Lover of history, travel, and MP3 players (to distract me from things I'd really rather not have to do)!
Tana French sure knows how to weave a story! This one had all of the red herrings and intrigue one could want from a good mystery; the complex, well-drawn characters and relationships of a quality romance; and the evocatively described settings I look for in absorbing historical fiction. In short, she's an excellent writer.
I can definitely see why many readers were frustrated that one of the mystery strands wasn't wrapped up, as well as disappointed in the evolution of the central relationship in the novel. My response is twofold: First, not to be snarky, but that's life... Humans do stupid things, and sometimes we can just never know or understand them. Second, since this is a series, I'm hopeful that eventually the characters will be back to explain themselves.
Finally, although he did a fine job with the narration, I don't understand why Steven Crossley was chosen if he couldn't do any Irish accents - or why he was not directed to use them if he could. This detracted immensely from the authenticity of the dialogue and ambience, thus the 2 stars.
This was my first Tana French novel. I loved her character development, the story line and her writing style. I found myself trying to picture the events as they happened- a sure sign that I am enjoying the material. The narrator, however, was terrible. His reading of the story was just that, a reading. His inflection made it difficult to get the proper meaning of what was going on; I found his narration boring, monotonous and monotone. I stuck with the book only because I liked the characters. He really ruined the book for me.
Overall this was a good book and I enjoyed it enough to order up the second in the series. Ms. French writes in a style that includes clear descriptions and believable conversations between characters. There are actually two mysteries ongoing in this novel, but only one is solved. In the mystery that IS solved I felt like Ms. French made her clues too apparent and the resolution was not unexpected. The second mystery within this novel is not resolved so I will be patient and hope to get further answers as the series progresses.
I liked her character development but was somewhat surprised and disappointed with the direction that Detective Rob Ryan took in his journey through this story. I will not elaborate further so as to avoid spoilers, but suffice it to say I really liked him at the beginning and by books end, not so much.
Although this novel takes place in Ireland, there is not one Irish brogue to be heard from any of the characters. That was a little disappointing but a small thing considering how awesome the narration was. I would recommend this to mystery readers!
Spoiler alert: as a "whodunit" mystery this book is disappointing. There are two mysteries in it, one is never solved and serves only as a distraction from the main story. It brings in elements of the supernatural that are never developed or explained. The main mystery is not handled well, and the characters lack insight and depth.
If by a different author
An avid reader who cherishes my time with a good book!
This was my first Tana French book and while the story seemed very well constructed, it found I lost my place in several places - my attention drifted which hardly ever happens with me. I enjoyed it but not enough to become a regular fan. While I liked the main character and appreciated how his unique background made him flawed - I could not invest in most of his relationships in the story for some reason. The plot was interesting and the flashback sequences are helpful however I still found the end a bit anticlimactic and couldn't help feeling letdown by the lack of real answers to my lingering questions. I liked it enough to give Tana French another try later on.
The reader's voice is a shade too old for the story's narrator - a man in his early thirties who grew up in the Dublin area but who went to school in England - and too lacking in any of the nuance of Irish pronunciation. There are some words that even after decades in England would not sound the same way spoken by an Irishman and an Englishman. The story would have been better served by an Irish reader assuming an English accent for the narrator's part, and that would have enabled a greater range of characterization for the other voices in the story. Instead, all the characters sound the same.
I think in the end, it was less the narrative, and more the moments of reflection in the first person that really sold me. There is a passage in particular where Detective Ryan discusses his partnership with Maddox, and how the reader (or listener), could not possibly understand what it was like. French's writing comes across as genuine, and at those moments, it truly felt like I was listening to someone recount the story of this murder investigation.
Maddox. I related to her well, particularly with her natural gift for profiling. I am very much so looking forward to reading more about her in the next book of the series.
He is just a really good performer. I've listened to 60+ books this year, and the most enjoyable generally have a) a narrator performing in the first person who does an amazing job and/or b) a narrator who does distinctive voices for both genders without sounding like he or she is trying too hard. Crossley managed both.
I agree with the criticism regarding his accent. Since he was the one person in the book without an Irish accent, it required suspended disbelief just a little bit. I was able to rationalize it when I realized that this was truly Detective Ryan's story, and I just pictured him relaying the story to someone orally.
This is a long book in that there are probably a couple of hours which could have been cut. That being said, I didn't regret listening to a single minute of it. It is both satisfying and unsatisfying in the end. I think that it is important to go into this book expecting not only a thriller, but an exploration of relationships, and the willingness to enjoy some beautifully written prose disguised as a murder mystery. If you look at it that way, and if you're willing to enjoy the slow, paced performance, then you will have a wonderful listening experience.
I really didn't like hearing him breathe. I haven't really noticed that the other readers edit this out. It was a little distracting...but I do love his accents.
The book badly needed editing, some of that introspective dialogue was nothing more than high school angst. I kept thinking OK OK, get to the next development in the plot......
I love the genre, but I won't read this author again unless I find the book at a garage sale.
He was limited by the material. He was pretty good at the female voices though, did not make them into a caricature as some narrators do.
I think people who live in small towns in Ireland or UK would probably like it. There were many references to the culture, institutions, etc.
I could hardly make myself finish it, but I did, finally. The author left some loose ends, like the bird-like figure in the words, the huge mammal that ran in front of the car. This was not a wild area, it was right by a town, and the woods had been degraded over the years. On a scale of 1-10, it bothered me about 5 that she did not come up with a solution for the disappearances. And, it should have been possible to get DNA from all that blood in the shoe, even many years later, I don't buy that. Oddly enough, the only reason I bought the audiobook is because it has about 4000 good reviews. I wonder if Audible is publishing all of the review, even the critical ones.
overall i enjoyed this book and will try the next one. the author has a love for words and a nice lyrical quality to her writing. In this particular book, the main character is completely unlikable. i understand the need to create drama and compromising situations, but books in which a supposedly "intelligent" character makes improbable mistakes in judgement are difficult for me to forgive.
The supporting cast are very good, especially the sister, the partner and the sub-partner. it's a believable storyline, although i deduced the culprit early on. No spoilers but if you are a fan of detective dramas, and have read say 20 decent ones, you too will figure it out early on.
despite all that, it is a good read/listen. i am eager to see if the quality improves when the main character is not this damaged, jerkish man.