The Trespasser and The Secret Place

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Trespasser
by Tana French

No one does a slow burn mystery like Tana French. I love her Dublin murder squad series so much and each time a new book comes out I am beyond excited. She doesn't just write mysteries, she writes beautiful literary fiction that happens to include a mystery. Each of the books in the series is connected but works as a standalone. 

The Trespasser gives us a glimpse into the life of Antoinette Conway, who we met in The Secret Place (book 5). She and her partner, Stephen Moran, are assigned to a murder case at the end of a long shift. They find Aislinn, a lovely young woman, murdered in her home. Rory, a boyfriend, is an obvious suspect, but they have a few other theories to follow. Throughout the investigation Conway has to fight against the prejudice of her own coworkers and her own doubts about herself.

I tried to go slow and savor the story, but I loved every second of it. The atmosphere she creates is palpable and the anxious feeling builds as we get closer to the truth. She writes the best scenes I’ve ever read of detectives interviewing their suspects.

BOTTOM LINE: I’ve yet to be disappointed by French’s work. I liked this one ever more than her last. She gets inside the mind of her characters so completely that it’s easy to forget that she switches her main character in every book!

“No one needs a relationship. What you need is the basic cop-on to figure that out, in the face of all the media bullshit screaming that you're nothing on your own and you're a dangerous freak if you disagree. The truth is, if you don't exist without someone else, you don't exist at all. And that doesn't just go for romance. I love my ma, I love my friends, I love the bones of them. If any of them wanted me to donate a kidney or crack a few heads, I'd do it, no questions asked. And if they all waved goodbye and walked out of my life tomorrow, I'd still be the same person I am today."

The Secret Place
by Tana French
The fifth book in the Dublin Murder Squad series focuses on Stephen, who we met in Faithful Place. He's desperate to join the squad. When Holly, the young girl in Faithful Place, now seven years older, gives him a tip about a murder committed in a local prep school, he sees his chance to work with the murder squad. Holly and her three best friends, Julia, Selena, and Rebecca, all become suspects. This novel flashes back and forth between Stephen and Antoinette Conway's investigation in the present and girls' point-of-view during the months leading up to the murder.

BOTTOM LINE: This one felt different from the other books because of its focus on teenage girls and their intense emotions. It wasn't my favorite in the series, but I just love French's writing. She creates tense and enthralling novels each time, even though the characters and plots are never the same.

“That long sigh again, above us. This time I saw it, moving through the branches. Like the trees were listening; like they would've been sad about us, sad for us, only they'd heard it all so many thousand times before.”

“It does that to you, being a detective. You look at blank space and see gears turning, motives and cunning; nothing looks innocent any more. Most times when you prove away the gears, the blank space looks lovely, peaceful. But that arm: innocent, it looked just as dangerous.” 



Amanda said...

For me, The Secret Place was a bit weird because of the semi-supernatural elements. I get what she was doing with them, but it didn't feel quite like the others, especially since half the book was narrated from the POV of a non-detective. I liked it, but not as much as some. The Trespasser, on the other hand, was amazing! I loved the audio version, listened to it twice since I couldn't slow down enough the first time, haha.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Amanda - I completely agree about The Secret Place. It felt different from her normal style. I still love her writing so much that it worked for me, but it's probably my least favorite. Now I want to try The Trespasser on audio!