MK’s Book Reviews: The Trespasser

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I read Tana French’s latest novel and…

I loved it. Obviously.

The Trespasser is the newest book in Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad, which is, in case you’re unfamiliar, tales of the (fictional) murder detectives operating out of Dublin Castle. Each book is written from the point of view of a detective from a previous book (except obviously the first book), so if you read them in order (which you should, even though other bloggers will advise you otherwise) you already know something about the protagonist going in.

So I was already incredibly excited for this for four reasons:

1. Antoinette Conway We first met her in The Secret Place as the lead detective investigating that mystery. We learn early on that if her coworkers had to sum her up in one word it would be “bitch”. So I was definitely interested in reading a story from the bitch’s point of view. (Appropriate given current events as well, as “bitch” is just a shorter term for “nasty woman” 🙂 )

2. Stephen Moran Stephan was the protagonist in The Secret Place and he also appeared in Faithful Place, and the amount of empathy I felt towards this boy cannot be overstated. I was so glad to see him again.

3. It’s Tana French She writes the most beautiful prose I’ve ever read. Ever.

4. Dublin I purposely waited to read this book until I got to Ireland. The Irishness of it is just so wonderful, from the setting to the dialogue. I kept getting excited over all these little details, like when we passed by a Tesco (a common Irish grocery store chain) because it was mentioned in the book. But even if you’re not going to Dublin anytime soon, I highly recommend this book.

Why?

First, the summary from Goodreads:

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?

The good:

1. The writing What I love about Tana French’s mysteries (besides the impeccable prose) is that they’re so different from every other mystery or detective book I’ve read. They’re not focused necessarily on the whodunnit (though that’s definitely a factor); they’re more about the whydunnit, and also, the psyche of the detective(s) solving the crime. It’s so much more fascinating than a cut and dry find-the-bad-guy story. Nuance, people, nuance!

2. The setting Every single one of Tana French’s books makes me want to move to Dublin and become a murder detective. I want to climb inside the stories and live there.

3. Antoinette Conway She did not disappoint. I love reading about tough women (maybe because I wish I was more like them, sometimes) and we need more stories like this. I also just love how incredibly nuanced she is, and how even when you realize you’re getting a little too paranoid along with her, she brings you along on her downward spiral because she’s just so freaking compelling as a narrator.

I wear good suits, stuff that’s cut right and works with my shape–long and strong–and anyone who thinks I should be schlepping around in a sack to protect him from his own bad thoughts can fuck himself. The stuff people think I should try to hide–being tall, being a woman, being half whatever–is the stuff I keep up front and in their faces. If they can’t handle it, I can use that.

4. The mystery There are people who dislike Tana French because they feel she doesn’t neatly wrap up her mysteries (especially in her first novel, though I have (SPOILER-FILLED) theories on that here). I personally love that about her–how nothing in her worlds is black and white–but if you want definitive answers to your mysteries, rest assured that this book actually has one.

The bad:

The book ended and now I have to wait at least another two years to read Tana French again.

Seriously, there are no reasons not to read this book. Tana French is at the top of her craft, both in her genre and otherwise. Anyone who likes a good story needs to read this.

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