Tuesday, July 9, 2013


If you want to hunt like a good little panting puppy dog, shooting off on the trail the second you’re let off the leash, you work Murder. If you want Undercover, and I always did, you learn to hunt the way big cats do: set up your ambush, stay low to the ground and move closer by hidden inches, for as long as it takes.


Talk about a dysfunctional family!

In Tana French’s Faithful Place, Dublin undercover detective Frank Mackey’s family is a dysfunctional family.

Frank returns to his family after twenty-two years away. He finds the body of his murdered fiancé, investigates the murder of his younger brother, dotes on his small daughter (as he always does), and begins (at least barely) to restore his relationship with his divorced wife.

All the while, Frank is learning that Rosie didn’t jilt him. Someone killed her the night she and Frank had planned to run away to England.

And all this involves, not just the family, but the Dublin neighborhood. Neighbors hate and love each other. Frank’s family, with its abusive drunken father, is low class. Rosie’s family ranks a little higher. The two men hate each other.

Oddly enough, the book’s title Faithful Place is more than just the name of the Dublin neighborhood. 

The title is also more than ironic. There are ways in which family members are faithful to each other, even when that leads to murder.

Frank is an outsider everywhere. He is a Catholic on a still-mostly Protestant police force. Many of the Murder Division cops work against Frank. But he finds an ally too.

I found this book compelling.

There may have been some plot turns in Faithful Place that strained my credulity. But on a lesser plane, the family sometimes reminded me of the torn-up families in greater literature. For some reason, The Glass Menagerie came to mind. (They both have driven, destructive mothers.)

Tana French is a new author to me. I am on a hunt for new authors to read, authors whose books I can pick up and know they will most likely be the kinds of books I enjoy reading. Tana French seems to be that kind of author.


pattinase (abbott) said...

I have read 1-3 and although each had great parts, all of them left me dissatisfied. Not sure why. Perhaps the length is not justified. A heck of a lot of repetition.

Joe Barone said...

I agree about the length. I just thought it was me. As you probably know, I prefer shorter books in all cases.