If you have not yet read Tana French you are missing out on something quite amazing. Considered by the Washington Post to be “one of the most important crime novelists to emerge in the last ten years,” French’s novels are tough, intelligent and always have unusually gripping plots.
The Trespasser is no exception. When Dublin Murder Squad Detective Antoinette Conway and her partner Stephen Moran are asked to look into the suspicious death of Aislinn Murray, it looks like just another lovers’ quarrel gone bad. Except for one thing. Antoinette is sure she has seen Aislinn before, she just can’t remember when or where. As Stephen and Antoinette pursue different leads, they begin to feel increasing pressure from inside the department to close the case and arrest Aislinn’s lover for the murder. Antoinette, who already feels burned out by the constant harassment that she receives from the other members of the Murder Squad, can’t tell whether this is just one more example of their vendetta against her or whether there is some deeper more ugly motive to their efforts to get the case closed as soon as possible. As Stephen and Antoinette resist the efforts to end the investigation, and Antoinette finally remembers where she first met Aislinn, they become immersed in a much deeper and darker secret that threatens not only themselves but justice itself.
Tautly written with the suspense rising with each revelation, this is one of French’s most gripping books yet! Antoinette is someone you can identify with as a woman, facing enormous challenges in a work environment that is hostile to her gender. Yet this hostility is balanced by the supportive relationship that she has with her partner Stephen, who despite her efforts to push him away remains loyal and stalwart in his belief in her and her abilities. In fact, I think it is rather unique in fiction to show such a strong relationship between a man and woman that is not romantic in nature. French includes personal story lines about Antoinette’s childhood, and Stephen’s own life that help to round out their characters so that their motivations become more complex and interesting. French also uses the Irish vernacular and accents to good effect, allowing the way each person speaks to reveal the differences in their class and education.
If, as I am coming to feel more strongly all the time, detective fiction can also be considered literary fiction, than French is one of those authors that has crossed that arbitrary line with strength and grace, inviting us deeper into the complex world of murder, detection and justice while giving us deeper insights into the dark underside of humanity and the people who try to bring order into that chaos.
Brenda’s Rating: *****(5 out of 5 Stars)
Recommend this book to: Sharon, Marian and Keith
Book Study Worthy? Yes
Read in ebook format.