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In the Woods

Narrated by: John McCormack
Series: Dublin Murder Squad, Book 1
Length: 18 hrs and 58 mins
4 out of 5 stars (537 ratings)

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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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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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????

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

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.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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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 .

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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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    2 out of 5 stars
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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

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

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.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

could have been a five star

I like a good read and felt that Tana French may just deliver the right blend of intrigue and interest I enjoy. initially the setting was interesting

and her writing style fresh, but About a third of the way through I was a little puzzled about where this story was taking me: was it a murder mystery or an angst ridden story?..... it didn't seem to gel in places. Then at times I thought we may be getting somewhere but the most interesting characters were not fully formed and what I thought were clues to the plot really fizzled out disappointingly. however I won't give up because it feels as if this is a writer with much better to come.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

I could not put it down

This was a refreshing book - seemingly ordinary and yet very intricate. The relationships are very believable and when it was finished I missed the characters. I also played in the woods when I was a child and it took me back there. I have just ordered another Tana French book to read on holiday.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-08-12

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.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Margaret
  • 06-08-12

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Darja
  • 19-11-12

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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Tess Beck
  • 31-03-19

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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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Mackenzie
  • 04-02-13

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

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jaydeep
  • 17-09-16

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.

1 person found this helpful