When I like a book, I have the tendency to obsessively read everything the author has ever wrote. Such was the case after I read In the Woods by Tana French. I loved the atmosphere, the mystery, and especially the characters. I of course, read all the Tana French books I could find. When I was going through the epub files in my laptop to find a quick read, I was pleasantly surprised to find a French book I haven’t read yet. Or have I?
This is still set in the same Dublin Murder Squad as most of the French books are. The books are not strict sequels to each other but have a shared universe. Minor characters in a book basically have spin offs and become major characters in the next book. This particular book focused on Detectives Antoinette Conway and Stephen Moran, who were also characters in the previous book, The Secret Place. In the secret place, Moran was the main character while The Trespasser focuses on Conway.
Conway and Moran are partners in the Murder Squad (the newests members). Moran is mild mannered and likeable. Conway is another matter altogether. She is of mixed race and had a difficult childhood. An incident early in her tenure at the Squad had her feeling ostracized and she felt that everyone in the squad except for Moran was after her. She is prickly and distrustful, building walls and never letting anyone in completely, not even her partner. In fact, the bullying she felt at the squad was so bad that she was contemplating leaving.
The murder of a young woman, with very little physical evidence but a very good suspect seemed routine at first but suspicions that their perfect suspect seemed too perfect would turn their investigation in different directions. From gangs, disappeared fathers, and even one of their own. The case provides not only a good mystery to solve, but an opportunity for Conway for self discovery and growth.
Reading the book, I was struck by how familiar the Squad drama was and even remembered the ending to the drama. However, while the murder was familiar, I could not remember the end at all. In the end, I decided that I have read the book before but completely forgot about it. I don’t know if that says something about the book or myself. But seriously, Conway is a bit of a struggle to get to like. She is super prickly and even a tad paranoid. The story was ok, if a bit implausible, but well, aren’t all her books, really? Fortunately they are saved by good writing and characterization. This is my least favorite among the Murder Squad books that I’ve read.