Book Review: The Trespasser – Tana French

Title: The Trespasser
Author: Tana French
ISBN: 9780670026333
Pages: 464
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Publisher: Viking
Genre: Crime Fiction
Source: Publisher

Summary

Detective Antoinette Conway has had it up to here with the Dublin Murder Squad. She’s tired of the sexist attitude of her fellow detectives and the fact that she’s expected to just accept their comments and actions. If it weren’t for her partner, Steve Moran, every day would be a nightmare. When Antoinette and Steve receive a case that appears to be a simple domestic, they are the only two that question whether things are what they seem. Are they making more of it than it seems to avoid the reality that they were handed a dead-end case, or is there really more going on than meets the eye?

Review

Tana French. A name that elicits longing from fans of books. Tana French transcends genre; whether you love mystery novels or barely read them, whether you immerse yourself in literary fiction or prefer to avoid it, chances are if you’re any kind of reader, you love Tana French. She has an uncanny gift for spinning incredible yet entirely believable tales that will have you questioning anything and everything around you. Each of her books is so different from its predecessors, yet each is so incredibly good. And The Trespasser is no exception.

Antoinette Conway is a captivating and frustrating main character, so smart and sharp, yet closed in by her biases. It’s not hard to understand why she’s become that way; the things she has to deal with from her fellow detectives are pretty terrible. But it influences all parts of her life; she tries to be entirely self-reliant and jumps to thinking the worst of people. She’s such a rich character; with the way French’s books work (each focusing on a different, yet somehow related, character), I’m sorry we won’t be sending more time with her after this book.

The mystery at the core of The Trespasser is, quite frankly, crazy. Not because the circumstances are unbelievable—it’s as straightforward as the summary of the novel claims—but because of the directions French takes it in through her two main characters Antoinette and Steve. I never know what to expect with Tana French, but this was just insane in the best way. I loved every twist and turn, every unexpected occurrence, every random stray thought that the pair decided to entertain. It was shocking and entirely satisfying.

If you haven’t read Tana French yet because you’re afraid expectations are too high, trust me they aren’t. I know there’s a lot of hype surrounding her books, but it’s because they’re just so good. As I said, the books are connected through characters, so it’s worth reading them in order, starting with In the Woods, but if you don’t care about minor spoilers, then you can pick up whichever of her novels strikes your fancy (though I would read The Secret Place before this novel, just because of the characters in common). They are so worth reading, and you can join the legions of fans who salivate every time they hear word of a new Tana French novel.

Other books by Tana French

In the Woods
The Likeness
Faithful Place
Broken Harbor
The Secret Place

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Book Review: The Secret Place – Tana French

secret place - tana frenchTitle: The Secret Place
Author: Tana French
ISBN: 9780670026326
Pages: 464
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Viking
Genre:  Crime Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

When Holly Mackey brings Detective Stephen Moran a picture from her boarding school, he immediately knows it’s related to a cold case. The picture shows a boy, Chris Harper, who was murdered, and across the picture it says, “I know who killed him.” Moran uses the picture to muscle his way onto the investigative team, and along with Homicide Detective Antoinette Conway, he goes to the school to interview Holly, her friends, and a rival clique, to figure out who posted the picture and who really murdered Chris Harper.

Summary:

The Secret Place is an intricately drawn mystery with fascinating characters and a mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end.

Full Review:

Tana French writes intricate, gripping mystery novels that edge into the territory of psychological thrillers. These novels are smart and cerebral, with characters you can’t trust and situations you aren’t sure you can believe. She keeps you guessing on every page, making you wonder who is telling the truth and who is lying, and why. The Secret Place is no exception; in this suspenseful novel, French takes the reader into the difficult and manipulation world of teenage girls.

Stephen Moran is at the center of The Secret Place and he’s a great character. He’s smart and savvy, really knowing how to work with witnesses and extract the information he needs, but he hasn’t been able to get ahead in his career. His dream is to work for homicide, and he’s not above leveraging the information he has in order to get there. That being said, he has a lot of integrity and is more than happy to work with Detective Conway, despite some rumors about her. He’s really perfect for this story, intuitive and smart, but also ambitious.

The setting of The Secret Place is an all girl’s boarding school, and it’s a thick, close atmosphere. Readers can smell the wafts of perfume, sense the secrets and lies that the walls hold. The girls are smart and catty, wise to the fact that they hold the power here. But they’re also just teenagers: small and vulnerable; they try to act like adults in order to compensate, but Moran sees through them. More than that, though, he sees that they are dangerous and will do and risk anything to achieve their own ends. French does an amazing job writing this; it’s a complicated world that these girls live in, their entire lives confined by this campus, and readers get a full sense of just how capable these teenagers are.

French weaves a complex mystery in The Secret Place, one that will keep readers guessing until the end. As Moran and Conway slowly unravel the case and contemplate new evidence, the reader is drawn into the book more and more. This is a novel I really couldn’t put down; it’s not a swift action thriller; it moves slowly at times, but it’s always deliberate and careful. If you haven’t read Tana French’s books before, you should absolutely give this one a try. She’s such a talented author, and her books are always amazing.

Other books by Tana French:

Broken Harbor
Faithful Place

In the Woods
The Likeness

Affiliate Links:

Buy this book from Powell’s Books
Buy this book from Amazon.com
Buy this book from your local Indiebound bookstore

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