Monday, July 11, 2011

Book Review: "Faithful Place" by Tana French

Tana French has done it again. The author of two critically acclaimed mysteries—In the Woods and The Likeness—French is currently one of my favorite mystery writers, and her latest book, Faithful Place, has made me even more of a fan. She has a tremendous ability to create flawed and complex characters you care about and plot twists you believe even while they surprise you, and it all adds up to a book you can't get out of your mind.

When he was 17 years old, Dublin detective Frank Mackey had planned to escape to England with his girlfriend, Rosie Daly. Both were looking forward to getting away from their smothering, dysfunctional families and the violence and gossip of Faithful Place, their neighborhood. But Rosie never showed up the night they were supposed to leave, so Frank took that to mean she left without him, and he made his own escape. Twenty-two years later, Rosie's suitcase is found behind the fireplace of a dilapidated apartment building in their neighborhood, and new questions about what happened that night begin to surface. Frank's return to the neighborhood and the family he left behind all those years ago isn't a smooth one, and it unearths old secrets, old anger and old pain, proving that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

French gripped me at the very start of this book and didn't let go until the end. I loved the voices she gave to her characters, fleshing them out so that even if you think you've seen one or two of them before, you haven't. The Mackey family dysfunction runs so deep and is so all-consuming that it could be a novel unto itself (especially with the ramifications of what happens in this book), and everyone has their own issues. You definitely should read this and French's other books to see how good mysteries can be interwoven with great storytelling. I can't wait for her next book.

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