Published: 5 November 2020
Author: Tana French
Published by: Penguin
Length: 464 pages
Reading dates: 3-6 November 2020
Retired detective Cal Hooper moves to a remote village in rural Ireland. His plans are to fix up the dilapidated cottage he’s bought, to walk the mountains, to put his old police instincts to bed forever.
Then a local boy appeals to him for help. His brother is missing, and no one in the village, least of all the police, seems to care. And once again, Cal feels that restless itch.
Something is wrong in this community, and he must find out what, even if it brings trouble to his door.
This is my first Tana French novel (I know!) and it certainly won’t be my last.
American retired detective Cal Hooper has moved from Chicago to a remote village in Western Ireland after the breakdown of his marriage. He is craving isolation and his dilapidated cottage is just the project he needs to occupy his time. He has started to make a few friends among the locals including neighbour Mart who has taken it upon himself to look out for Cal and to teach him the ways of the locals and shop owner Noreen who is trying to set him up with her sister. After spending a few days having the feeling he is being watched, 12 year old Trey makes himself known. He asks Cal for his help in tracking down his older brother Brendan. His disappearance hasn’t been investigated by the police – at 19 everyone assumes he has just taken off to a bigger city, somewhere with more prospects. Either that or has gotten into trouble and needed to disappear. But Trey is convinced he wouldn’t have done that without confiding in him.
At first, Cal isn’t interested in helping – he wants to keep a low profile and has left police work behind, but as he gets to know Trey, he agrees to ask a few questions and see what he can find out. Before long, he realises there is a mystery to be solved.
I absolutely loved this novel. It’s hard when you love a book so much as I loved this, I worry I won’t be able to do it justice. As I said, I haven’t read a Tana French novel before but her writing in The Searcher was just sublime. The descriptions of the landscape is so evocative, both beautiful and bleak. Cal is a fabulous character – I especially loved how he gained Trey’s trust by including him in his renovation projects and then teaching him to shoot his rifle. Trey is a sympathetic character – a little rough around the edges, vulnerable yet tough. And I just loved their relationship.
A book that starts slowly, I truly didn’t mind this as the writing was just so captivating. French is well known for her crime writing, but I would say this is more of a mystery novel with element of a thriller. I saw an interview with French recently in which she spoke about The Searcher and compared it to a Western novel. I have never read any Westerns but I can see what she means by this comparison – a stranger arrives in town, viewed with suspicion.
A wonderful book, French’s writing is effortless and I think this might be going into my top 10 of 2020!
Many thanks to Georgia at Penguin for the proof copy and for inviting me on the blog tour. You can check out the other bloggers who are shouting about this book below
About the author
Tana French is the New York Times bestselling author of In the Woods, The Likeness, Faithful Place, Broken Harbor, The Secret Place, The Trespasser and The Witch Elm. Her books have won awards including the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity and Barry Awards, the Los Angeles Times Award for Best Mystery/Thriller, and the Irish Book Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Dublin with her family.