Saturday, June 19, 2010


It’s hard for me to put my finger on one thing that sets Tana French’s novels apart from others of the “police procedural” genre. It’s a combination of a lot of things: less CSI-like detail, and a lot more psychological insight; a moving back story with quirky, touching relationships; flawed protagonists; an exquisite eye for detail; and a fast, punchy writing style that builds suspense quickly and holds there. She gives us superb plotting, and as an American, I’m just knocked out by the dialogue.

Is that enough superlatives for you? It’s honestly hard to get them all in. Tana French burst onto the scene with THE WOODS in 2007 for which she won the Edgar Award. She followed that with THE LIKENESS in 2008. which was selected by as the Best Book of the Year. And the list of awards goes on. As it should.

Ms. French’s books are linked by characters working for the Dublin Murder squad. FAITHFUL PLACE focuses on Frank Mackey, who readers will remember as Cassie Maddox’s mentor in THE LIKENESS. Frank works in Undercover, which makes the case more fascinating, because this book is almost all psychological, without any of the forensic elements of most murder investigations. Frank also has to protect his undercover status throughout, so he is the shadow investigator, never having official status on the case. He works behind the scenes for a number of reasons.

Twenty-two years ago Frank was to meet his love, Rosie Daly, to leave Ireland behind and start a new life in England. Rosie did not show up, leaving instead a note, asking him to understand why she needed to go. Frank waited the night, then started walking, and never looked back. Now he gets a call from his sister telling him that Rosie’s suitcase has been found behind the chimney in a derelict house at the top of Faithful Place, the street he grew up on. It looks like Rosie may not have left for England after all. Frank is once again in the middle of the family, the neighborhood, and the life he promised himself never to return to. Even worse, now his daughter is involved, and may be in danger herself.

Frank is a wounded soul…bitter about Rosie’s desertion, ashamed of his origins, furious at his father’s drunken brutality, and at war with his brother Shay. He does care for his other siblings, particularly his sister Jackie, and younger brother Kevin. He has an awkwardly sweet relationship with his ex-wife, and one of the most adorable father-daughter relationships I’ve ever read. He is isolated from his fellow cops by the nature of his job, and well, by his nature. It’s the tangle of all these relationship that are the heart of the story of what happened to Rosie Daly.

FAITHFUL PLACE is one of those books you will not want to put down once you have started in, so schedule your reading for a nice restful weekend. Or better yet, buy all three books and take them to the beach with you. Bring lots and lots of sunscreen.

Publisher: Viking Adult (July 13, 2010)
ISBN-13: 978-0670021871
To Buy This Book

No comments:

Post a Comment