Twenty two years after Rosie Daly left her family and took off for England, her suitcase is found in a dilapidated house in the same neighbourhood. Detective Frank Mackey, Rosie’s boyfriend with whom she had planned a new life in England is forced to come back to the place he despised and stayed well away from. Can he find Rosie exorcising ghosts of his past or did Rosie never leave Faithful Place?
I was dying to read the next Tana French books after In The Woods and The Likeness. I can easily say that I am addicted to French’s writing and Faithful Place has just exacerbated this craving. It tells story of Frank Mackey, the star undercover detective who played a crucial role in The Likeness. On a perfect weekend that Frank has planned for his nine year old daughter Holly, his kid sister Jackie’s frantic call summons him to Faithful Place, his neighbourhood that he has done his best to avoid for twenty two years.
But not anymore because Rosie Daly’s suitcase has been found in a decrepit house. Frank and Rosie had planned to run away to England when they were teenagers but on that fateful night Rosie never turned up. Instead Frank found her note where Rosie told him that she is heading to England without him. Frank left his dysfunctional family and neighbourhood the same night never to return. But the discovery brings him back to his family and the place that is a shimmering cauldron of abuse, poverty, alcoholism, jealousy, sibling rivalry, boorishness and gossip mongering.
Soon Frank discovers Rosie’s body stuffed in the same house where her suitcase was found. In order to solve her murder, he must now ingrain himself with his family and ‘The Liberties’. There are dark secrets lurking in every corner and soon discovery of Rosie leads to another murder – Frank’s younger brother Kevin who had seen or heard something vital twenty two years ago without realising its importance.
In spite of being warned to stay away from the case by the investigating officer Scorcher Kennedy, Frank’s colleague and rival, Frank digs in his heels and stays put in the neighbourhood to find in the end his worst thoughts coming true.
I just love French’s writing. She slides into each narrator so effortlessly giving them their distinctive voice and persona that it looks as if we are experiencing the events before our eyes. Where Cassie was cool and collected, Rob was nervous and fidgety in spite of his smartness; Frank is wisecrack, composed, every bit of undercover operator that he is, yet always ready for a brawl and preferring an agenda of his own over rules. Even her other characters have a life of their own and you can remember them for a long time after. I also liked young detective Stephen and knowing that a character from her previous novel becomes narrator of the next, hope that he will have a story of his own soon.
Another thing I am mad about is French’s similes and metaphors. They capture the mood and the setting so well without being loquacious making her prose almost lyrical. There are so many situations that become crackling and alive that I think I should compile a mini dictionary of it. Like her previous novels, Faithful Place is dark as it explores twisted and entwined human relationships. Frank’s relationship with his family and neighbourhood is the centrepiece of the story.
This book deserves straight 5/5 as a standalone novel. I have taken quarter point off only because I found the mystery easier. Also I liked In The Woods and The Likeness more. Beating them is like beating Nadia Comaneci’s perfect 10, a tall order even for French herself.
It’s hard not to be enthralled by the series. It is a must read and I have just placed order for the fourth book – Broken Harbor.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your time.
The book is available cheapest in India at –
My other Dublin Murder Squad series reviews –