The wych elm



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One night changes everything for Toby. He's always led a charmed life - until a brutal attack leaves him damaged and traumatised, unsure even of the person he used to be. He seeks refuge at his family's ancestral home, the Ivy House, filled with memories of wild-strawberry summers and teenage parties with his cousins. But not long after Toby's arrival, a discovery is made: a skull, tucked neatly inside the old wych elm in the garden. As detectives begin to close in, Toby is forced to examine everything he thought he knew about his family, his past, and himself. A spellbinding book from a novelist who takes crime writing and turns it inside out, 'The Wych Elm' asks what we become, and what we're capable of, if we no longer know who we are.



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What the critics say

A truly great writer Gillian Flynn The Wych Elm is her best novel yet Erin Kelly Lyrical, suspenseful, unpredictable My favourite novel of last year Sophie Hannah Terrific - terrifying, amazing, and the prose is incandescent Stephen King A masterpiece John Boyne The finest crime writer around right now Mail on Sunday One of the most compulsive psychological mysteries since Donna Tartt's The Secret History...impossible to put down The Times The Wych Elm should cement French's place in the first rank of great literary novelists Observer Her storytelling skills are incredible Red - Sarra Manning Gripping and suspenseful, with more twists than a rollercoaster, The Wych Elm is a magnificent novel John Boyne French offers a masterclass in unreliability . . . dissolving the boundaries between genre and literary fiction Sunday Times Her best book. Really, it is not a crime novel: as ever, Tana's scope is so much broader than that. It's a book about identity, childhood, luck and family...I absolutely loved it. Gillian McAllister Inspires cultic devotion in readers...most crime fiction is diverting; French's is consuming The New Yorker A brilliant examination of male privilege and family secrets Guardian - What to Look Forward to in the World of Books 2019 A darkly addictive story of family secrets i paper - Best Books of 2019 Tana French's writing is lyrical but sharp, her eye for detail exquisite, her storytelling skills incredible - I need to read her backlist right away! Red Magazine - Sara Manning Another one of her rich psychological thrillers that will work its way under your skin Stylist - Lucy Mangan French is a poet of mood and a master builder of plots The Washington Post - Maureen Corrigan A spectacularly talented writer Louise O'Neill, author of 'Asking for It' Tana French is one of those rare writers whose publication date you put in your diary. Her effortless verve, insight and black wit still glimmer from every page. Kate Riordan, author of 'The Girl in the Photograph' A hugely satisfying door-stopper of a novel, full of ambiguity, nuance and building menace. To read French is to experience that sense of utter disorientation that comes from the ground shifting constantly beneath your feet. Totally absorbing Tammy Cohen Tana French's best and most intricately nuanced novel yet. . . Get ready for the whiplash brought on by its final twists and turns New York Times A beautifully written, highly intelligent meditation on family relationships, the human mind, social politics and much more, often leavened with good jokes Sunday Express