Study Guide

In The Woods Violence

By Tana French


We can't think of many non-violent ways to murder someone. Maybe forcing someone to watch Little House on the Prairie reruns until they die of boredom? At any rate, crime novels require a certain level of violence, and In the Woods is a combo of police procedural and psychological suspense. And part of police procedure involves checking out the dead body at the crime scene (eek), examining the bloody murder weapons (ew), and attending the autopsy (barf). Yeah, there's a reason why we read about these things and don't actually do them.

Questions About Violence

  1. How does Rob use violence to intimidate certain interrogation suspects?
  2. Why does Damien try to minimize the violence when he murders Katy?
  3. Were you surprised at the level of detail in the murder investigation, or did you expect more?
  4. How did the acts of violence in 1984—the rape, the disappearance—affect the character's lives twenty years later?

Chew on This

Rob is a little desensitized violence, both because of the 1984 crime and because he's a murder investigator, so it makes sense for him to downplay the violence of the crime.

Rosalind didn't just manipulate Damien into committing their heinous crime; he had to have been screwed up in the first place to even do something so terrible to another human being.