We obviously all love Tana French (I’m making this assumption because I think she’s BAE). I’ve read In the Woods and The Trespasser and couldn’t wait to read her exploration of the other side of a crime scene investigation. Enter: The Witch Elm.
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.
I felt so conflicted with this novel because, to be honest, it wasn’t easy. It didn’t quite start off with a *bang*, and none of the characters truly had a happily ever after, but it will still leave you gasping for air at the conclusion. Beyond that, I can’t begin to describe how fantastic Tana French is at describing a dark, convoluted mystery. I was questioning every character. They all had motive. It was so gritty, atmospheric, and real.
I must point out, the story starts off slow and builds gradually, but like every other book by French, this is definitely purposeful and worth it. Every minute detail? Pay attention, you’ll definitely see it again.
Overall, my recommendation? If you can get past the first (roughly) 200 pages, you’ll be sucked in and dying to know what happens next. Also, have a buddy to chat about this one with because you’ll have serious feelings. Or DM me. I have feelings too (and so far I have no one to share those feelings with)! Get your hands on a copy here!