Saturday, December 24, 2016

Review: The Trespasser by Tana French

The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad, Book #6)
by Tana French
Release Date: October 4th 2016
2016 Viking
Ebook Edition: 449 Pages
ISBN: 978-0670026333
Genre: Fiction / Murder
Source: Review copy from publisher

4.5 / 5 Stars

Being on the Murder squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she’s there. The rest of her working life is a stream of thankless cases, vicious pranks, and harassment. Antoinette is savagely tough, but she’s getting close to the breaking point.

Their new case looks like yet another by-the-numbers lovers’ quarrel gone bad. Aislinn Murray is blond, pretty, groomed to a shine, and dead in her catalogue-perfect living room, next to a table set for a romantic dinner. There’s nothing unusual about her—except that Antoinette’s seen her somewhere before.

And that her death won’t stay in its neat by-numbers box. Other detectives are trying to push Antoinette and Steve into arresting Aislinn’s boyfriend, fast. There’s a shadowy figure at the end of Antoinette's road. Aislinn's friend is hinting that she knew Aislinn was in danger. And everything they find out about Aislinn takes her further from the glossy, passive doll she seemed to be.

Antoinette knows the harassment has turned her paranoid, but she can’t tell just how far gone she is. Is this case another step in the campaign to force her off the squad, or are there darker currents flowing beneath its polished surface?

My Thoughts
The Trespasser is the sixth novel in the Dublin Murder Squad mysteries, and I have to say, I tend to feel very safe reading a Tana French novel, knowing that she usually delivers a good, police procedural novel, one that I always enjoy, and this one is no exception, except perhaps the pacing was somewhat slower and different.

First of all, I will mention right away that I was not a fan of the main character, Antoinette Conway, as she had a huge chip on her shoulder, thinking everyone was out to get her. What I found fascinating in all of this is perspective; I am always talking about perspective to my own students, but how one perceives things, and how something truly is, can be quite different, and the author was a genius at demonstrating this in this novel.  Also in true Tana French fashion, who is a master at her craft, Detective Conway has this way of getting under your skin, and I soon found myself looking forward to her scenes, especially her interviews, appreciating her witticism, wondering what she was going to do next.  That does not mean that I enjoyed everything she did, and didn't cringe on occasion; I mean she is capable of taking sarcasm to a whole new plane of existence, but her character development was fantastic, and I am extremely curious as to where the author is planning on taking this character in the next book.  

This book was about the exploration of that fine line that cops have to take every single day of their lives; how far does one go to protect a colleague who may have overstepped the line, and where does one draw that line for oneself.  It's such a complicated thing, yet the author manages to delve into that complexity with finesse, slowly exposing the corruption and the difficulty of the main players when they finally discover the truth.  I really like when a novel is about the character development of the detectives as much as about the crime itself, and there were lots of twists and turns to confuse the reader as to the actual mystery itself.  I really enjoyed the interview scenes, and while they may seem slow and pedantic, I found them fascinating and interesting.  To be honest, I found this whole novel to be quite a bit slower than previous novels, but it seemed to work in the end, and I liked it quite a bit.  

The Trespasser has so many things to recommend it: lots of surprising twists and turns; complex, stubborn, funny, and sad characters; biting sarcasm and wit; an interesting mystery; and great writing.  I happen to be a sucker for police procedurals and character driven stories, and this one had bother elements to recommend it.  While you don't necessarily have to start at the beginning of the series in order to understand this book as the author tends to introduce her main characters in her previous novels, I would recommend them anyways just because they are worth reading.  And that's the sad thing about this as I'm not sure we're going to see Conway and Moran featured as main characters again in future novels as that hasn't been the author's way of doing things, but there's always hope.