Short, Simple, No Spoilers
If you like mysteries, this book has an street-smart main character/detective. He looks into the disappearance and possible murder of his first love. I guessed early in the book who did it, so was not excited or surprised by the ending. The detail is rich, yet I wish the editor had made French narrow it down by 2 hrs (and whatever page amount that equals). Recommend to friends who enjoy crime dramas. Not my cup of tea (pardon the pun).
Light in August, Faulkner
Reynolds does a splendid job of switching between the different voices and truly embodies the character of Francis. Love the brogue.
Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy
Other names for this review I considered are "Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk", or maybe "Drowning in Irish vitriol and angst", or more simply, "Ouch".
I really enjoyed the two previous Tana French books. This book was a different story for me. I found this mystery novel had very little action, and I knew who-done-it early on. The great majority of this book involved conversations that went on and on and involved the most bitter dialogue and vitriol I have experienced in a book. First off, if I had grown up in such a sick and bitter family, I would not want to listen to these diatribes for nearly the entire book. Luckily, I did not grow up in such a family, and I still did not want to listen to such animosity for so many hours. I could feel my blood pressure, which is usually very low, rising as the family members spouted hatred at each other. Enough is enough! The story, the mystery of it, was lost in dialogue and character development. Interestingly enough, our main character, Frank, who thought he escaped his family's grip for 22 years, exhibited just as much hostility as his parents and older brother had toward one other.
Despite my complaints, I did listen to this book all the way through. I am not sure if I kept coming back to it because I enjoyed it in an odd way or I just wanted to have it be finished. I do think French is a master of character development and dialogue, but she got lost in both here to the detriment of the story, which purports to be a mystery. The ending was very abrupt. I was actually shocked that it was done and so much which would have tied up loose strings was just left out. But again, this book really is not about what happened.
On a more positive side, the narrator, Tim Gerard Reynolds, did a masterful job of capturing the vitriolic dialogue. I can just imgine him coming away from each narration session with a splitting headache.
Good story.... I really enjoyed it I listen to books while I work and was actually looking forward to work just so I could listen to this book!
Avid audible listener for over 10 years.
Normally I like books set in Ireland with Irish narrators. For example, I enjoy the Adrian McKinty series. This book meets the first two requirements of set in Ireland (Dublin), and Irish narrator but falls short in many other respects. Almost all the major characters are portrayed as drunken Irish boozers on the dole. Dads' a drunk, Mom's a drunk, Sis is a drunk, etc. etc. Most of the dialogue is endless repetition of the same argument with everyone calling each other a F*##ing drunk, loser, etc. Half the story seems to take place in Irish pubs. If you were to remove every F-word from book it would be two hours shorter overall.
The story starts 30 years in the past with a teenage romance and then a murder. The rest of the the book is set in present day with flashbacks to the past. The whole plot line is rather "depressing" with no redeeming characters, even the major one Frank Mackey. He is a divorced dad who drinks too much, treats his ex wife badly and ignores his family for 30 years.
I could overlook this except the crime plot is the book is really weak. Not spoiling plot. There is no plausible motive to explain why bad guy does what he does. It really makes no sense.
So in summary this is sort of a B- book. Much better ones out there. If you want a International crime thriller read the Jon Nesbo books. This book is just depressing
So much to learn, and so little time to sit down and read. Thanks Audible.
The characters all come from a very dysfunctional, abusive family, and so much of the story pertains to the feelings and relationships they have from their upbringing. I had a difficult time relating to them, or even wanting to. As a result I never developed strong ties with any of the characters.
For me the book was just OK. It was interesting enough to listen to the whole thing, and the narrator did a very good job, but there are a lot more exciting books than this one.
I was interested to learn who, how, and why, but I wasn’t emotionally engaged. Part of the story is Frank recalling his life growing up in Faithful Place. It’s sad and depressing because his parents were horrible. Part of the story is Frank investigating by talking to many people. Part of the story is Frank’s love and relationship with his 9-year-old daughter Holly and his ex-wife Olivia. This was not as entertaining as I hoped. I think of Harry (the detective in Michael Connelly novels) who fascinates me. I love watching Harry investigate and do unexpected things, with unexpected results. Frank didn’t do that for me. He was just a regular guy who escaped his poverty and now he’s a good cop. There was nothing special about watching him. This book is for someone who loves mysteries and would enjoy the Irish setting. It’s told in first person by Frank. We don’t see other points of view. I think it’s harder to have suspense and entertainment when staying 100% first person. This book was ok, but it wasn’t the best for me.
I wanted an epilogue. Frank learns who the killer is, but the evidence may be weak. I wanted to see how it worked out in the courts and if the killer was convicted.
I’m hesitant to fault the author for this, but she used a lot of cliches. They’ve not bothered me with other authors, but here they felt overused and repetitive. Examples: end of story, at the end of the day, back in the day, fair enough, live in a glass house, get the h*** out of dodge. Frank also called his daughter so many different terms of endearment that it may have been too much for me. But it could just be me, I’m not used to it.
This is the author’s third novel. She won four awards for her first novel “In the Woods.” I didn’t want to read it because reviewers said that the mystery was not solved and the villain was not caught. I don’t want unsolved books. Some reviewers think her second book “The Likeness” was best of the three. I don’t know. I didn’t read it.
Ending: mystery is solved, but I felt sadness and compassion for the killer and others in that environment.
The narrator Tim Gerard Reynolds was ok. He had thick Irish accent which was fitting for the main character Frank.
No matter where you go, there you are.
Ms. French has the Irish milieu down cold. As I was twice married to Irish lass, I can say without a doubt, she banged it on the head. But maybe too hard and to often. Once I got the picture, I would have been happier to have been involved in a more complex plot.
But then, maybe that's the point. In a place where whole lives are spent in the confines of a few blocks, from cradle to grave, in pressure-cooker poverty and a paucity of education, life is bleak. And incestuous, and brutal, and alcoholic, and did I say brutal.
Francis is a tad too good to be true as he comes up with gem after gem of bits of child-rearing wisdom and pressure-releasing anecdotes, but he was a likable character.
I could certainly tell that this book was written by a woman as she bathed the copious raw situations in soothing tales of feelings and understanding from the heart. A little too much. I felt it diminished the stark, cruel reality in which this family tragedy takes place. She can write dialogue with the best of them, I'd say, as she moves this tale inevitably to the predetermined conclusion.
I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?
This book will hold your interest throughout and although the narrator was not as consistent as I wished (not as wonderful as Gerard Doyle) he did a fine job. I've downloaded a string of novels set in Dublin and I've loved them all. This one stands alone and is well worth a credit.
Having read her previous novels, I had high expectations for Ms. French and was not disappointed. The characters were believable, the dialogue sharp and the plot kept me guessing. The narrator captures the flavor of the patois with his Irish brogue (the story is set in Dublin). I've found my new favorite mystery novelist!
Ya'know if you are sensitive to language then this book isn't for you but it is appropriate to the characters. The characters were what made the story and even though many of the back characters were under developed. I think it makes sense because the whole story is essentially told by the main character. The narration was near perfect and I wish he had other books to listen to in portfolio. I would definitely recommend it!