Yesterday, I was sick. Some sort of icky head cold that could have been either a back-to-school thing or due to the poor air quality we currently have in town with all the wildfires raging nearby. Whatever the case, I felt so awful yesterday that I pretty much spent the entire day laying on the couch. I didn’t have the mental energy to read, and the TV held no appeal whatsoever, so I spent the whole day listening to the second half of In the Woods by Tana French.
In the Woods is a double mystery set in Ireland. It’s told from the point of view of Detective Ryan, in whose childhood lies the first mystery. The present-day mystery may or may not be related to the old one, and the book explores the detective work in the process of figuring both cases out (or trying to, at least).
I enjoyed In the Woods, though I do wish I’d spread it out a bit longer. I enjoyed the first half, which I listened to over the course of two weeks, much better than the second half. I think I sort of ruined the experience for myself, listening to it all at once that way. By the time I got to the various climaxes, I was ready for the book to end, not because it wasn’t good, but because I’d had enough of it for the day. I should have stopped, but didn’t.
It didn’t help that in the second half, I really started to dislike the narrator, Detective Ryan, who turns out to be a world-class jerk. I’m still trying to work out in my mind if he had a reason for being so awful. Something about the psychology just didn’t feel right. It felt less like a realistic personality shift and more like an author-contrived vehicle to move the story a specific direction, and that never sits well with me. It was particularly bad in this case because there is so much emphasis on psychology all throughout the story.
However, out of the whole book, that’s the only thing that really bothered me, so over all, I still think it was well done. I spotted the culprit very early on, but still had a good time watching how things unfolded. I particularly enjoyed how the book ended, that it wasn’t as cut and dry as many mysteries are. I appreciate realism in books and definitely appreciated it here. It made the book far more unique than expected. I’m looking forward to listening to the next volume of this series, though I’ll probably wait a few months to give myself a rest between the two books.
Performance: The audio I listened to was read by Steven Crossley, who did a fine job. No complaints.