12 Following

Leah's Bookshelf

Likes: Horror, macabre, fairy tales, ghosts, hauntings, serial killers, zombies, werewolves, shapeshifters, vampires, time travel, orphans, clones, thrillers, classics, gothic


I like to read anything that tells a good story, duh ;) Genre doesn't really matter much but I tend to read dark fiction and fantasy the most. I skip chick lit and romance novels with a few exceptions for the extraordinary.


My ratings system:

5 stars - ADORED; plan to read over and over and over.

4 stars - ENJOYED; will likely read once or twice more.

3 stars - LIKED; may or may not read again ... someday.

2 stars - MEH; no plans to read again.

1 stars - I didn't enjoy the story and was lucky to finish.

0 stars - I couldn't or wouldn't finish for reasons that may or may not be listed in the review box.

Currently reading

The Oxford Book of American Short Stories
Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Henry James, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Washington Irving, Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, Ray Bradbury, Charlotte Gilman Perkins, Willa Carter, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Stephen Crane, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Katherine Anne Porter, Eudora Welty, Nath
Progress: 225/768 pages

In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad #1) by Tana French

In the Woods - Tana French

Rating: 3.5 of 5


It took me two months to rate and review In the Woods. Why? Simply, the ending. I'm a huge fan of books and movies that don't tie everything up with a neat little bow. But all those stories had one crucial element: I did not walk away feeling cheated or disappointed. The writers of those stories knew how to satisfy my needs and certain expectations whilst resolving little or nothing. French did not; in fact, her ending ruined what would've been a five-star mystery.


So why the high-ish rating? Simply, the brilliant writing. There were several times during In the Woods when I wanted to stop reading. Not because of the prose or the plot (or even the unlikable characters) but because the pace stood still - even in moments of potential breakthroughs and ah-ha moments. It never felt immediate - the conflict, the main character's trauma, anyone's choices, etc. Yet, I couldn't stop because trickster that she is, French knew how to use a few choice words to keep the hooks deep. Unfortunately the hook tended to rely heavily on my need to know what happened to Ryan as a child. (The unspoken promise that I would be rewarded if only I made it to page 429.) The catalyst for Ryan's return to Knocknaree and subsequent descent into obsession with his own past - the mystery of Katy's murder - wasn't as intriguing as the mystery surrounding Adam Ryan and his friends. Frankly, I had almost no curiosity about Katy's death and what actually happened to her.


Here's the thing, French broke my trust. The trust I place in every storyteller: If I sit and listen quietly and patiently enough, my time won't be wasted; I'll leave satisfied. Some writers do that with a likable protagonist and a traditional point a to b to c style. Other writers satisfy with a foul protagonist and an unconventional style. There doesn't have to be a clean, pretty ending with answers to everything and concrete resolution. But the ending MUST satisfy the reader. So if you're the writer of a mystery that features two or more cases, and you don't plan to solve all cases, you best choose the most compelling one.


Sadly, I don't see myself picking up another French novel; I wouldn't want to risk spending my time on another disappointment. Not when there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other stories that won't waste my time.