Thursday, February 2, 2012

Review: "Faithful Place" by Tana French

From Goodreads:  The past haunts in Tana French novels. That which was buried is brought to light and wreaks hell--on no one moreso than Frank Mackey, beloved undercover guru and burly hero first mentioned in French's second book about the Undercover Squad, The Likeness. Faithful Place is Frank's old neighborhood, the town he fled twenty-two years ago, abandoning an abusive alcoholic father, harpy mother, and two brothers and sisters who never made it out. They say going home is never easy, but for Frank, investigating the cold case of the just-discovered body of his teenage girlfriend, it is a tangled, dangerous journey, fraught with mean motivations, black secrets, and tenuous alliances. Because he is too close to the case, and because the Place (including his family) harbors a deep-rooted distrust of cops, Frank must undergo his investigation furtively, using all the skills picked up from years of undercover work to trace the killer and the events of the night that changed his life. Faithful Place is Tana French's best book yet (readers familiar with In the Woods and The Likeness will recognize this as an incredible feat), a compelling and cutting mystery with the hardscrabble, savage Mackey clan at its heart.

My Thoughts:  This is the third Tana French book I have read and it is by far my favorite.  Frank Mackey is a believable and likable character and the story is just incredibly well-written.  The family drama he deals with is rough but not unrealistic. French's descriptions of everyday life in Ireland are fantastic and the dysfunctional Mackey family is very well-developed.  Their dysfunction is over the top without seeming phony and they made for a very interesting group of characters. 

In her past two books, French's main characters have kind of lost themselves in their work and ended up worse off than they started but Frank stayed pretty steady.  He had to deal with some awful situations but he didn't lose sight of what was most important in his life.  Like usual there wasn't a nice happy ending but I wasn't as depressed at the end of this book as I was when I finished French's last two books.  When I finished  In the Woods, I wanted to throw the book across the room but this one just left feeling sad for Frank.  It definitely ended with a 'what might have been' moment.  Overall, this was a great book and I highly recommend it.  4 stars. 

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