The Witch Elm by Tana French


Toby is sleeping in his own home when he awakes to a noise in his living room. What is it? He goes to check and finds that he is being robbed by two individuals. He attempts to protect himself when he is knocked out. He is seriously injured. After he is released from the hospital with some serious injuries and long recovery time, he is asked to take care of his Uncle Hugo who is has been diagnosed with a serious illness. Toby goes to Uncle Hugo with his girlfriend Melissa. While they are their and family is visiting two of children discover a body in the witch elm in the backyard of Uncle Hugo's home. Could it be that Toby's robbery of his home is connected to this murder of Dominic, a classmate of Toby's and his family members? Could Toby have killed Dominic back in high school and not remembered it? 

I have to be honest that I was not too fond of this story. I initially picked it up because the back of the book sounded interesting, it had an interesting cover, and a friend of mine had read it and posted about it on Goodreads. I found it very difficult to get into the story as it moved very slowly throughout. The story took a very long time to get to the witch elm, which did not come up until about half way through the story. There is also too many events in the book that don't make sense. You start off with something occurring at Toby's work, then the robbery of his home, his hospital recovery, him moving in with Hugo for a short period of time, the discovery of Dominic's body in the Witch Elm, and Toby helping Hugo out with genealogy related tasks. It is hard to see how all of these events are connected to the climax of the story, which to be honest I feel like most of them were not. I feel that a lot of the events that occurred could have been omitted and the focus could have been more on the Witch Elm and the discovery of Dominic's body and what happened to him.

The audiobook is narrated by Paul Nugent. Paul has a nice voice but it can make you want to fall asleep if you are not careful. He does a decent job in slightly changing his voice for the male characters in the book. The audiobook is quite lengthy at 22 hours and 7 minutes. 

Rating: 2 out of 5 because I really could not get into the story. I almost did not complete the book. The events that occurred in the story were too disconnected from one another. 


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.


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