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Faithful Place / Tana French

Viking / July 2010
Reviewed by: Martel Sardina

Faithful Place made this reviewer’s short list of “must reads.” After reading, French’s first two offerings in her series about the Dublin murder squad, the bar was set high for book number three.

French’s mystery series is different than most because it is the setting that binds the series together versus following the same character over the course of several books. In each of the books, French tells her story through the eyes of a different protagonist. The books work well as standalones. There is not much overlap in terms of characters and backstory from one book to the next. The common thread linking them all is the connection to the Dublin murder squad.

In French’s second book, The Likeness, readers are introduced to the character Frank Mackey. He is in charge of the Undercover assignment that Detective Cassie Maddox has been recruited for. In Faithful Place, readers are given the opportunity to get to know Frank better. The story French tells this time around, explains an awful lot about how Frank Mackey became the kind of man and kind of cop that would be willing to do the things that he’s done.

Frank left Faithful Place, his childhood home, more than twenty years ago. He’d meant to escape an abusive household by eloping with his sweetheart, Rosie Daley. When Rosie didn’t show up at their rendezvous point, Frank incorrectly assumed that she abandoned him and ran off to England on her own. Though devastated by the breakup, the thought of staying with his family and being forced into a factory job like his father was unbearable. Frank followed through on his plan to leave and never look back. For more than twenty years, he’s done a good job of staying gone.

Frank’s sister calls to tell him that Rosie’s suitcase was found when one of the new neighbors decided to remodel their home. Frank drops everything and comes back hopeful that the discovery might turn up clues about what happened that night. Later, when Rosie’s body is discovered, Frank is devastated all other again. She didn’t abandon him. She was murdered. Frank’s not sure which ending is worse. He vows to find out who killed Rosie Daly. But will that knowledge bring him peace?

There is much to like about French’s writing style, the characters she’s created and her insights into dysfunctional people. Her prose comes alive. Her dialogue is spot on. Where Faithful Place fell short for this reviewer was the mystery of “whodunit?” I knew who the “bad guy” was very early on. That did not keep me from finishing Faithful Place, but it was a bit of a let down in comparison to French’s first two books, where the “whodunit?” was not as easily solved.

Overall, Faithful Place is an enjoyable read. Those who have read and liked her other books should enjoy this one as well. While the books can be read out of sequence, those who are new to the series may want to start at the beginning with In the Woods, to see how the puzzle pieces fit together since French has chosen a different way to bind the books together over time.

Purchase Faithful Place by Tana French.

Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 08:19AM by Registered CommenterDark Scribe Magazine in | Comments Off

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