In the Woods

Borrowed from my sister blog JaneAustenRunsMyLife

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

So every 17th I try to make an Irish recipe in honor of the day. Usually I make some Irish Soda Bread and something else to go with it. But this year the holiday falls on a Tuesday and I have an Irish mystery to post:

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

This book came out twelve years ago and it is funny but I remember exactly when it came out because the title makes me think of Into the Woods and I just love the cover.

So I had tried to read it before, but every time something got in the way and I had to return the book. I finally got a chance to read it, and actually wished I hadn’t. Why? You’ll see.

In 1984 Ireland, three kids went in the woods to have a picnic. 12-year olds Peter, Jamie, and Adam spend all their free time in the woods-no one knows that area better than them. Jamie is very upset that day as it was her last before being sent away to boarding school so her single mother could go back to school.

That’s not what I wrote!

They three are furious to be separated and run off into the woods. When they don’t come back at tea time, Jamie’s mother starts to get upset but just thinks the kids are protesting again. When they don’t come back at suppertime, the parents are extremely worried and a search party is taken up. All they find is Adam Roy, no trace of the other children anywhere.

Adam is in shock, up a tree, and his shoes and socks soaked in blood not his own. Apparently, the socks were soaked in the blood and the blood bled through to the shoes. Search parties continued, the police detectives were called in, but no hide or hair was ever found of the other children.

Adam and his family moved away, the parents sending him to boarding school in England. Adam changes his name from Adam to his middle name, Rob, and destroys all evidence that “Adam” existed.

He’s gone.

He went on to become a police detective, getting on the murder squad like he always wished. A woman, Cassie Maddox, gets transferred on to murder squad and none of the guys trust her or like her. Rob thinks about getting it on with Cassie, but after she completely roasts him the two become best friends and partners.

One day they are wasting time when a case comes up and Cassie grabs it. The two get sent to the crime scene of a murdered child in the woods of Knocknaree, the very place that Adam’s friends disappeared.

They get to the Woods and talk to those that found the 12-year old. An archeological dig is going on before the area is destroyed for a new freeway. The girl was discovered on an old Druid ceremonial rock. She was hit in the head twice, asphyxiated by a plastic bag over the head, and raped post-mortem with a wooden handle.

Everything about it seems off. Why showcase the dead body instead of burying it or throwing it in the river? Why was it planned to bring a rock to hit her, but her being barely knocked on the head having to finish her off with asphyxiation?

Things get stranger when they look at the family. The girl turns out to be Katy Devlin, daughter of Jonathan Devlin–the same Jonathan that Rob remembers from his childhood. He was a bad guy-smoking cigarettes, doing nothing, raping a woman. This colors Rib’s view of him as he immediately dislikes him.

Bleh…

The family is odd though. Jonathan loved and idolized his daughter Katy and is heartbroken that she is dead, his favorite daughter.

Hmm…

Margaret Devlin, the wife, is really out of it, it seems as if she is on drugs. Aunt Vera, her sister, acts like the creepy grandma in Flowers in the Attic, skulking around.

This is not good

The other two daughters are strange as well. Katy’s twin Jessica is so out of it-doesn’t talk, hardly moves, just stares blankly into space…

Rosalind the eldest, seems upset, but also like she isn’t really that upset. She’s dramatic, treats Rob like a lover and is just odd. Like she is pretending to be older than her years.

The archeologists are just as strange. The absent-minded archeologist leader is scatter-brained, out of touch, and doesn’t know which way is up-but manages to put on a well oiled plan of excavation.

Mark, one of the other archeologists-angry, sharp, mean, an atheist, and yet performs druid libations on the stones.

Hmm…

Damian, another archeologist, and a quiet little boy who could be knocked over by a leaf.

Hmm…

Then there are the people who are pushing the freeway, they threatened the Devlins as Jonathan is the leader of the freeway protest.

Hmm…

And of course, her body was found on a Druid sacrificial stone-so is it cult related?

Roy, Cassie, and Detective Sam O’Neil are searching for the truth but find it opening up all kinds of wounds and secrets. Not only is the murder of a child extremely hard, but Sam loses his innocence as he discovers the people he trusted were not on the straight and narrow as he thought; Cassie has to deal with the domestic abuse and manipulations she faced on the past and things in the present are bringing up flashbacks; and Rob-well he has gone back to the place he never wanted to again-Knocknaree.

Will they discover the truth or will it stay unsolved as Jamie and Peter’s murder was?

Hmm…

Thoughts After Reading:

So I didn’t like this book. Adam/Rob is our narrator and admits in the beginning of the book that he is liar so it is hard to trust him. He reminds me a lot of Holden in Catcher in the Rye, so annoying.

Seriously!

It reminded me a bit of Moby-Dick, the summary is more interesting than the actual novel as the main character is annoying and constantly waxing on about his philosophy or random thoughts. It is even more annoying as he is a detective that does very little detecting.

It is like really dude? Get to work!

He is such a man child as he describes the best two years of his life was when he was living in a room doing nothing while Charlie was going to university and Charlie was disgusted with his lifestyle and the mess of a house? Plus he complains he has to rent a room from Heather (who mothers him in a lot of ways) as there is no place for him to afford and he is saving to move out when Cassie has her own apartment and moved there after him and presumably makes the same amount of money.

So annoying!

He’s also a complete narcissist, only caring about himself. He hates visiting his parents and seeing them, only cares about how they relate to him, thinks everything has to do with him, everyone is talking about him, etc.

We all know how they think highly of themselves, and only themselves, but Rob also exhibits this:

  • Become impatient or angry when they don’t receive special treatment
  • Have significant interpersonal problems and easily feel slighted
  • React with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make themselves appear superior
  • Have difficulty regulating emotions and behavior
  • Experience major problems dealing with stress and adapting to change
  • Feel depressed and moody because they fall short of perfection
  • Have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation

This guy!

Plus I hated the ending. The death of Katy had a great twist bit but they never tell you what happened to Jamie and Peter. Ugh, so infuriating!!!

Let me know!!!

For more mysteries with child disappearances, go to The Key to Midnight

For more Saint Patrick’s Day recipes, go to Irish Potato Pie

For more mysteries, go to The Thumb Mark of St. Peter

Death by Desire

Ready for our next Christmas mystery?

Death by Desire (Caribbean Murder #4) by Jaden Skye

This time Cindy and Mattheus head to St. Bart’s a few days before Christmas. A senator’s daughter, Tiffaney, disappeared from her engagement party and wound up dead on the beach.

As they delve into the case they meet Tiffaney’s boisterous and demanding father; an obsessed and controlling mother, Tiffaney’s twin who hated her guts, a fiancé that is the complete opposite and depressed, Tiffaney’s strange soon-to-be parents-in-law, a Russian mogul who wants to take the Senator down, and the rest of the fancy, conniving, secret-filled crowd they spend time with.

As they continue they discover there is much more to Tiffaney than what met the eye. Drugs, lovers, and lots of secrets and hidden pieces to this case.

Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t care for it. Poor storyline and grammar.

Ugh!

Cindy and Mattheus were very annoying with each other-Mattheus seemed to belittle and ignore Cindy. The ending was  dumb, the villain picked almost at random and everything too easily wrapped up with a “twist”. And they pretty much copied Laura’s character from Twin Peaks

For more Caribbean Murder Mysteries, go to Death by Marriage

For more Jayden Skye, go to Death by Divorce

For more Christmas mysteries, go to Wuthering Heights

Sleeping Beauty

sleepingbeauty

I’m not talking about that Sleeping Beauty. I’m talking about this one:

sleepingbeauty

Sleeping Beauty by Phillip Margolin

Lawyer Miles Van Meter is on a book tour to promote his bestseller, Sleeping Beauty, a true crime account of the attack on his twin sister Casey that left her in a coma.

Aw...

Aw…

As Miles begins discussing the case, talking about everything that happened, little does he know that afterwards; something extremely important to the case will be revealed.

unsolvedmystery

We travel to six years earlier and to an event that would change the course of someone’s life forever.

suspense

Ashley is seventeen years old, soccer star, and just your average girl next door. After winning the state championship, her best friend decides to stay the night. But what should have been a fun time with friends turns out to be night filled with horror.

Sabrina the teenage witch salem dum di dum dum dum

But somebody else decides to crash the party.

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A serial killer kills Ashley’s father, along with raping and murdering Tanya. After taking care of Tanya the serial killer does something completely unusual, takes a break and eats some cake left out downstairs.

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How weird is that? Does killing activate his sweet tooth? Is he so confident in his success he can just break to celebrate?

HMMM

While he is occupied, Ashley is able to escape.

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After the ordeal, Ashley is ready to give up on everything. That is, until she and her mother receive an invitation and scholarship for the prestigious private school, Oregon Academy. They decide the best thing for everyone is a new start, and accept. There they meet Casey Van Meter who shows them the school and introduces the pair to their onsite writer, Joshua Maxfield. Ashley’s mother, Terri, decides to stay on for the summer to attend Joshua’s writing class while Ashley helps out in the summer soccer camp.

Lordoftherings LifeisGood

Terri attends the writing class and becomes horrified when she hears Maxfield read a story that is full of details of her daughter’s case, including the part about eating sweets which was never publicized.

thenannygasp

Terri notifies the police and starts researching into Maxfield. When Terri discusses it with Casey, Casey rebuffs her; only to call Terri later and stranglely, ask to meet up at the boathouse to reveal some information.

Very fishy

Very fishy

Later that same night, Ashley is walking around when she has the misfortune to hear screams and discover her mother’s and Casey’s stabbed bodies.

luke-noooo-o

She also sees Maxfield with a knife.

AAAAHHHHH

While a huge manhunt after Maxfield commences, once again Ashley flees for her life.

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Within this story are a lot of twists and turns, secret adoptions, revealed identities, psychotic killers, and more.

urkelgif interesting hmm

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Thoughts After Reading:

I HATED this book.

Hate him.

The plot wasn’t bad but the way it was told was horrible.

IDon'tlikeit

It keeps going back and forth in time which is so confusing and makes it so hard to focus on what was happening and when it happened.

What'sHappening?BigBangTheory

At times I thought it was boring and a bit too unbelievable. Really stretching it there.

no-way-gif-gifs

I thought that the end twist was good, but the path wasn’t done well. It was just too confusing and made the book horrible to me.

thumbsdown

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For more stand alone mysteries, go to Ticker

For more serial killers, go to The Alchemy of Murder

For more mysteries, go to A Murder in Mohair