Title: The Witch Elm
Author: Tana French
Publication Date: October 9, 2018
Page Count: 528
My rating: 2 1/2 stars
About the book:
Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who’s dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life – he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden – and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.
A spellbinding standalone from one of the best suspense writers working today, The Witch Elm asks what we become, and what we’re capable of, when we no longer know who we are.
Again I find myself making a first attempt at an author I’ve heard so many good things about and walking away with a meh feeling. Best known for her Dublin Murder Squad series The Witch Elm by Tana French is a standalone so it seemed the perfect opportunity to try this mystery.
Toby is our main character in The Witch Elm and to be honest my first problem with the book. You see, Toby and his happy go lucky attitude came off as a bit of a jerk to me so it’s hard to connect with a character that annoys you, sure things were great for him but he seemed to not care about anyone but himself.
So anyway, the whole story is lucky Toby finds himself thinking all things will continue to go his way until he ends up at the wrong place at the wrong time where two burglars beat Toby within an inch of his life. This scare is something Toby has trouble dealing with so he returns to his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. This is where a skull is found at a witch elm which opens a box of secrets to be uncovered.
Now, besides not particularly liking the main character in this story the book also had my next biggest mood killer of incredibly slow pacing. It takes forever to get to the mystery side of the story and even then it still crawled along. Now, I’m hearing this is not normal for Tana French but I can definitely say that the style of this one is not for me leaving me to rate it at 2.5 stars.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via Edelweiss.
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About the author:
Tana French is the New York Times bestselling author of In the Woods, The Likeness, Faithful Place, Broken Harbor, The Secret Place, The Trespasser and The Witch Elm. Her books have won awards including the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity and Barry Awards, the Los Angeles Times Award for Best Mystery/Thriller, and the Irish Book Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Dublin with her family.