Back in 1985, Frank Mackey was a nineteen-year-old kid with a dream of escaping his family’s cramped flat on Faithful Place and running away to London with his girl, Rosie Daly. But on the night they were supposed to leave, Rosie didn’t show. Frank took it for granted that she’d dumped him-probably because of his alcoholic father, nutcase mother, and generally dysfunctional family. He never went home again. Neither did Rosie. Then, twenty-two years later, Rosie’s suitcase shows up behind a fireplace in a derelict house on Faithful Place, and Frank, now a detective in the Sublin Undercover squad, is going home whether he likes it or not.
Getting sucked in is a lot easier than getting out again. Frank finds himself straight back in the dark tangle of relationships he left behind. The cops working the case want him out of the way, in case loyalty to his family and community makes him a liability. Faithful Place wants him out because he’s a detective now, and the Place has never liked cops. Frank just wants to find out what happened to Rosie Daly-and he’s willing to do whatever it takes, to himself or anyone else, to get the job done.
Faithful Place by Tana French
Publication Date: June 28, 2011 by Penguin Books
While I certainly enjoyed In the Woods and The Likeness, Tana French’s third novel in the series, Faithful Place, is what really clicked with me. This was the first of the three books that felt most like a “classic” crime/mystery story and there was something about the narrator, Frank Mackey, that I really took to.
What I am learning I love most about French is that she is unbelievably good at writing from ANY perspective. So far, I’ve had the chance to experience both male and female narrators (with a variety of ages) who come from vastly different backgrounds and experiences and all of their voices are completely enthralling and believable. Although I clearly couldn’t have anything in common with Mackey, it was his voice that I felt the most connected to.
Whereas The Likeness was more countryside and academic with a dash of unrealistic plot, Faithful Place was all city, lower class and a more realistic murder mystery. Mackey’s family, while heartbreaking at times, consists of an array of people who are fully fleshed-out characters – I felt completely connected to all of them (even in spite of some pretty deplorable behavior). They felt real, not one person was a pawn to the plot or a caricature of what an Irish family in Dublin is supposed to be and it is French’s brilliant characterization that ultimately makes her novels so thrilling.
Although her books seem to get larger in size as the series progresses, I find myself finishing each on in turn faster than the previous one. I often find I tire of book series as they move along because the rest of the series never compare to how I felt about the first book. With Tana French, I’m finding my love of her books is only increasing as the Dublin Murder Squad moves along and I feel confident that this trend will continue with Broken Harbour.