Tana French is an amazing writer. Her mysteries are well-written, interesting and engaging. She is one of my favorite authors; When I see that she has a new book about to be published, I immediately preorder it, anxiously await the novel’s release, devour it over the course of a few days, and am sorry when it is finished. Such was the case with her new novel Witch Elm with the exception that this time I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had anticipated I would.Witch Elm is long, a little over 500 pages, and unnecessarily so. A good edit could have cut out more than a hundred pages, possibly 200, which would have improved the pacing of the story. Initially there is a tremendous amount of background information, many pages of which were either unnecessary or redundant. It wasn’t until about page 200 that the story hooked me. At this point the story takes hold, but it isn’t long before it slows down again. The mysteries are engaging but again there is unnecessary, repetitive detail which doesn’t add to the story, but in fact detracts from it.Most of the characters are not likable and are unreliable, but I did love Uncle Hugo and Melissa. The family gatherings were also a nice, enjoyable touch in a fairly dark story. Although this was a well-crafted novel, I wasn’t really surprised by the conclusion. 500 pages later and I was a little bored.The chapters involving the police interviewing the family were tense, but felt real. The reader sees and feels the manipulation of the police. The author excels in this area. However, the choices that these characters made regarding their interactions with the police did not seem authentic. Who continues to have multiple conversations with the police without an attorney present when clearly they were considered suspects? Who submits to a search of their home without much protest and without contacting a family member for support? The police are walking in and out of the house as though it was their own. Additionally, there were a couple of unrealistic scenes that didn’t seem plausible.Don’t get me wrong, there is much to like here, but it takes patience.