Rainy Day's Books, Video Games and Other Writings


tana french

Book Review: In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad #1)

In the Woods Book Cover

Rating: 3 stars

A gorgeously written novel that marks the debut of an astonishing new voice in psychological suspense.

As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children. He is gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a 12-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox (his partner and closest friend) find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.

As a crime scene novel, this book perfectly depicted how investigators solve crimes. There was just enough mystery and suspense to keep me interested in finding out what Ryan and his partner Cassie discovered. The writing was the perfect tone, adding to the suspense when needed, and describing the setting of the world around Ryan in perfect detail. It made me engaged, wanting to know more about what happened. Also enjoyed that the setting took place in Ireland because I haven’t read too many novels that take place in other countries. So it’s always interesting reading books like this where the setting isn’t somewhere I’m familiar with.

I also enjoyed hearing more about Ryan’s past. While he’s definitely not my favorite detective in this book, I loved learning more about the trauma he went through and understanding how that shaped him into the character read about in the book. I also enjoyed his friendship with Cassie, my favorite character in the book. I found both of them together as partners to be very amusing when solving crimes because they had amazing chemistry.

But while I enjoyed these aspects of In the Woods, there were so many things with this novel too that left me criticizing it. For one, Ryan’s character wasn’t great. When I first started reading this book, I didn’t mind him all that much. But the more I read, the less I liked him. I think my disdain for him is because of the way he acts with Cassie and the way he talks about his past. After everything they’ve been through together and Ryan saying Cassie is his best friend, he lets their friendship go without a fight over the dumbest thing. He ruins his friendship with her instead of trying to talk things out like responsible adults are supposed to do. And she tries to set things right, but he wants nothing more to do with her until it’s too late. That really bothers me because she was his best friend, yet he doesn’t act like it after what happened. I also don’t like the way he talks about his past because he’s never let go of the one mystery surrounding his childhood, the one he has the opportunity of solving only to let it slip through his fingers. I get his memory of events is skewered, but when he’s given the chance to solve the crime that has literally changed his life, he doesn’t put his best effort into it. He starts remembering some of the events that came before, but doesn’t even push himself to figure out what happened.

I also don’t like how the main case in this story was solved. There were so many mistakes made during the investigation that it took a lot longer for them to solve the crime if they’d looked in certain places at the very beginning. I also didn’t like who they chose as the scapegoat for the crimes because the person who actually came up with the idea got away with it completely.

To be honest, I was completely disappointed by the end of the story. There was so much buildup that I was expecting things to end differently. But that wasn’t the case at all. Instead, things change for the worse and the mysterious crime that occurred during the narrator’s childhood is never solved, despite the flashbacks in the past he experienced.

So while I enjoyed reading In the Woods, there were a lot of things in the story that left me disappointed, wanting more than what was given. Nonetheless, I plan on reading the second book in this series The Likeness in hopes that it’ll be a better read.

If We Were Having Coffee: Life Moving Forward

If We Were Having Coffee Image Two

If we were having coffee, I’d let you know my cousin’s graduation last Saturday went really well. It was really nice, seeing family and getting to spend time with everyone. Even if my three days in Georgia went by faster than I expected. Nonetheless, it was still nice because I found out what my family in Pennsylvania and Boston have been up to. My aunt informed me that my cousin has a job after graduation. So not only did my cousin graduate, but he now has a job in Georgia too, which is really exciting. Means we have a family member closer to us now so if we ever want to visit, we can. Regardless though, I’m really proud of my cousin for graduating college and am happy that he’s able to start working after college immediately. Wish I had been so lucky.

If we were having coffee, I’d also tell you that while I haven’t done as much writing lately as I’d like, I’ve still managed to put up some blog posts. Whenever I was at home the week of my cousin’s graduation, I was able to put up the second post I’d submitted to Book Riot after some careful editing. I also published those two poems on my blog this Monday after some careful debating in my head on whether I wanted to publish them or not. Both of the poems were written straight from the heart so I wasn’t sure if I wanted to publish them on here for everyone to see. But after debating with my head last weekend, I made the decision to publish them. And after seeing how well they’ve been received on my blog, I don’t regret it.

If we were having coffee, I’d say I’m glad you all are enjoying my writing. While I know I haven’t been doing too many blog posts lately, from the ones I’ve done this week, I see they are being well received. That really makes me happy because I love writing and sharing my work with others. So it makes me pleased that my readers are enjoying the work I’ve created. I know I’m in a writing slump right now so I’m going to try the best I can to publish more posts on my blog. That’s why I’m hoping to do more flash fiction challenges whenever I get the chance and would love to post more of my own creative work. But I just have to wait and see what the writing gods have in store for me.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you this week has been a pretty slow one for me. Most of it I spent at home, hanging out with my friend or watching YouTube videos. I didn’t really do too much else this week. I meant to do some job applications, but that didn’t work out the way I’d hoped. So I’m going to try and regroup and do some this week. My goal is to have done at least three to four job applications a day. Whether I actually do that we will see. But I definitely hope to get a job in my field very soon. The summer isn’t over yet so we will see.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you my progress on Console Wars has started to go a little slow. Not because I’m losing interest in reading it or anything, just finding myself wanting to do other things instead. So while I haven’t been reading it as much, I’m planning on finishing it very soon. I also acquired two more books this week on Wednesday. The books I’ve acquired are Shadow Mountain: A Memoir of Wolves, a Woman, and the Wild by Renee Askins and In the Woods by Tana French. These books I also plan on reading soon after I finish the book I’m reading now and the books I bought at Barnes & Noble I mentioned on my last coffee post.

Two New Books One

If we were having coffee, I’d also say I’ve started to get back into coloring again. The last coloring page I started on I’ve stopped working on for the time being and will come back to it later because I need to sharpen my color pencils. So I’m using the crayons Mom gave me for my birthday to work on a different coloring page. But besides coloring, I’ve been really getting into watching the YouTubers I enjoy and started playing a game on Facebook I used to really enjoy called Criminal Case, an app where you play as a crime scene investigator and search for evidence to catch the killer. It’s a really enjoyable game to play and I enjoy every minute I spend playing it.

If we were having coffee, I’d also tell you I’ve been wanting to get my hair cut lately. Part of that is because my family wanted me to get it cut before my cousin’s graduation. They feel like my hair is getting really long and needs to be trimmed down. But I think that if I’m going to get my hair cut in any way, I might as well go all the way and get a completely different style. So after much debate, I’ve decided that I’m going to get it cut really short. I’ve actually decided to get a pixie cut because I like the way it looks and think it’d look really nice on me. But I won’t know for sure until my hair gets cut. So for now until I make an appointment to get my hair done, I’ll stick with my long hair. But here’s what it looks like for those wondering.

Pixie Haircut Style

And I think that’s about it. I hope all of you are doing well and had a wonderful week.

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