The Trespasser, by Tana French


Book review

The Trespasser, a superior procedural detective novel, passed this critic’s first test.  I rated it four stars on the domestic suitability scale for mutual consumption

Why I liked it

The writing is intelligent, the characters engaging, the story ticking all the boxes for enthusiasts of crime fiction. The story is set in Dublin, with hard-boiled Irish cops, villains, and a beautiful young victim, done and battered in the first few pages before the detective duo arrive. There is a nailed-on suspect, and assorted enemies to justice, mostly inside the precinct.

Another big plus. The author avoided the maxim ‘a murder a chapter means readership capture‘ and eschewed the increasingly over-used device of a mad mass murderer.

A bit long?

As I began it, the book felt a little lengthy (the currently fashionable 400 plus pages). This turned out to be ungenerous judgement, as I found myself page-turning without skipping to the last, then eager to read the next available book by the author as soon as possible.

New York or Dublin?

One slightly discordant note:  the background felt closer to New York or Chicago Irish than to Dublin Irish. Was that my own indoctrination from a hundred American detective stories, or was the author up to something?

There was more than the pot-boiling detective yarn, although I missed a great deal of sub-textual stuff, because I had not been following earlier well-received books by author Tana French. A deeper indication of her intentions is found in a recent interview with the New York Times.

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