I previously reviewed Tana French’s “The Likeness” , and enjoyed it, but I developed a sick attachment for ‘Faithful Place.’ This is by far and away my favorite book of hers so far. When I finished it I immediately downloaded ‘Into the Woods’ craving and needing more. Each book in the Dublin Murder Squad series has an overlapping character in the books, but it is not necessary for them to be read in order. I am grateful, because technically I started with two, went to three and am now reading the first. I was concerned I missed a major plot point, but it appears I stumbled on a series where you can “choose your own adventure,” or more accurately, choose your own timeline. ‘Faithful Place’ revolves around Frank Mackey and the gritty side of Dublin. The book throws him back into a family dynamic he ran from years ago. Frank is a grizzled undercover cop and handler. He’s not the running type.
Frank Mackey is 41, divorced, with a nine-year old girl he has worked hard to be able to see on weekends. His wife doesn’t hate him but decided she and her daughter would no longer come in second to his job. Frank , in an aside, states she finally wised up and divorced him in a sardonic acknowledgement of his mistakes. Divorced by job, I wonder if that will one day become a category on divorce paperwork.
His daughter knows her dad has an important job and accepts she can’t always count on him. However, when his sister calls him telling him he has to come home on his first hard won weekend, it is with regret and shame he returns an angry and disappointed Holly to her mother. He hasn’t been home, Faithful Place, in years. Jackie is the only sister he speaks to. He refused to go until he heard that they found Rosie Daly’s suitcase. Rosie Daly, his first love, who left him to pursue her dreams in England. They were supposed to go together and get married, but instead of finding Rosie at their meeting place he found a letter saying she was leaving without him. Now that her suitcase was found in a condemned house chimney he’s questioning if his history of events is accurate. Everyone is jumping to conclusions. Frank waits for confirmation, but Rosie was murdered.
Frank, who is very comfortable working in the grey, steps on the Murder Squads toes. He, himself, is technically a suspect, and despite the good faith it would earn him to play nice in the sandbox, he circumvents them and does his own investigation. No one in Faithful Place will talk to the Murder Squad but they might talk to one of their prodigal sons returned home. Frank’s department head tacitly allows him to go off book in the guise of vacation time and people on the inside agree to help him, much to the annoyance of the Murder Squads lead, Scorcher. Bridges will be burned!
I love this book. It’s an instant favorite. If you like audible books, Tim Gerard Reynolds does a fabulous narration. He provided an Irish accent I could not have created in my head, and his character differentiation was superb. His narration matches Tana French’s material and enhanced the experience for me. As a person who rereads books, I will always choose to listen to ‘Faithful Place.” I was sad to learn he didn’t narrate ‘Into the Woods.” ‘Faithful Place’ is a book I insist you pick up if you enjoy mysteries, cop drama, Ireland, and the seedy underbelly. Yes, it really is that good.