Tana French just keeps getting better....
Title: Faithful Place
Author: Tana French
Source: Amazon Purchase
If A Reader's Respite had to name one author who just keeps improving and improving with each book, it would have to be Tana French. And her newest release, Faithful Place, just proves our claim. Once again, French takes us to Dublin where undercover cop Frank Mackey finds himself drawn back to his childhood neighborhood (and slightly insane family) to solve the murder of his first teenage love, whose body has just been discovered after she went missing twenty-two years prior.
And once again, French shows the reader that it isn't the mystery that's important....it's the psychological characterizations that make the tale. Without a doubt, this is her best effort to date.
Her first novel, In the Woods, debuted in 2007 to critical acclaim (it won an Edgar Award that year). Reviews of the novel from readers weren't as impressive as the critics, though. Many readers didn't care for the ambiguous ending of the suspense novel about the Dublin Murder Squad, although most would agree that French's writing was almost magical. Her lyrical writing, sharp and witty dialog, and intense characterizations put the reader smack in the middle of Dublin, making her one of those rare authors who could transport a reader out of time and place.
In 2008 French followed up with The Likeness, another novel about the Dublin Murder Squad, this time focusing on a secondary character who appeared in the first novel. This time, French nailed it. A stunning ending wrapped up a novel with near-perfect psychological insight and again, she places the reader right in the time and place she created.
Unlike The Likeness, which almost required the reader to have been familiar with her first novel, Faithful Place requires no such previous reading. Although Frank Mackey does appear as a secondary character in The Likeness, no other information from that book is needed to get full enjoyment out of Faithful Place. Mackey is masterfully drawn...just the right amount of cynacism one needs from an undercover agent, mixed with irreverance for the rules and a good dose smart-ass.
A Reader's Respite might be just a little bit in love with Frank Mackey.
The mystery of who killed Rosie is not paramount, so don't expect a big twist at the end. What's important here are the psychological foundations of relationships....relationships with family, with lovers, and with our children. French is at the top of her game here.
If you haven't read a Tana French novel yet, it comes with our highest recommendation. Don't feel like you have to go back to the beginning, though.....just pick up a copy of Faithful Place and savor it.
Then come back here and join the Frank Mackey fan club.