One of the best-written and best read combinations around. I put off reading Tana French for a long time because I've been suckered too often, but whe..Show More »n I was barely 1/4 way through Part One (of 3), I sat down and ordered the next two books she has written. The writing is THAT good. The story is elegant and moving and convincing, and the characters are more-real than most of the people in your own life. Steven Crossley has an amazing, rich and varied voice, an almost-beautiful thing to hear.
Here comes the flaw. This is a book which takes place in Ireland, in small town Ireland, amongst working class Irish people. ALL of them are Irish, but NONE of their accents are. The first-person narrator explains away his English accent by conveniently spending his teen years in English boarding school, but what of everyone else? It might be a sin for an English actor to attempt an Irish accent and do it badly, and I do love Crossley's voice, but surely there are Irish narrators looking for work? I've enjoyed many other Irish novels read by Irish readers -- in fact it is one reason I choose an audiobook over the print version sometimes. So, the English reader loses a star for this otherwise brilliant book.
This may be the first review I've written on Audible (I'm a long-time listener, first-time caller). Both this book and its superb narration (by Heath..Show More »er O'Neill) were completely riveting. It may not impress devotees of crime fiction, since it does take liberties with the investigation at its center (at times rendering it a mere pretext for the psychodrama that is its real focus), but the creation of such densely wrought, moving, and frankly likable characters engrossed me as much as any more generically "pure" police procedural. Cassie Maddox is one of the most appealing protagonists I've come across in contemporary fiction. And the book is, simply put, astonishingly well-written. French seems to be in the business of world-making rather than crime fiction: she uses the Dublin murder department as the occasion for producing a richly imagined vision of contemporary Ireland, one as intricate and historically nuanced as that of her compatriot, the brilliant John Banville. (Ironically, Banville's own mystery writing--under the pseudonym Benjamin Black--cannot really touch French's for depth and wit.) Those looking for a whodunit will be rightfully disappointed by this book (as numerous reviewers have indicated); those looking for a gripping take on the psychology of deception and identity, and on the ethics of what people owe to one another, will be enthralled.
I didn't just listen to this book; it's more like I was consumed by it. Tana French doesn't write in a serial fashion like other mystery authors. Sh..Show More »e explores a group of people, character by character; her books are almost more stand-alone novels than a series. I think this one is her best so far, even though I really loved the first two. Frank has to solve an old murder, a contemporary murder, and resolve how each has influenced his life. There is so much more here than the usual murder mystery; if that's all you want, download something else. French's characters are fully-developed; they are human beings, with faults, damage, and in this case, a strong will in Frank to rise above his beginnings. The bonus here is French's marvelous command of Irish street language (vulgarity alert!); it's a witty, sometimes laugh-out-loud counterpoint to the tragedy of poverty, death, and struggle. Her approach is a refreshing change to the formulaic writing that most mystery writers can't break away from. "Faithful Place" is a love story within a murder mystery, solved years after the fact. Discovery of the murder nearly destroys Frank's family and threatens to destroy him; it's an exploration of his struggle to deal with his past and create a future for himself. Either you like French's approach or you don't, but what you don't get here is same-old same-old mystery solving. French develops the plot by uncovering, layer by layer, events of the past as seen through various characters' eyes, and their motivations for their actions, their pain, and their prejudices. It's not until the very end of the book that the murderer is revealed, along with not only the motivation for the person's actions, but the story behind the motivation. It's a complex, compelling story, and it's made me more of a Tana French fan than I was before - and I waited impatiently for this book to become available. It's like nothing you've read before, even by the same author.
This listen has left me stunned. It is such a powerful, insightful and brilliantly woven story that I can't even bear to begin another book for fear o..Show More »f losing the magic of Tana French. This is one of those books you wish you had never listened to, so that you could go back and experience it again and again for the first time.
What in the world caused Ms French to think that anyone would enjoy having every other chapter in a 20 hour book comprised of the simpering, sniping o..Show More »f a group of adolescent Irish Valley Girl wannabes? Even the hard-to-understand breathy, little-girl voice of Lara Hutchinson couldn’t damage the grating dialogue further.
Don’t get me wrong. The structure of this book is a beautiful thing. Having all the players trapped in a confined area while the detective weeds through the witnesses and suspects in an unsolved murder case, playing them against each other even as the detective is being played, is a tried and true device and was worth the effort. Fifty percent of the chapters show off Ms French’s well known talent for interpersonal interaction and dialogue, as prickly and unpopular (i.e., won’t play along with the sexual hazing game) female Detective Antoinette Conway with chip on her shoulder, and murder squad aspirant, Detective Stephen Moran are thrown together for one intense day of frustrating interrogation at an exclusive private girls’ school.
For all I know, aping Valley Girl behavior is what Irish school girls are into right now. But in my opinion, it was an unfortunate distraction from what should have been and could have been (if severely edited) an important part of this story—the interaction between the students. I’m sure it will ruin the book for many. Also bogging down the story were a few irrelevant sidetracks. The mystical touches, (the lights, the spinning bottle caps) which seemed to me most likely meant to reflect psychedelic drug experiences, were neither integrated well, nor explained at all, so who really knows what they were about and should have been left out altogether.
I didn’t have any trouble finishing the book, but by the end I was ready to pull out my hair. The use of the irritating dialogue might have been cute in “Clueless”, but it just trivialized French’s considerable talent. I’m hoping she does better on the next one. Totally.