Sunday, December 12, 2010


I don't read a lot of mysteries, and I don't often blog about the ones I do read, because they seem a little lightweight. But I am a fan of Irish mystery writer Tana French. I enjoyed “In The Woods”, which Anna blogged (Psychological Suspense ) and I blogged her second book “The Likeness” (Mirror Image). In her third book, Faithful Place, French returns to grizzled, wisecracking Dublin Undercover Detective Frank Mackey.

Frank is a lonely middle-aged divorced man, whose heart was broken at age nineteen when his true love Rosie Daly, who had promised to run off to England with him, left without him. Except she didn't. Twenty-two years later Rosie's suitcase, containing the ferry tickets for the couple's escape, is found in an abandoned house.

The discovery pulls Frank back to Faithful Place, the grim cul-de-sac in a Dublin area called The Liberties, where he and Rosie grew up, and from which he hoped he had permanently escaped. Frank's family still lives there, and there is no dysfunctional like Irish dysfunctional. As he tells his ex-wife, "You don't meet my family, you open hostilities."

"Faithful Place" is a detective novel, with plot twists and turns, but it is also a dark Roddy Doyle kind of family drama, as Frank is torn by his loyalties to his family and his distrust of them. The family dynamic is so suffocating and toxic that sometimes it was hard to keep reading, but Frank Mackey's voice - sometimes witty, sometimes angry, sometimes heartbreaking - kept me turning the pages.

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