In the Woods

By Tana French

TANA French's critically acclaimed first novel is a richly atmospheric psychological thriller. It's also that rare thing, a thoroughly literary whodunit with a premise that pulls you in from the start.

On a warm summer day in 1984 two boys and a girl enter the woods surrounding their neighborhood and two never return. Later the police find only one survivor, a boy wearing blood filled sneakers, who can't recall a single detail of what happened to him.

Twenty years later, the found boy is a detective in the Dublin murder squad when a girl is found murdered in the same wood. He finds himself investigating a case chillingly similar to his own unsolved mystery. French has the skill to persuade you it's all possible.

Viking, $24.95.

Little Lady, One Man, Big Ocean - Rowing the Atlantic

By Paul Gleeson and Tori Holmes, with Liam Gorman

IT'S an old story after four years of working as a financial advisor, Limerick man Paul Gleeson decides he wants to see the world. But his appetite for adventure surpasses most other people's.

After cycling across Australia in the company of Tori Holmes, a drive supporter he ultimately falls for, he decides to up the ante again and row across the Atlantic, this time with his new girlfriend's help.

Neither could row, of course, but that didn't stop them. Together they set off on a terrifying voyage featuring storms and capsizes, as they were literally tossed upon the high seas, getting up close and personal with whales and sharks - and miraculously, surviving to complete the journey.

Dufour Editions, $38.95.

Ireland - Contested Ideas of Nationalism and History

By Hugh F. Kearney

HUGH Kearney's brilliant new study gently lampoons his first fledgling steps beyond an Anglo centric approach to British and Irish history. What is the Irish nation, he asks? Is it a Catholic one, or could Protestants such as James Butler, Duke of Ormond, say, claim to be Irish?

Even by the era of Wolfe Tone the desire to abolish the memory of past dissensions and substitute the common name of Irishman was a little more problematic than many acknowledge.

The story of Ireland, then and now, presents a rather more complex picture than the accepted pieties would have us believe.

New York University Press, $39.

Remind Me Again Why I Need a Man

By Claudia Carroll

BY the ripe young age of 37, Amelia Lockwood has seen enough. But if the book's cute title suggests she's forswearing men in favor of a same sex dalliance you'll quickly find out she's just teasing. The truth is she's just fed up with the endless parade of entitled oafs that comprise her dating history, and now she taking her dating skills to the next level of seriousness. It's time, the little voices tell her, to find The One.

In a book already optioned by Fox, Dublin-born author and actress Claudia Carroll charts the lengths some women will still go to to get hitched. If the book's premise seems old-fashioned just wait until you meet the characters that populate it. Remind us again why we need to read this?

Harper Collins, $24.95.

In Time of Civil War - The Conflict On the Irish Railways

By Bernard Share

THIS day-by-day narrative is the first account of how the Civil War affected the Irish railways. It's a picture of divided loyalties, but also of courage and resourcefulness. It's hard now to appreciate how central the Irish railways were to the period, as virtually the sole means of distribution of goods and services.

In 1923 isolated communities were on the brink of starvation. This is a human as well as historical chronicle.

The photographs from the period, which form the centerpiece of the book, are astonishing gateways into Irish his-tory.

Dufour Editions, $39.95.