.e. the child who survived - is left hanging. While the author probably had a reason for this, it is very unsatisfying as a listener as this what hooked me in the first place. Also, the narrator is awful. Even though the plummy BBC accent is explained, it really spoils the story. Generally, the strange intonations & inflections of the narrator change the meaning of sentences, and often leaves them hanging or as if they were meant to be questions. Specifically, his characterisation of the main suspect makes him sound like a moron.This is the second Tana French book I've listened to - I kept living in hope as it went on, but I should have learned the first time. I don't think I'll listen to any more.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Busy
  • 11-24-20

Not Great

This was recommended for someone who had enjoyed Robert Galbraith's Strike series.... If that's what brought you here, do NOT waste your money.
The story is ok but a little predictable. The narrator however has the most annoying, tongue-curling, frustrating intonation and accent.
I couldn't wait to finish it, for all the wrong reasons.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Will
  • 09-25-16

absolutely terrible

complete and utter pretentious nonsense. The plot well there is no plot. The narration on this audio is the most annoying I have ever had the misfortune of listening to. I would give it 0 stars if it would allow. This is a series I can now skip.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-07-18

Don’t go there!

A tedious protagonist who garners no empathy from the audience. The Cassie/Rob relationship was explored ad nauseas and then was totally destroyed in a nanosecond. Really?And so much spent on the totally unresolved disappearance of two children. Between these two factors the main murder was almost an afterthought! Go for a poke in the eye with a burnt stick- less painful.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Donna
  • 11-10-16

Good story

Loved the story, twisted and turned. Kept me listening and wanting to get to the next chapter. I thought the reader was a little boring, something about his deliverance didn't hit home with me. Having said that Hugh Lee the reader of previous Tana French books is a hard act to follow.

6 people found this helpful

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  • oneofthe band
  • 05-28-18

pretentious crap

pretentious crap. picked the result early. narrating character is wholly unlikable. very unsatisfied ending. don't buy it.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Victoria
  • 03-06-15

Slow but sure

I use talking books to help with my disturbed sleep. This books excessive description of the main relationship between Rob & Cassey I found irritating & unnecessarily prolonged the storyline. The 2 in 1 mystery plot line was interesting but infuriatingly only one plot line was concluded, the other was very unsatisfactorily dealt with.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Gabrielle
  • 11-30-18

story ended abruptly

at the end it just stopped and I thought I had accidentally forwarded it to the end. bit weird. otherwise a good story.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-03-18

If you like happy endings, this isn't for you.

This was a beautifully written book with engaging characters. The narrator was pretty good too. This book just made me sad, most of the plot remains unresolved.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Pamela
  • 05-19-15

Enjoyable

Great intriguing story. Excellent reader. Recommended to anyone who loves a good murder mystery. Great first novel by author

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Greta
  • 12-05-21

4 times as long as it needed to be

This book had the potential to be excellent but, my goodness, even on audio it was tedious to get through. I listened on 1.4 speed but still seemed longer than necessary.
Unnecessary descriptions and details as fillers.
Was not happy with the ending or that something was not revealed or at least hinted at at the end (didn't want to spoil it by saying).

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-20-21

Story Is Great, Narrator Is Painful

Story is great, well written and gripping. Narrator sounds like he has a cold and keeps making awful swallowing sounds throughout.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-21-21

Not the best.

I love Tara French but like this the least of all her books. I enjoyed the story but found the main character very unlikeable. The narration is seriously awful (and I’m not usually fussy about narration) it’s stilted, lifeless, and unconvincing and makes the main character even less likeable. I think that it’s the main thing that lets this audiobook down. I notice this books gets much better reviews in its book form.