Plano Reads: In the Woods

Second Tuesday Book Club concludes our year of reading in November with a discussion of Tana French’s novel of psychological suspense, In the Woods.

It is the first book in what has become a best-selling series featuring police detectives in present-day Dublin, dramatically written with exceptional intensity and power.

We will meet on Tuesday, November 10, at 7 p.m. using Zoom. You can join this Zoom book club session via computer or phone. (Please note our slightly earlier start time this month.)

Register here to join us to discuss In the Woods with other members of our group, or contact Cathe Spencer at cathes@plano.gov for details.

In the Woods by Tana French

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In the Woods won four major awards for a first crime novel–the Edgar Award, from the Mystery Writers of America, the Barry Award, the Macavity Award, and the Anthony Award. In 2019, it became the basis for the Starz/BBC television series Dublin Murders.

On a sunny, perfect summer day outside Dublin, three children enter a nearby woods to play, but do not return. Only young Adam Ryan is eventually discovered, his shoes filled with blood, bruised, terrified and mute.

Decades later, now called Rob Ryan and a detective with Dublin’s Murder Squad, he is asked to investigate a murder that has taken place in these very woods, not far from where he was found. Troubled by fragments of memory, and the secrets he has kept from his good friend and partner Cassie, Rob spirals far back into his distressing past. Will Rob and Cassie be able to solve both cases? And what sort of awful psychological price will Rob have to pay if they do?


Reviewer Clare Longrigg of The Guardian comments that “Actor turned author Tana French’s prize-winning debut novel captures the sun-dappled idyll of an Irish holiday and locks it into an irretrievably damaged past. The detectives’ pursuit of the killer leads them tantalizingly close to the historical crime…”

Writing in The New Yorker, Laura Miller notes that “Rob Ryan, Cassie Maddox, and each of French’s other detectives not only narrate a case but navigate one of those rare interludes when a human being’s foundations shift permanently, for better or worse. Each of them is remade by events … [they] pursue mysteries, the kind that can never be completely solved, although we all spend a life’s worth of days in the trying.”


Tana French has been called by the Washington Post “one of the most interesting and important crime novelists of the last decade,” praised for her meticulously plotted, mesmerizing novels, and for what Stephen King calls her “nervy, obsessive prose.”

She was born in the United States, and has worked as an actress, but now lives in Dublin with her husband and daughters.

Her website is here: tanafrench.com and she is also on Facebook.


If you like In the Woods, and other books by Tana French, you might also enjoy these mysteries: A Double Life, by Flynn Berry, The Weight of Blood, by Laura McHugh, Belinda Bauer’s Darkside and Lou Berney’s The Long and Faraway Gone.


Register here to join us on Tuesday, November 10 at 7:15 p.m. via Zoom. We look forward to having you!

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