Sunday, April 15, 2018

Faithful Place: a very short review

The third in Tana French's superb Dublin-based mystery novels is Faithful Place.

French's approach to the series is quite unusual. A supporting character in an earlier novel becomes the main character in a subsequent one, and, over time, we get to know a variety of characters who are interconnected in various ways.

But one thing this means is that the books are different, because the characters are different. When you read, for example, a Sue Grafton novel, at some point you knew what to expect.

French's books don't have that quality. Each is different, and stands on its own (though I'm going through them in order, as I think she probably expects readers to do).

Faithful Place is different from the first two works in several ways, but the most notable one is a matter of style. Whereas the earlier words were lyric, moody, enigmatic, Faithful Place is like a truck on a highway: straightforward, blunt, powerful.

There isn't, really, much of a mystery here, in a way. The mystery is more about subtler things, involving how families manipulate themselves, how grudges and hurts thought to be long overcome are still alive, and how people often struggle to do the right thing about those that they care about the most.

It's gritty, it's harsh, it's blunt, and I roared through it like that proverbial truck on a highway, pausing only briefly for rest and refreshment before moving on.

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