In the Woods Review
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On an afternoon in 1984, three children disappeared while playing in the woods. Only one of the children was eventually found—hugging a tree, traumatized beyond belief, and with someone else’s blood congealed in his shoes.

Dublin homicide detective Robert Ryan was that child. Now, years later, another little girl is found murdered near the Knocknaree woods, close to an archeological dig. And her death just might be related to what happened to Rob. His friends were never found, and he still doesn’t remember the first twelve years of his life, but he can’t forget that fact that his friends were ripped away from him at such a young age.

In order to stay active in the case, Detective Ryan doesn’t tell anyone but his partner, Cassie Maddox, that he was the little boy from the 1984 cold case. She reluctantly agrees to keep his secret, though it could cost both of them their careers if anyone finds out.

The investigation summons up emotional trauma for Rob as he searches for clues and answers, hoping he’ll be able to find the girl’s murderer and solve the disappearance of his childhood friends. The case drags him down until he’s on the brink of losing everything that’s important to him.

Dark, brooding, and depressing are just a few words to describe In the Woods. Though it’s profound and intense, I almost dreaded getting back to this mystery each night. It smacks too much of real life, and I’d rather be taken away from the world in the pages of a book. Instead, reading In the Woods was too much like watching the evening news.

Still, this haunting tale of murder, mixed up in a web of lies and deceit, is sheer literary genius. In addition to its rich plot and tortured characters, In the Woods swells with emotion. It drags readers deep into the drama. You’ll fight to be released, but you’ll be powerless to let go—not until you find out what happened, both now and then.

The ending, however, will leave you feeling weary and a bit frustrated—because it leaves you feeling unsure that justice was really served. Much like the story’s characters, you’ll walk away feeling betrayed and confused by this powerful and impassioned psychological thriller. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I prefer happier endings—and In the Woods is just too realistic for my taste.

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