“The Trespasser” (Viking), by Tana French
Though Detective Antoinette Conway always dreamed of working in the murder squad, now that she’s made it to the Dublin Castle grounds where Ireland’s best detectives track down killers, she wants out.
Her co-workers harass her, and the majority of cases that make it to her desk involve domestic disputes, not the psychopathic serial killers she’d imagined hunting. When her boss assigns Antoinette and her partner a new case complete with a smarmy third detective to act as a baby sitter, Antoinette considers this her last stint on the squad before trading in her badge for a job at a security agency.
When they arrive at the scene, Antoinette stares into the face of the murder victim, Aislinn Murray, and recognizes her, though she can’t place the memory. The scene of the crime, complete with a candlelit table set for two and dinner in the oven, points to yet another date gone bad.
This should be a slam dunk. But from here, the case proves a wild animal nobody can read, sometimes bounding in a predictable direction, other times leaping down a path that catches everyone off guard. On top of this, Antoinette notices a strange man frequenting the road outside her house.
Author Tana French incessantly pushes the plot of “The Trespasser” forward with absorbing dialogue and shifty villains. When the investigation hits walls, relationships grow and morph, making the work as much about internal conflicts as external. Antoinette narrates with a rich, raw voice. Her sarcasm combined with a wry, hard-edged view on life may weary readers, but keep reading, because as in all of the author’s work, meaning lurks beneath every quip and glance.
French not only spins a twisty cop tale, she also encases it in meticulous prose, creating a read that is as elegant as it is dark. (AP)