20 July 2010

Just finished reading...

Faithful Place by Tana French.*

Tana French's first novel, In the Woods, was about Dublin Murder Squad detectives Cassie Maddox and Rob Ryan. Its followup, The Likeness was about Cassie's inauguration into the Undercover Squad, when the body of a woman found just outside Dublin turns out to be the detective's doppelganger. Her latest, Faithful Place has as its protagonist, Frank Mackey, another member of the Undercover Squad.

All three find a strong connection between occurrences of the past. Here, Frank Mackey's weekend with his 9-year-old daughter is interrupted by a phone call from his sister, insisting that he needs to come to his parents' home in Faithful Place right away. Frank is reluctant, not only because doesn't want to give up his time with Holly (and get grief from his ex-wife), but because he's been estranged from most of his immediate family for over 20 years.

When he finally does arrive at the house where he grew up, he learns that an old suitcase has been found hidden in a ramshackle house down the street, where they used to hang out as teens. The bag is eventually identified as having belonged to Frank's high school girlfriend, Rosie Daly, who disappeared 22 years earlier.

At that time, Rosie and Frank had made plans to run away to England together. When Rosie didn't turn up at the appointed place, Frank assumed he'd been dumped and headed to Dublin on his own, not returning until he receives Jackie's panicked call. On a whim, Frank searches the old house, and finds something buried in the basement, which turns out to be Rosie's body.

Knowing only that he didn't kill her himself, and that it was most likely someone from the Place, Frank sets out to determine who killed Rosie. He's hampered by the lead detective, who warns Frank to keep his distance because he's too involved in the case. Of course, Mackey keeps digging, and when the identity of the murder is revealed, it's a complete shock, though ultimately not a surprise.

This is the best of French's Dublin novels yet. She has a real talent for creating a believable first-person protagonist, whatever the gender. Highly recommended!

*Purchased for Sony reader.

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