Monday, January 31, 2011

Faithful Place

Faithful Place: A Novel
by Tana French, July 2010, Viking Adult

I was unable to stop reading right through to the conclusion; then I was unable to stop thinking about this story

Some spoilers ahead
Faithful Place is Tana French’s third mystery (In the Woods, The Likeness) about a member of the Dublin police force. In this story, Frank MacKay is an undercover detective, who for twenty years has had little contact with his old neighborhood (Faithful Place) and his family. He left both behind on the night he was to run away with his girlfriend Rose. Rose never appeared to meet him and he assumed she left the neighborhood without him. Frank set out to build a life for himself and now twenty years later is taken back to the old neighborhood when Rose’s suitcase is found indicating that she never left.

Frank narrates the story and the action moves between his life growing up on Faithful Place and present day events. He is now a divorced father with an ex he still cares for and a nine year old who he is trying to shelter from life’s crueler side. Frank’s family is a horror, his “da” is a raging alcoholic who is abusive to all, and his mother makes Cruella DeVil look warm and fuzzy. His siblings all carry baggage from being raised in this home. The amount of cruelty in their interactions with each other is downright scary.

The mystery is fairly straightforward, Rose’s body is soon discovered buried on an abandoned property on the street and the murderer is clearly a local. One of the strengths of this story is in French’s ability to capture present day Dublin. She doesn’t pander to her readers; her prose is rife with references that require some familiarity with modern culture (Kojak, U2,). This is really a psychological mystery and ultimately the story of a very dysfunctional family but French makes it a page turner that fully engulfs you. I was unable to stop reading right through to the conclusion;then I was unable to stop thinking about this story. A primo read!
I read a copy of this book borrowed from The Free Library of Philadelphia


Melissa said...

I'm glad you liked it! Sounds too suspenseful and haunting for a wimp like me. :)

Julie said...

Thank you for the spoiler warning! I didn't get to read your review because of it, but it looks as though you liked this one very much. I have it on my wishlist!

Brasil said...

This book is an absolute pleasure to read. In this story, Frank Mackay returns home after a twenty year absence in order to solve the disappearance of an old flame. This is another emotionally gripping, who-dun-it that will leave you spellbound. Excellent!!