Sunday, March 16, 2008


French, Tana. In The Woods (Viking $25; $14 June 2008).
A truly horrifying story set in Ireland—horrifying in what underpins her murder. A young girl who dreams of being a ballerina, is found in the woods (no, this is not Druids stuff). The crime eerily echoes the disappearance of two children some 30 years ago. The surviving child, 12-year-old Adam Ryan, was discovered with his back pressed against an oak tree, his shoes filled with blood. Adam has never been able to recall what happened that day. And now, using his middle name of Rob, he’s one of the Garda Siochána team working the little dancer’s murder…. Part of what I like in this debut is the picture of the way crimes blight lives for good, as they do. And that life doesn’t always provide definite answers. What would you do if someone close to you, someone in your family, was a psychopath, a serial killer or arsonist?

And to read what happens if family members do nothing,

Tana French will sign The Likeness (Viking $24.95) here on August 1, 2008.

To explore a similar theme, read a February, 2008 first novel, Bill Floyd’s The Killer’s Wife

Lea loved this one. "Do you know who you are sleeping with?"

Appall yourself with Sadie Jones’ The Outcast (Harper $25; Chatto $70 Signed UK ed.), set in 1950s British suburbia.

Connolly, John. Book of Lost Things ($15). This glorious novel is built about the Irish author’s love of storytelling and the supernatural. From these he creates a coming-of-age story about a boy’s journey into adulthood combining dramatic themes (from fairy tales) with edge-of-your-seat suspense. A wonderful book to read aloud to the family or hug to yourself which embraces not just the Celtic tradition but the Brothers Grimm.

Hay, Sheridan. The Secret of Lost Things (Anchor $15.)In the same bookloving/lovers’ tradition, not Irish but underlining Connolly, try this 2007 Book Sense Pick: "Grumpy, odd booksellers, an immigrant who finds her place in the rarified / abysmal world of a New York bookstore, the whiff of an elusive Herman Melville manuscript, and, best of all, an author who can write about the world of books in words you will savor…of things and emotions lost and found, of lives and worlds that surround and abound with depths we never notice." An added treat is the recognizable portrait of that cherished institution, Manhattan’s The Strand bookstore, where thoussands have whiled away many hours—and so might you. A bibliophile’s delight this, and something of an Awful Warning as well.

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