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The Trespasser (2016)

by Tana French

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1,6921117,245 (3.97)111
"Being on the Murder Squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she's there. The rest of her working life is a stream of thankless cases, vicious pranks, and harassment. Antoinette is savagely tough, but she's getting close to the breaking point. Their new case looks like yet another by-the-numbers lovers' quarrel gone bad. Aislinn Murray is blond, pretty, groomed to a shine, and dead in her catalog-perfect living room, next to a table set for a romantic dinner. There's nothing unusual about her-- except that Antoinette's seen her somewhere before. And that her death won't stay in its neat by-numbers box. Other detectives are trying to push Antoinette and Steve into arresting Aislinn's boyfriend, fast. There's a shadowy figure at the end of Antoinette's road. Aislinn's friend is hinting that she knew Aislinn was in danger. And everything they find out about Aislinn takes her further from the glossy, passive doll she seemed to be. Antoinette knows the harassment has turned her paranoid, but she can't tell just how far gone she is. Is this case another step in the campaign to force her off the squad, or are there darker currents flowing beneath its polished surface?"--… (more)

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Sticking with Tana French isn't easy, as it feels like each book could do with a stern editor to pare the books back in one way or another - seems she is such a darling that no one is really in place to temper her yen to expand. But I keep coming back to her, and I've realized why now - her interviews, especially the suspect interviews, are unparalleled in faithfulness to the reality of criminal investigative interviewing. She takes such time to note every subtlety in the room, from what the suspect is exhibiting, what it means, and how the investigators are trying to use it to elicit more information. This book is probably the best she's written on that front, with dozens of opportunities in the mystery of who killed a young woman. Down sides for the book, however, are the actual solve, as it includes such far-fetched notions as to be almost wholly unbelievable. And a largely unlikable main character, who can't see beyond her own nose to what's going on around her. So, the book gets a higher rating for me than others less skilled at the interplay in an interrogation room would.

4 bones!!!! ( )
  blackdogbooks | Sep 20, 2020 |
This features the abrasive Antoinette and the saintly Steve. I enjoyed it for a while, but then Antoinette's paranoia and persecution complex began to get to me. I skimmed the second half: the ending was OK, but I am glad to have reached the end of this series. ( )
  pgchuis | Sep 4, 2020 |
The Trespasser is the 6th book in the Dublin Murder Squad series. It is written from the point of view of Antoinette Conway. Antoinette Conway was introduced in the last book in the series(The secret place) as a tough, no-nonsense character with wicked sarcasm.
She and her partner, Stephen Moran, are handed a case that seems like an easy solve at first. A lovers quarrel gone bad but all the evidence against the main suspect - the boyfriend of the victim is purely circumstantial.

The murder squad is not what Antoinette envisioned when she transferred to the murder squad from missing persons. Dealing with pressure from other detectives to arrest the boyfriend. Plus paranoia as a result of harassment from the murder squad for being the only woman and her mixed ethnicity makes The Trespasser a compelling read.

I love her dynamic with her partner, how they complemented each other perfectly. Like all Tana French's books I've read, it takes a while for me to get into, but when I do I become so immersed. I love the way she builds her characters, all their little quirks and experiences that makes them so likeable. I also love how her books are not just about the mystery itself but about her characters. The books in The Dublin Murder Squad series are so progressively better but I enjoyed The secret place more.

My favourite quotes...

"I need to own this case. I've got beef with this case. I need to shoot it right between the eyes, skin it and stuff it and mount it on my wall, for when my grandkids ask me to tell them stories about way back a million years when I use to be a D."

"If someone rescues you, they own you. Not because you owe them - you can sort that, with enough favours or bottles of booze dressed up in ribbons. They own you because you're not the lead in your story anymore. You're the poor struggling loser/helpless damsel/plucky sidekick/ who was saved from danger/dishonour/humiliation by the brilliant brave compassionate hero/heroine, and they get to decide which, because you're not the one running this story, not any more." ( )
  damivik | Aug 16, 2020 |
I loved this one. Loved it, loved it. So many call-backs to the previous books. That the one person I hadn't really thought about (O'Kelly, the gaffer for the detectives) was the real guiding force in this one. Antoinette and Stephen were fabulous. All the ugly came out in this one and I think has made them stronger partners. I cannot wait for the next book in this series.

"The Trespasser" follows Antoinette Conway. We were introduced to her in "The Secret Place". It's been 8 months since the events in that book. She is now partnered with Stephen Moran (see "Faithful Place and "The Secret Place") and feels ready to make a change. She was focused on getting on the Murder Squad, but it's not what she thought it would be. She's the subject of jokes, put-downs, someone keeps messing with her and her cases, and she feels like the gaffer (O'Kelly) hates her too since he isn't putting a stop to things. She starts thinking she should put in her papers and go work for a friend at a private security firm. O'Kelly comes in and throws her and Steve (I love that Antoinette does not call him Stephen) what looks like a slam dunk domestic. A woman (Aislinn Murray) is found murdered and though an anonymous call called it in, everyone assumes her boyfriend/husband/etc. killed her. However, things look weird on the scene, and Conway and Moran start thinking that something more sinister is at play here. When Conway and Moran get one of the senior detectives assigned to their case to help them with their witness skills (Breslin) the two of them start to wonder if he could be part of some mysterious cabal that killed Aislinn.

There's a lot going on in this book. Conway we find was raised by a single mother who wouldn't tell her who her real father is. Due to her mother's constant lies about things it caused Conway to run head first into being a police officer. We know that she's really good at her job and she likes partnering with Moran. However, she's getting worn down everyday by fighting with the other detectives in the squad. Initially, Moran thinks it may be a good thing to have Breslin along since maybe Conway can practice being nice (yeah that made me laugh too). When the two of them start to think that Breslin may have something to do with Aislin's murder it becomes interesting to read the tension between Conway and Breslin along with Moran and Breslin. The whole time reading most of this book I felt tense that something terrible could happen to Conway and Moran.

I also loved that French went back to having a woman being the POV for one of the Dublin Murder Squad books (I like to pretend "The Likeness" didn't happen) and that she was a WOC. Conway is tough and abrasive at times, but we get little peeks into her throughout this book. She does wonder about her father, but has moved past it. She owns her own home, but did most of the work herself and likes it. She loves to run and that seems to settle her. Doesn't cook and doesn't see the point of it. Her and Moran compliment each other, but even Conway is realizing that if things don't change soon, she's going to have to quit, cause even Moran can't keep a lid on her temper for very long.

Conway's thoughts on the victim were interesting to read/hear. She has some contempt towards Aislin for her home, for her inability to let go of her past and move on from it, and even from her harebrained ideas. I think the contempt was there due to her feeling frustrated with her for not being as strong as Conway was in similar circumstances.

The secondary characters were good in this one. Since the first book, I don't think I had a clear idea who is on the squad, Conway does a great job talking about each detective. There is even some reference to former detectives (Scorcher) too.

The writing was so good. I could follow everything and loved where the book went and you get to who killed Aislin and why.

The ending was fantastic. I think if you wanted to end the series here you could. Because things come to an end in a way that I had not thought of at all and you have Conway and Moran realizing things that they thought were true were false. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
Had a somewhat difficult time getting through the middle 3rd of the book. But it's definitely another winner for French. I'd love if they made this series into a Netflix show. I love me some British procedurals to binge watch on Netflix. ( )
  amandanan | Jun 6, 2020 |
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For Oonagh
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My ma used to tell me stories about my da.
Chapter 1: The case comes in, or anyway it comes in to us, on a frozen dawn in the kind of closed-down January that makes you think the sun's never going to drag itself back above the horizon.
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Where I'm seeing a dead end, he's seeing a brilliant new twist to his amazing story. I wish I could take my holidays inside Steve's head.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"Being on the Murder Squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she's there. The rest of her working life is a stream of thankless cases, vicious pranks, and harassment. Antoinette is savagely tough, but she's getting close to the breaking point. Their new case looks like yet another by-the-numbers lovers' quarrel gone bad. Aislinn Murray is blond, pretty, groomed to a shine, and dead in her catalog-perfect living room, next to a table set for a romantic dinner. There's nothing unusual about her-- except that Antoinette's seen her somewhere before. And that her death won't stay in its neat by-numbers box. Other detectives are trying to push Antoinette and Steve into arresting Aislinn's boyfriend, fast. There's a shadowy figure at the end of Antoinette's road. Aislinn's friend is hinting that she knew Aislinn was in danger. And everything they find out about Aislinn takes her further from the glossy, passive doll she seemed to be. Antoinette knows the harassment has turned her paranoid, but she can't tell just how far gone she is. Is this case another step in the campaign to force her off the squad, or are there darker currents flowing beneath its polished surface?"--

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There's the murder squad you set your sights on, back at the beginning of your career: the one where you spend your day playing knife-edge mind-games with psychopathic geniuses, knowing that one wrong blink could mean the difference between victory or another dead body.

And there's the one you actually work on, when you're the squad pariah. The night shifts. The vicious jabs and the pranks that go too far. Processing scumbags and matching witness statements, sifting the dregs for the case that might get you closer to where you want to be.

Tonight's case isn't it. Uniforms call it in as a slam-dunk domestic. except when Conway takes a good look at the victim's face, she realises she's seen her somewhere before. And suddenly the conviction that there's a different answer takes her breath away.

THIS IS THE CASE SHE IMAGINED. PRECISION-CUT AND SAVAGE, LITHE AND MOMENTOUS

BUT YOU CAN BEAT ONE KILLER. BEATING YOUR OWN SQUAD IS A WHOLE OTHER THING.
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