Reviewed by Heather
Mystery/suspense novels are my absolute favorite genre to read. They can also be my least favorite if they're not written well. I like a mystery to be solvable by my own personal "detective" skills, yet surprising enough that I don't piece the entire thing together right away. As a huge Miss Marple fan, I also believe that the detective or detectives' personalities in the case can make or break the novel. The key ingredients to a mystery novel are a plot that keeps you turning pages, a surprising twist and characters with flaws. Not necessarily likable characters either. REAL characters.
Tana French supplied all three in "In the Woods" (although I would have expected a more grabbing title).
Mark and Cassie's sexual tension is palpable. You're rooting for them to see it, but at the same time hoping they don't mess up their absolutely adorable friendship. They were believable and lovable, despite their incredible character flaws. Don't we all have flaws? A perfect character wouldn't be that believable.
As far as turning the pages, I was desperate to not only figure out who killed Katy (although I had an inkling of the motive), yet I couldn't be sure that the two cases which were so seamlessly woven together, were not connected. You don't know until the very end of they are or they aren't.
And finally, the plot twist. It's not what you think I'm referring to. The identity of the murderer (or rather the person responsible for the murder) was pretty obvious to me within the first few chapters. After reading so many novels of this genre, subtle clues became easier to pick out. But the way the novel ended, now that's not what I was expecting at all and THAT'S what a plot twist is ladies and gentlemen. I see a few reviews crucifying the author for not wrapping everything up in a tidy package for the reader. If you want that, go read a romance novel with a happily ever after. This is a mystery/suspense thriller.