Book Review: Faithful Place – Tana French [TSS]

Title: Faithful Place
Author: Tana French
ISBN: 9780670021871
Pages: 416
Release Date: July 13, 2010
Publisher: Viking
Genre: Mystery
Source: Library
Rating: 3 out of 5

Summary:

Frank Mackey, an undercover detective on Dublin’s police force, has been living with the ghosts of his past for a long time.  When his sister contacts him and informs him that one of them has reasserted itself, he can’t help but be intrigued.  In 1985, the love of his (very young) life, Rosie, abandoned Frank the night they were supposed to run away together.  But now it’s looking like the situation may have been more complicated than it seemed, and Frank is drawn back to his family as he tries to discover the truth behind Rosie’s disappearance.

Review:

I really enjoyed Tana French’s two previous books In the Woods and The Likeness, so I was waiting for her third novel Faithful Place with breathless anticipation.  All I knew about it when I picked it up was that it was yet another mystery novel set in Ireland, and this time it focused on Frank Mackey, a minor character from French’s other books.

Unfortunately, Faithful Place wasn’t quite as engaging as I’d hoped, and as a result, it didn’t really live up to my expectations.  It was definitely a competently written novel, and if it was by almost any other author, I probably would have liked it.  But because I have such admiration for Tana French and think so highly of her other books, I expected more of this one.

Frank Mackey was definitely a difficult character to like.  He was very rough around the edges and didn’t really respect anyone.  Frank also chose to do things his own way, rather than trying to work with those around him.  Normally, I don’t mind that in a lead character, but throughout the novel I got the distinct sense that Frank thought he was better than everyone else.  Additionally, he wasn’t afraid to use (and abuse) people in order to get the answers he wanted.

The mystery in Faithful Place was interesting, but not captivating.  I figured out the culprit about halfway through the book, and though that didn’t really diminish my enjoyment of it, I was very surprised at the end that I’d actually deciphered almost everything correctly.  French wrote an intriguing mystery, but most of the secondary characters were unlikeable as well, with the notable exception of Frank’s ex-wife, Olivia.

Overall, Faithful Place was a disappointment.  After loving Cassie from The Likeness so much, it was difficult to read a book where I was so ambivalent towards the main character.  However, Tana French is still a top-tier mystery author for me and I’ll definitely be reading her next book.

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Comments

  1. Oh so now see, I had a crush on Frank! I guess I like the bad boys? I agree he wasn’t as special as Cassie, but I find myself hoping he shows up in another one of her novels. I agree that it was easy to figure the “mystery”, but I’m not so sure if that was supposed to be all that difficult. It was less shocking and more heartbreaking, which was where it was leading us all along.

  2. Oh so now see, I had a crush on Frank! I guess I like the bad boys? I agree he wasn’t as special as Cassie, but I find myself hoping he shows up in another one of her novels. I agree that it was easy to figure the “mystery”, but I’m not so sure if that was supposed to be all that difficult. It was less shocking and more heartbreaking, which was where it was leading us all along.

  3. I’m sorry this wasn’t quite what you expected. I’m not a mystery reader in genral, but Tana French seems to be popping up everywhere so maybe I need to give one of her books a try?

  4. I’m sorry this wasn’t quite what you expected. I’m not a mystery reader in genral, but Tana French seems to be popping up everywhere so maybe I need to give one of her books a try?

  5. Oh, goodness, this entire premise makes me think of that horror story where a bride plays hide and seek on her wedding night and no one finds her–until her sister finds her corpse years later in the trunk where she hid.

    Mysteries are such a hard genre to master, I feel; I’m sorry this didn’t work out, and I hope the next French does.

  6. Oh, goodness, this entire premise makes me think of that horror story where a bride plays hide and seek on her wedding night and no one finds her–until her sister finds her corpse years later in the trunk where she hid.

    Mysteries are such a hard genre to master, I feel; I’m sorry this didn’t work out, and I hope the next French does.

  7. I agree with you about Frank being unlikable but it sort of made me like him MORE, it was apparent what a tortured soul he was and I just wanted him to solve this thing so he could get “better”, if that makes any sense.

    Personally I loved this one, but I must admit that it’s my least favorite of French’s 3 novels. I totally get where you’re coming from, though!

  8. I agree with you about Frank being unlikable but it sort of made me like him MORE, it was apparent what a tortured soul he was and I just wanted him to solve this thing so he could get “better”, if that makes any sense.

    Personally I loved this one, but I must admit that it’s my least favorite of French’s 3 novels. I totally get where you’re coming from, though!

  9. I have heard In the Woods is a great mystery, I definitely will be reading that one soon.

    I appreciate you saying the authors writing is still great even if the story didn’t work for you.

  10. I have heard In the Woods is a great mystery, I definitely will be reading that one soon.

    I appreciate you saying the authors writing is still great even if the story didn’t work for you.

  11. I am sorry you weren’t a fan of this one. Personally, Cassie isn’t my favorite character, so I don’t think it will be a problem for me that she is not the main character.

  12. I am sorry you weren’t a fan of this one. Personally, Cassie isn’t my favorite character, so I don’t think it will be a problem for me that she is not the main character.

  13. I disagree – I found that Frank was very like-able just not in the normal way. After reading about his childhood and what kind of father he is to his daughter it made me like him even more. I think that this was an amazing book and I can’t wait for Tana French’s new book!

  14. I disagree – I found that Frank was very like-able just not in the normal way. After reading about his childhood and what kind of father he is to his daughter it made me like him even more. I think that this was an amazing book and I can’t wait for Tana French’s new book!

  15. Ack … can’t read this until I read it myself. Will be back!

  16. Ack … can’t read this until I read it myself. Will be back!

  17. Sorry you didn’t like this one. Do you think it’s because it didn’t feature Cassie? I’m a huge fan of Tana French’s and loved her first two books. So I’m looking forward to reading this one and seeing what I think.

  18. Sorry you didn’t like this one. Do you think it’s because it didn’t feature Cassie? I’m a huge fan of Tana French’s and loved her first two books. So I’m looking forward to reading this one and seeing what I think.

  19. I’m so glad that I’m not the only one who was disappointed in this book. I just expected more. But I do agree that had it been another author…

  20. I’m so glad that I’m not the only one who was disappointed in this book. I just expected more. But I do agree that had it been another author…

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