BINGO – REC’D
I enjoyed author Tana French’s novel In the Woods and then msvreadsbooks’ review sold me on picking up another French novel The Searcher. Cal Hooper is a retired detective from Chicago who recently bought and moved into a run-down house in a small rural Irish town. He’s determined to keep his head low, not make any enemies of the locals, and enjoy some peace and quiet away from it all. What a boring book that would have been if that’s all that happened. Soon after moving in, Cal takes a local kid, Trey Reddy, under his wing. Trey asks Cal to use his police and detective skills to find Brendan, Trey’s missing brother. Cal starts his search for what happened to Brendan despite some subtle and later aggressive warnings to drop it. Luckily for us, Cal is unable to drop his investigation if only for Trey’s sake.
Though I am using this book for my Rec’d square, this absolutely could have taken the the Wilds square as well. Tana French clearly loves Ireland and brings all of that love to her writing. The countryside becomes its own character interacting with and affecting the human characters. The descriptions of the mountains, the fauna, and the bogs transported me to the Irish countryside. And though the countryside is beautiful, French also does not shy away from how dangerous rural Ireland can be.
French also weaves in some truly wonderful social commentary through the plot. Brendan Reddy is from a poor family that is not well respected in the community; questions are raised as to whether Brendan’s disappearance would carry more weight with the local police if he were from a wealthier family or more respectable one. French also raises the question of what young people owe their community: is there an expectation to stick around in to better the land and community your family is from, or is it acceptable to branch out on one’s own? These are not easy questions and French does not answer them for us. She leaves those answers up to the reader and allows the reader to answer without judgement or bias.
I had the chance to listen to this book as an audiobook, which I highly recommend. Since the main character of The Searcher is American, the majority of the book is narrated with an American accent. I was nervous at first that this accent was going to be used for every character including the Irish characters. How little faith I had. Narrator Roger Clark easily switches back and forth between American accents and Irish ones easily and, at least to my American ears, effectively and believably.