I bought this book because of the cover. I'm not kidding. It looked like such a cool cover that I just had to have it.
Luckily the book was cool too. The first book from Irish writer Tana French, it's a dual mystery story. The present-day mystery is of a 12-year-old girl who has turned up murdered on the site of an archeological dig in a Dublin suburb. The two investigating detectives are Cassie Maddox and Rob Ryan. And there's the second mystery. Twenty years earlier, three children disappeared in the woods in the same neighborhood. Only one was ever found, alive, clinging desperately to a tree, his shoes filled with blood, with no memory of what happened. That surviving child is Rob Ryan, then known as Adam.
The book is narrated by Ryan, who starts to crumble under the strain of investigating a murder in the same location as his childhood trauma. Memories from his haunted past begin to return, floating desperately outside his consciousness. There are wonderful characters, and both Ryan and Maddox are vivid and empathetic human beings. There are some flaws, particularly in the obvious lies of one of the people involved. They are telegraphed so broadly that it seems impossible that a supposedly intelligent detective like Ryan, even in his mentally addled state, would not see them as well as the readers do.
But there are some really gripping scenes and a few revelations that come as a huge surprise. And there were even a couple of moments where I found myself holding my breath. I would read more of French's work. Even if the covers are not as cool as this one.
But for now, I must face the other massive volume I promised to read this year: The Power Broker, all 1200 densely packed pages of it. I promised to read this book and War and Peace by year's end, and December 31st is coming at me fast. Better get back to reading...