First off, I really enjoyed this book. Ms. French is smart and witty, with more than a little bit of gravel in her voice. Her prose is by turns clear and simple, then lyrical and dream-like. What I did not like was our narrator, Rob Ryan.
What I warn you to remember is that I am a detective. Our relationship with truth is fundamental but cracked, refracting confusingly like fragmented glass.
Yeah, he warned us early on, but that still didn’t make me like him or even care how his individual story came out. But the novel itself was engaging, twisty and fresh.
Three twelve-year-old friends are enjoying an idyllic summer in the mid-80’s on the outskirts of Dublin. One afternoon they head off into the woods, as they always do, bidding goodbye to their mams and promising to be home in time for tea. Hours later, they have not returned and a search is organized. Finally one of the children is found, scared witless, his shoes full of blood, but he cannot remember what happened to the others, or even speak. Their disappearance is never solved. 20 years later, a young girl is found murdered on the edge of the very same wood. You see, he was the boy who survived all those years ago, and under a slightly different name, he has become an detective in Dublin’s Murder Squad. Knowing he would not be able to work the case if his superiors knew of his past, he enlists the help and complicity of his partner, Cassie. He is sure he has to be the one to solve the case and perhaps get answers about his own past. The story weaves back and forth in time and up and down several avenues of inquiry, while Rob becomes increasingly unhinged, jeopardizing the current case.
I look forward to more from Ms. French (while keeping my fingers crossed that Rob Ryan has graced his last page).