Toby Hennessy is caught in a troubling situation involving the gallery he manages. He decides to relay information which leads to consequences that alter his life. After a night at the bar, he discovers intruders in his apartment and is beaten within an inch of his life. The injuries lead to mobility impairment, pain killer addiction, unemployment and an increasing dependency on family. He never realized how easy he had it until his privilege was swept out from underneath him. One afternoon, a young relative climbs into the witch elm in the yard he now shares with his uncle and a human skull is discovered. Slowly, Toby realizes different forces in his life which have been working in his favor, and the ways in which his two closest cousin's have been negatively impacted by those same forces. Between his frustration with his current situation and a yearning to understand how mysterious human remains fit into his family's past, Toby gets caught in a web of confusion and manipulation. This slow burn has numerous compelling twists and turns which had me on the edge of my seat. Its unraveling is equally unsettling as it is satisfying.
Named a New York Times Notable Book of 2018, and a Best Book of 2018 by NPR, The New York Times Book Review, Amazon, The Boston Globe, LitHub, Vulture, Slate, Elle, Vox, and Electric Literature. "Tana French's best and most intricately nuanced novel yet." -- The New York Times An "extraordinary" (Stephen King) and "mesmerizing" (LA Times) new standalone novel from the master of crime and suspense.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.