5 stars on Goodreads, 4.5 in my mind.
So I don’t often read murder mysteries. It’s not really my favorite genre, and I tend to not enjoy the criminal investigation stuff I sometimes try to watch when it comes on TV. I guess that filtered into my reading habits, so when I picked up a copy of In the Woods, I did not expect to actually like the book.
To say I was surprised is an understatement.
It starts a little slow, with Adam Ryan–the main character and narrator–taking his sweet time to meander his way through to the main plot, but the addition of his detective partner Cassie helps speed that along. Cassie is a freaking amazing character, and ughhh, whenever things went sour for her it was like a punch to my heart. She’s smart, loyal, driven, and willing to face down trouble and danger. But she’s also vulnerable, even if she’s very good at disguising it. Overall, she has a rich, deep, character, and she really pulled the story together.
Adam Ryan is a great character, too, though for different reasons. He’s written to be problematic, and the author does a great job balancing his likeableness with his fatal flaws. Half the time, you’re not sure if you want to root for him, or smack him on the upside of the head.
There’s two interweaving plots in this book, one surrounding the disappearance of Ryan’s childhood friends, and one the murder of a young girl. The ending is far from satisfying if you’re looking for hard closure, but if you can appreciate the brutal precision of it, it’ll work for you.
There’s a few instances where Ryan’s ramblings spiral off into purple prose, but for the most part, the writing is actually quite beautiful. And there’s a few twists thrown in throughout the plot that are particularly harsh.
Overall, I thought that this was a great book. It did take a couple of chapters to really get into, but once I did, I found it hard to put down, especially as I got into the last 1/3 of the book.