53 pages 1 hour read

Tana French

In the Woods

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2007

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Character Analysis

Rob Ryan (Adam Ryan)

Adam Ryan is the survivor of a childhood missing person’s case. As an adult, he goes by his middle name and transforms himself into Rob Ryan—a detective with the Dublin Murder Squad. As the narrator of the story, he’s 31 years old and good-looking, with a tall, rangy build. He dresses elegantly in tailored suits like the senior detectives he admires so much. Rob shares an apartment with an emotionally draining roommate named Heather but avoids interacting with her. Instead, he spends many nights at his partner Cassie’s flat.

Once he starts working on the Devlin murder case, Rob is plagued by fragmented memories of his childhood. He never successfully remembers what happened in the woods. Any attempt to recapture the details of his childhood trauma paralyzes him with unnamed dread.

Cassie Maddox

Cassie Maddox is Rob’s partner on the Murder Squad. She is 28 years old and barely medium height, with dark bobbed curls, brown eyes, and a slim, square-shouldered build. She defies the unspoken detective dress code and prefers an eclectic look—cargo pants and pullovers.

Cassie lives in a studio flat that becomes the epicenter for impromptu meals and crime-solving discussions. Cassie and Rob bond instantly. When they team up as partners, they build an impressive arrest record despite their shared rookie status.