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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A good Place to be

The Faithful Place
Tana French
Viking, 2010

Planning to run away with his girlfriend to London in the hopes of escaping poverty, Frank concludes he has been dumped when Rosie fails to join him and is astonished when Rosie's suitcase and evidence of foul play are discovered more than twenty years later.

This is third book in the Dublin Murder Squad series, but I hadn’t read the first two titles and didn’t notice anything missing in this one. Frank is not on the murder squad; he works undercover. It appears to me that each book in the series focuses on a different character who investigates the current case. Frank is an interesting choice with a compelling back story. He and his girlfriend wanted to escape their families when they were teens. Rosie’s father didn’t approve of Frank and Frank’s family had an abusive father. But when Frank went to their designated meeting spot, he found a note from Rosie that insinuated she had left without him. For twenty years, he assumed she had rejected him and this blow colored every decision he made since then. Rosie’s friends and family also assumed she had escaped their small neighborhood, some with hope that she made a life for herself, some with regret because they missed her so much. Imagine their shock and dismay when her remains turn up so many years later. Everyone who knew her had to revise their beliefs and assumptions regarding her disappearance and subsequent life after.

This literary mystery has a strong sense of place. The neighborhood is close knit and has its own code. Family life means sacrificing privacy, freedom, and sometimes a personal life. Everyone comes home for Sunday dinner and no one snitches on anyone, no matter what. Good jobs are scarce and many are on the dole. I found all of this fascinating, including the special vocabulary and dialect from the Faithful Place neighborhood. This literary mystery is chock full of characters with personality and depth and motivation, but the mystery may be a little weak for true mystery fans. Even I could guess the killer before the ending of the book, but it didn’t matter in the long run. There was enough suspense for me even without the mystery element.


Other books by this author:
In the Woods (2007) – Dublin Murder Squad #1
The Likeness (2008) – Dublin Murder Squad #2

Other titles you may like:
Oblivion by Peter Abrahams (2005)
Waking up in a hospital with much of his memory missing, Nick Petrov, a private investigator renowned for his ability to reclaim stolen children, pursues clues about his own life and discovers a link to a haunting murder case.

First Deadly Sin by Lawrence Sanders (1973)
A well-dressed man stalks the high-class neighborhoods of New York City. He is armed with an ice ax. His victims are strangers. And one cop, Captain Ed Delaney, must solve a series of bizarre murders that defy logic.

Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs (2007)
Discovering the skeleton of a young girl in the neighborhood of a childhood best friend who had gone missing thirty years earlier, Tempe Brennan investigates suspicions that victim and her friend are one and the same.

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