Tana French's books have won books the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, and Barry awards, the Los Angeles Times Award for Best Mystery/Thriller, and the Irish Book Award for Crime Fiction. But I only discovered her when I read her previous book, The Secret Place. It was a fantastic read and French is now on my must read list.
Her newest book is The Trespasser - the 6th entry in her Dublin Murder Squad series. It too is a fantastic read, better than The Secret Place in my opinion.
Detective Antoinette Conway set the Murder Squad as her goal when she joined the Dublin police force. She's made it there - but it's not what she had hoped. She's the 'odd man out' and by default so is her partner Stephen Moran. The rest of the squad seems to be hell bent on driving her out of the unit. Conway and Moran's cases are mostly domestics and their hope is for something bigger, one to make their mark.
They're sent to a death - at first glance it looks like another domestic. But when the higher ups send along another Detective to 'help' them, Conway wonders why. And when the pressure mounts to solve the case quickly, Conway digs in her heels.
I love Conway as a character - she's unbelievably tough, tenacious, fearless and smart. But this unrelenting harassment is beginning to chip away at her - there are some chinks in her armour. Moran is just as well drawn - there is more to him that what he presents to the world. He was the narrator in The Secret Place, so he was a character I already knew and liked. The dynamic between the two is evolving, unpredictable and addicting to follow.
The plotting is simply unbelievable - intricate and evolving as the book progresses. At no time did I ever think I could predict where things were going to go. Instead, I felt like I was there with Conway and Moran as they try to puzzle out the latest lead or brainstorm a theory. The procedural details ring very true. What's not as clear are the undercurrents and the unspoken. Everyone lies. Everyone has their own agenda. Who can Conway and Moran trust?
French's settings and descriptions are rich and detailed. I felt like I was walking the cold, damp streets with an eye on the alleyways. French makes her home in Dublin and that personal knowledge enhances time and place.
Dark and gritty, this is mystery writing at it's best. I'm really looking forward to the next in this series - and who will be the narrator. I'm invested in French's characters and intrigued by the cases she imagines. This series is definitely recommended!