Just finished reading Tana French's "In The Woods". Never read any reviews of it. My wife and my neighbor loved it and I understand it did well in the awards and sales areas.
I'm not generally a mystery reader although I've read a lot of mysteries. Donna Leon. Dick Francis, the old masters, Lawrence Block. But I've read two of French's book, this one and "Faithful Place". I enjoyed them but both struck me not so much as mysteries.
My wife and I chatted about it because she loved the books, loved the way they're written, French's use of words. Very illuminating chatting to this reader. She's an intelligent, very widely read reader. She enjoyed how French got into the character's head and how well she drew characters.
I thought that true but also thought, there is more. French writes about psychology and relationships. Cop and cop, cop and family, cop and killer, killer and family, brother and sister, brother and brother, mother and father, father and daughter, sister and sister. She shows how much decisions are tapestries of experiences. Threads are rarely cut but become part of a more complex weave.
It's helpful for my writer. I like concepts and ideas. The character and story are often second to that. Probably one of my writing's largest shortcomings. In writing "True Being" I was more concerned about what happened and not how the character reacted, except for how he was 'in the moment'. But now I see how that short changed the reader. I'd already sort of recognized this and had been addressing it but reading French and thinking about her book (and my wife's insights) sharply illuminated the cracks and crevices I need to fill.
In TB, his mother and parents has disappeared and he's gone to the SF Bay Area where this strange event is going on, and he's dredging up his past, but I hurried it. Just realized the other day, he gets home (to his parents' house) and finds it quiet, he has worrying thoughts. What if they are dead? What if his father killed his mother and himself? Will he find their bodies?
And going back into the zone, which he traveled but his friends have not, he worries about them. They're going in with him for support but do they really understand how dangerous this is? It's posted on the web and it's happening a few miles away but it's a strange event. Why are they going in? Later, after they're dead and he's grasping memories and buried knowledge about his alien roots, he realizes, too, they were aliens, and wonders if they knew?
Funny writing about it in that voice, as he never calls them aliens; neither did I until know. They were human, but of a different route.
7:37. The sky has gained blue and sunlight is visible on leaves going gold to green. Time to stop blogging. I need to clean up and pack. I'm hitting the road in a few hours and I want to write before I go. I'm on vacation.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com