It’s not entirely hyperbole when I say that Tana French is magic. When I’m reading her books, more than with any other author I’ve ever read, I feel ensorcelled. Like, I’m being pulled in to the book with ropes that have been tied around my emotions, and it’s entirely not in my control how much I’m allowed to be inside the story. Her books are wrenching. So much humanity in there. Joy and suffering and pain and longing and regret. All at the same time. Plus a murder mystery!
I’m almost more impressed with her after reading this book. It was easy to get me to fall in love with Rob and Cassie in their respective books (In the Woods and The Likeness), but Detective Frank Mackey rubbed me the wrong way from the get go back from when we first met him in The Likeness. So the fact that I was so emotionally invested in his story by the end of this book, had in fact fallen a little bit in love with him and his messed up family, is probably the best testament to her writing and character work that I can give. I also found the story she was writing this time to be a more uncomfortable experience, and I tend to shy away from those as a reader. So again, the fact that I gobbled this book up like it was ice cream says something about her skills.
Nominally, this is a story about Frank finally coming to terms with the disappearance of the love of his life. Rosie Daly and Frank Mackey planned to run away to London when they were nineteen, but on the night they were set to leave, Rosie never showed up, and Frank assumed she’d gone without him. He never got over her leaving him. Only, now that her suitcase has been found in an abandoned house on the street where he grew up, it seems the story of what actually happened to Rosie Daly is still a mystery. I say nominally, because this isn’t just a story about a guy getting over his murdered girlfriend and solving her murder. It goes a lot deeper than that. This is really a story about coming to terms with the things you wanted but will never have. It’s a story about knowing when to stop fighting, and what happens if you don’t.
I can’t sing the praises of these books loudly enough. I can’t believe it took me so long to finally start reading them. I can’t believe I only have one more left to read.