The Witch Elm

The Witch Elm

Book - 2018
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"A brilliant new work of suspense from "the most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years." (Washington Post) From the writer who "inspires cultic devotion in readers" (The New Yorker) and has been called "incandescent" by Stephen King, "absolutely mesmerizing" by Gillian Flynn, and "unputdownable" (People), comes a gripping new novel that turns a crime story inside out. 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"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, New York : Viking, [2018]
ISBN: 9780735224629
Branch Call Number: FIC FRENCH
Characteristics: 509 pages ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

Past collides with present in this leisurely paced, compelling novel of suspense.

Crime Fiction

From the critics

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Nov 05, 2019

Do not understand why this was on the best-seller lists and why I bothered to finish it. Unsympathetic characters, pointless narrative. Yes, it was well-written but long-winded and overdone. Completely lost on me. Many other better reads out there right now.

Oct 16, 2019

Maybe at a third of the length, this might have been OK. Maybe.
I want my mystery/thrillers to have some mystery or thrill in them. This one had neither. After 10 pages of interminable nothingness I tried skipping thru. That didn't work.
I have no idea how the skull got into the tree and I have absolutely no interest in finding out.
Too much useless, uninteresting verbiage.
I mistakenly gave this 1 1/2 stars . 1/2 would have been more than enough.

Oct 03, 2019

4 1/2-5 star read. I love Tana French's novels and have read all of them. This is her first stand alone and it was a terrific read, full of twists and turns and surprises. Toby is one of those people who has always had it all, great guy, lots of friends, great at school and at everything he tries. It's effortless and he makes it look easy. Working in PR for an art gallery, Toby does something shady and gets caught out and sent home by his boss for a week. That night, something terrible happens in his home that changes his life in a major way. He becomes a hermit, never leaving his flat, until hearing that his beloved Uncle Hugo has had a terrible diagnosis and is dying. Toby and his girlfriend Melissa head to Ivy House to tend to his uncle. But when a skull is found in the garden by the wych elm tree, things from the past threaten Toby and his cousins Susanna and Leon. A compelling page turner, this book has ups and downs galore and a great story that keeps you interested from beginning to last page. A winner for French.

TSCPL_Miranda Sep 16, 2019

3.5 up to 4. I really enjoyed this! Toby is an ordinary, privileged guy from an upper class family. Luck has always been in his favor, and his charm has come in handy whenever luck has failed. Then his apartment is burglarized, and he is attacked and nearly killed. Not long after, he is staying with his uncle in the home where he spent his childhood summers, and a skeleton is discovered in the backyard. Are the two events connected? Is Toby guilty of something that he can't even remember? Can he trust those he felt closest to? French has created another twisty story that will keep you guessing. This wasn't French's strongest book for me, the start was a bit slow and I didn't love the main character, but it was still so suspenseful and well plotted that I stayed up way too late to finish it off.

Aug 16, 2019

I can’t say more than the critics. I was totally absorbed from beginning to end. Characters are well developed, not just names to hold a story in place. I can’t believe I haven’t read Tana French before. She will be on my list to follow.

Aug 14, 2019

Shame on you, Ms. French, for writing such drivel!! And shame on me for reading 500+ pages of this nonsense, simply because her murder squad novels have been SO intense and un-put-downable!! Such is my faith in this author that I firmly believed this book was going to - HAD to - - - go somewhere interesting; sadly that was not the case.

Jul 23, 2019

When an author describes every ache and pain or every flower in the garden for pages and pages I lose interest. Gave up reading this book about 1/4 way into it. Just wanted her to get to the mystery!

Jul 17, 2019

Read first few pages but decided to forego the 500+ page investment. Agreed with the ‘needs an editor ‘ comment.

Jul 13, 2019

Couldn’t put it down. Lots of twists and turns. Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do?

Jun 25, 2019

This book is a fascinating thriller and a profound, subtle critique of the good old boys network. I chose it from the NY Times list of 100 notable books 2018.

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ArapahoeMaryA Mar 13, 2019

But we’re so desperate, aren’t we, to believe that bad luck only happens to people who deserve it. People genuinely can’t take it in that someone could die of cancer without bloody well smoking.

ArapahoeAnnaL Jan 10, 2019

"...for whichever reason, growing apart or fighting or cheating or just getting old and dying, relationships don't last forever...But I was really in love with Jo. And ... I genuinely couldn't handle that." pg. 332


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JCLGraceB Oct 18, 2018

JCLGraceB thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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