by Tana French

A skull discovered in a backyard exposes a family's past. Read by Paul Nugent. 22 hours, 7 minutes unabridged.

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3 positive comments

1 neutral comments

1 negative comments

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What people are saying on Twitter (sample)

  • @MarianKeyes I love the build up to a new Tana French book release almost as much as I love reading the book itself…
  • But I'm fucking loving Her Body and Other Parties so far, so hopefully it goes fast and I can do Alice Isn't Dead,…
  • I am reading Tana French's latest, The Witch Elm, and thinking about how a review headline to the effect of "This b…
  • My copy of Tana French's new book is out for delivery. Please excuse me while I lock myself in my room and read. >>…
  • I loved this book so much. Best book of 2018. 😍 The Witch Elm: A Novel
  • 21 positive comments

    14 neutral comments

    31 negative comments

    # of reviews over time


    What people are saying on Amazon (sample)

    • Excellent book. Not exactly what I was expecting from Tana French. While this was definitely a thriller with police and a crime involved, it was not one of the Dublin Squad books nor was it good from the police point of view. It hit harder than her average book, was longer and dug deeper. I loved it and can't stop thinking about it.
    • It is dark and it is slow, but very strong characterization which draws you in to the story. I didn't have much sympathy for some of the characters but Tanya French is a very detailed writer and the reader becomes, early on, invested in these individuals. This is a stand alone story of family dynamics and quite different from her regular mystery series. She mentioned in an interview her admiration for Donna Tartt's style of writing in The Gold Finch. This novel mirrors Tartt's technique. The novel drags a bit in the middle and then it takes off in the second half. Excellet writing.
    • THE WITCH ELM by Tana French.I eagerly awaited its publication. I was not so much disappointed as a bit confused.Smooth-talker, happy-go-lucky, privileged Toby Hennessey is left for dead at the hands of two (seemingly random) burglars. As he tries to recover from near-fatal injuries, Toby doesn’t really know who he is anymore, who he was in the past and what he is now capable of.As the story progresses, Toby emerges as a bit of a selfish, mean-spirited, immature young man, who believes he is very lucky, charismatic and very deserving of all his privilege. Toby offers us a study in misguided, false perceptions of oneself.The story is spooky and disarming and very clever. It is perplexing, chaotic and extremely devious. It centers on identity, on memory, on self-deception - with a very intimate look inside Toby’s mind.The story (for me) was very unrealistic - all the conversations between Toby and the detectives; the inactivity of all the supposedly caring, over-protective parents; Uncle Hugo’s fragile grip on reality. I don’t really know these detectives - how they work, how they operate. I would not call this a police procedural at all. But the inconsistencies kept gnawing at me and diminishing the overall story. What ‘station’ do these detectives come from? No one seems to know (or care). Their banter, their discussions, their late-night visits to the Ivy House; their lack of supervision; their lack of search warrants; their bullying tactics; Uncle Hugo in a cell. Does any superior officer take note of this? Where are the privileged, educated parents? Hugo’s brothers?The cousins make me cringe. And their circle of young school friends is deplorable.This title is hard to pigeon-hole. Is it a mystery? Is it crime fiction? Is it suspense? Is it a psychological drama?Yes to all of the above.
    • It pains me to have to give this book one star. Tana is my favorite author and her other books are incredible. This one was not. I preordered this and have been excited for ages. I struggled to stay awake and it took everything I had to stick with it. No likeable characters other than the Ivy House. Her writing is top notch but the story and characters were so boring. She is known for her character development and intricate plots. This was just bland. This had character development but it was for an unremarkable Toby. Her stories make the outside world disappear and that's why she's so good. I don't know what happened here. I finished it because of my loyalty to the author but I was not rewarded. I hate to say this but it was a waste of time. It put me to sleep. I would not recommend this book even to Tana French fans.
    • Toby Hennessy always considered himself to be the lucky one. He came from a rich Dublin Family, never had to want for anything, was popular and part of the cool group at school. Now, he had a lovely girlfriend, named Melissa, and a great job as a publicist at an art gallery. Whatever mess he got into, he could turn around, White Privilege, we say today. And, then, life turned around for Toby, he suffered from a horrendous beating by thieves who broke into his apartment. It left him with severe injuries, slurring his words, loss of memory, and brain damage.Toby recovered, and he and Melissa went to care for his Uncle Hugo in his big old house. Uncle Hugo, who was dying of cancer, needed company and caregivers. Now, this is where the rest of the story truly begins. One twist after another occurs after a body is found stuffed in an elm tree on Hugo’s property. This is the kind of writing dreams are made of. A mystery upon a mystery with so many surprises that it is difficult to keep up. Toby’s cousins, Susannah and Leon pop up, the police, and in particular Detective Rafferty keep this book moving along, bump after bump.I have been such a fan of Tana French and her Dublin Murder Squad, and, now we have, Toby, who becomes his own detective. What we think, is not really what we have, and that is Tana French’s baliwick. What we learn about ourselves in stressful and difficult circumstances may be the real us or not. This is Tana French at her best. When reading this book, keep in mind that those we think are trustworthy may not be, and those who find themselves anew, may be fooling themselves. I could not have been more surprised than I was by this storyline. The author,Tana French, has outdone herself.Recommended. prisrob 10-09-18