In the Woods by Tana French
Rob Ryan is an Irish detective with a past that he and his parents have spent most of his life trying to hide. In the mid 1980s, as a boy he and his two best friends disappeared into the woods near their housing development. Rob was the only one the searchers found, and then he was wearing blood filled sneakers and unable to recount what had happened to him or his friends.
Twenty years later, he's a murder detective in Dublin, hiding his identity from his peers and superiors when a body is found in the same woods by an archeological dig crew. Rob is assigned the case, with his partner Cassie and he insists on taking it, even though it hits way too close to home, literally and figuratively.
Rob finds himself a prisoner to his secrets, not knowing how they will affect his career if/when they get out and knowing that he may be able to solve two murder mysteries if he plays his cards right. When 12 year old Katy Devlin's body is found laid out on an altar at an archeological dig site in the same housing development and woods where Rob disappeared and was found 20 years before, he realizes that he can not escape the past he spent the intervening years trying to bury. Who killed Katy? And, could finding her killer possibly bring resolution to Rob's own mystery?
Can you imagine spending so much time becoming someone other than the victim of a horrible crime, only to have to confront that person again after a young girl is murdered? Even if you can't, or can't imagine that you can, for that matter, you will after reading this book. Rob Ryan and Cassie and their new partner Sam are likable and interesting and well written. Rob's experience as a child and, more so, the way he and his family dealt with it, have left him in a strange situation, when his life as a professional and detective in an Irish murder unit threaten to unravel. Rob is a fiery car crash that you can't avoid. You can see it all coming and you want him to avoid it, but can't see a way out.
I couldn't identify with any of these characters and I can't imagine how this book would be experienced by anyone who could. That doesn't mean that I wasn't transported to that police station, or that I didn't feel and believe the truth of this story. French presents a scenario and story that I hope I can never relate to , or that anyone else can either. The plot was strong, the book well written and a strong start for a series. No, I haven't read further yet, but I will definitely be checking back in with the Dublin Murder Squad.