Dublin Murder Squad, #6
By: Tana French
Publication Date: 10/4/2016
My Rating: 4 Stars A brilliant new novel from the New York Times bestselling author, whom Gillian Flynn calls "mesmerizing" and Stephen King calls "incandescent." Being on the Murder squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she's there. The rest of her working life is a stream of thankless cases, vicious pranks, and harassment. Antoinette is savagely tough, but she's getting close to the breaking point.
Their new case looks like yet another by-the-numbers lovers' quarrel gone bad. Aislinn Murray is blond, pretty, groomed to a shine, and dead in her catalogue-perfect living room, next to a table set for a romantic dinner. There's nothing unusual about her—except that Antoinette's seen her somewhere before.
And that her death won't stay in its neat by-numbers box. Other detectives are trying to push Antoinette and Steve into arresting Aislinn's boyfriend, fast.
There's a shadowy figure at the end of Antoinette's road. Aislinn's friend is hinting that she knew Aislinn was in danger. And everything they find out about Aislinn takes her further from the glossy, passive doll she seemed to be.
Antoinette knows the harassment has turned her paranoid, but she can't tell just how far gone she is. Is this case another step in the campaign to force her off the squad, or are there darker currents flowing beneath its polished surface?
Irish novelist and theatrical actress Tana French’s new novel THE TRESPASSER (Dublin Murder Squad #6) returns with the two previous young detectives from the Dublin Murder Squad, Antoinette Conway and Stephen Moran, who solved the prep-school murder in The Secret Place (2014). Having read The Secret Place, Moran and Conway, is an interesting and dynamic team—where Moran longed for wealth and Conway was resentful of it, as they go back and forth with their sarcastic banter while developing a bond, and solving a murder. In THE TRESPASSER they pick up after knowing one another for a while and partnering for four months, while still testing one another. Presently, Conway and Moran are assigned to investigate the murder of a 26-year old Aislinn Murray, a young woman found dead in her Dublin home. Her boyfriend is the initial suspect, which leaves the two less than thrilled to have the case because it looks like a routine domestic killing without a lot of work or effort. Something is not right. A good-looking young woman blonde and beautiful (Barbie-like), Aislinn Murray is found dead in her beautiful meticulous home from a punch to the face and a smack on the fireplace hearth. The table is set for two, for a special dinner. The dinner cooking. She appeared to have a date with a bookstore owner named Rory Fallon, and she evidently died from a blow to the head. She and her partner begin to look at other suspects; however, they are getting pressure to make an arrest and the boyfriend is the most likely choice. However, there could be something here still is not adding up. Could it be something right in front of them? Are they the stooges, set up to close a case, without any real investigation? With some politics, corruption, lies, and personal dynamics, we turn to Conway, the only woman on the Murder Squad. She suffers from sexist, abusive, and continuous harassment. Bad jokes. This has been going on so long, and it is wearing her down to the point considering quitting. However, she loves her job. She does not want a simple domestic case, she wants serial killers. Not only is she the only woman on the squad; she also is mixed race. A constant struggle. She comes across as very defensive, paranoid, at times; coming unglued from her tough exterior. She is determined to solve this case. As Conway and Moran get closer to the truth, seems something is getting in their way. Secrets will be exposed. Someone in the department seems to be steering the Murray investigation in a particular direction. But why the setup? Is the entire squad a conspiracy? Antoinette is bothered by the murder, during the investigation as she views her own history. Both women were abandoned by their fathers. Was there more behind her beauty? As always, French delivers an absorbing well-written read crime/literary suspense thriller. However, when comparing to The Secret, not quite as intense. Still, there is a nice balance of literary and crime, where we see the beauty of her writing with some strong interrogations scenes. I liked this observation of French's work The New Yorker:
“In her books, the search for the killer becomes entangled with a search for self. In most crime fiction, the central mystery is: Who is the murderer? In French’s novels, it’s: Who is the detective?”
If you are a fan you will most likely agree, this is what truly separates French from other crime writers. In this installment, this was especially the case. The novel shifts to Conway. As recently mentioned in the The Washington Post
“French’s books have achieved this success because they’re unfailingly intelligent and beautifully written and because they are never lurid — there’s little sex or gratuitous gore in them. Their magic lies less in the crimes themselves than in the distinct new worlds French creates to showcase each of them. Readers understand and embrace her work; it’s time for more of the people who review books and award prizes to rethink the cliches about genres and recognize the excellence — the literary excellence — of her work.” "I’ve never been much for the artificial divide between ‘literary’ fiction and ‘genre’ fiction,” she said in a recent interview. “I’ve never seen why audiences should be expected to be satisfied with either gripping plots or good writing. Why shouldn’t they be offered both at once?”
I listened to the audiobook, performed by Hilda Fay and was not overly fond of the narrator. Would recommend reading in book format. Would love for the author to narrate her own books, further enhancing the overall "French" experience.
Praise for Tana French
“A tour de force…When you read Ms. French—and she has become required reading for anyone who appreciates tough, unflinching intelligence and ingenious plotting—make only one assumption: All of your initial assumptions are wrong.” —Janet Maslin, The New York Times* "Tana French is the most interesting, most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years." —The Washington Post "[Tana French] inspires cultic devotion in readers…most crime fiction is diverting; French's is consuming." —The New Yorker “Atmospheric and unputdownable.” —People “Thrilling.” —Buzzfeed "A fierce examination of the chasm between how women choose to present themselves before the world and the more complicated truth underneath--and not to mention a total page-turner." —Harper's Bazaar “Beautifully crafted . . . may be her best yet.” —Entertainment Weekly “This is the kind of book you’ll want to dig into with all the lights on.” —Cup of Jo “There's nothing standard about French's approach to crime fiction, which plays the form much like a jazz musician improvising on a standard. Even when the outlines of the mystery seem familiar…she finds a way to get at enriching themes and powerful emotional truths in fresh and surprising ways.” —Chicago Tribune “As in all of the author's work, meaning lurks beneath every quip and glance. French not only spins a twisty cop tale, she also encases it in meticulous prose, creating a read that is as elegant as it is dark." —Associated Press
About the Author
Tana French grew up in Ireland, Italy, the US and Malawi, and has lived in Dublin since 1990. She trained as a professional actress at Trinity College, Dublin, and has worked in theatre, film and voiceover.
Author Note There's one thing that no one I know, including me, ever has enough of: time. Everyone has at least three things they should be doing with every minute, and everyone could do with about six more hours in the day. So I'm very aware that when you take a chance on one of my books, it's not just your money that you're putting on the line; it's your time, which is probably even more precious. I want to thank you, so much, for taking that chance; for your wonderful support, which never stops taking my breath away. Here's to all of you. I'll do my absolute best not to waste your time. Read More