Review: The Witch Elm

The Witch Elm by Tana French
French (In the Woods) steps away from her thrilling Dublin Murder Squad series to explore another eerie mystery from the other side of the interrogation table. French has a gift for giving inner life to guarded, antagonistic characters; with The Witch Elm’s Toby, she voices the awakening of a privileged, well-liked man at the moment his luck bottoms out. Attacked and left for dead in his own home, Toby’s traumatic injuries leave him feeling weak and uncertain, and after moving into his beloved familial home to care for his dying uncle, a mysterious skull turns up in the trunk of an elm tree—uprooting everything Toby thought he knew about his family and his own potential for violence. In the present period of reckoning with masculine power and privilege, this book takes a timely deep dive into the psychology of a man who believes in justice until he finds himself on the wrong side of it—and offers an irresistible glimpse of French’s celebrated Murder Squad detectives from the point of view of a suspect. From gripping premise to shocking conclusion, this novel offers everything a French’s devoted fans could hope for (and possibly more than they bargained for).

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