This is the the sixth book in Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad Thriller/Mystery series.
Antoinette Conway, the tough, abrasive detective from The Secret Place, is still on the Murder squad, but only just. She’s partnered up with Stephen Moran now, and that’s going well – but the rest of her working life isn’t. Antoinette doesn’t play well with others, and there’s a vicious running campaign in the squad to get rid of her. She and Stephen pull a case that at first looks like a slam-dunk lovers’ tiff, but gradually they realise there’s more going on: someone on their own squad is trying to push them towards the obvious solution, away from nagging questions. They have to work out whether this is just an escalation in the drive to get rid of her – or whether there’s something deeper and darker going on.
Wow. What an interesting read. Tana French just gets better with each book in this series that she writes. Each of the Murder squad mysteries is a bit different. Different detectives from Murder Squad are featured in each novel. And all of the murders seem to have a connection in some way to the detectives assigned to the case. We get to see how the mysteries change and affect the detectives in a much more personal way than in most mystery novels. The Trespasser is no different. And that is one reason I keep reading the stories. In this novel Antoinette, and her partner Stephen, don’t seem to have a personal connection to this murder. At first. This story is an entry into the thriller genre starring women who are antiheros. Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train are two that have really popularized that genre in the last 10 years or so. It’s not surprising that Tana French has written her own version of this type of novel.
Antoinette, the main character, is not a comfortable or likeable. She is brash, rough, and no-nonsense. There is no place setting in the novel where she feels comfortable. Not at work, not while searching for clues, and not in her own skin. She is never comfortable with the theories and ideas she has about this case. Additionally, she is not a kind or particularly empathetic to the witnesses she interviews for this case she doesn’t have much patience. With another detective she does use the “Cool Girl” persona to try and connect with witnesses. (If you’ve read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn you know exactly what that means.) Does she want to solve the murder of Aislinn Murray and give her the justice she deserves? Yes, and this does make her a good detective. She does care. Does she feel a connection to Aislinn? Yes, and this also makes her uncomfortable, though she doesn’t want to admit it. Truthfully, her discomfort in almost every situation in the novel is one of the reasons I am interested in this story. And, in the end, her discomfort is addressed and resolved.
The pacing of the story is good. It keeps the reader off center. The subplot dovetails nicely into the main plot. While some might argue too neatly, I wouldn’t. Since this is written in the first person it’s easy to sympathize with Antoinette’s struggle to find the murder. And I really am still a bit surprised by the reveal. Is it successful entry into this genre of thrillers? Yes, it seems to me that it is. It seems to be an answer to Gillian Flynn’s and Paula Hawkins’ novels. French seems to be saying this is what happens when you concoct a mad scheme; you may not be successful. And I find that really interesting. Is it a perfect novel? No. Would I recommend it to others? Yes! Especially if you are a fan of the female antihero thrillers.
What do you think of Tana French’s The Trespassers? Will you read it or have you read it? What do you think? Have you read any other “Girl” thrillers? Let me know in the comments below.