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The Trespasser by Tana French
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The Trespasser (2016)

by Tana French

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Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
Confession-time, much as I genuinely enjoyed [The Trespasser] I skimmed about fifty pages somewhere towards the end, after the big reveal. I read just closely enough to confirm that I wasn't missing any surprises, just the detailed working out of how Conway and Moran (the two detectives on this murder case) were going to work what to do about what they have uncovered. (The last thirty or so pages I read at a regular pace.) Running alongside the whodunit plot is the issue of loyalties, who you can trust (if you can trust anybody at all) applying to squad partners, to the Murder Squad as a whole, to friends and family, and to marriage vows. The plot: A young woman is found dead, it looks like a domestic, Moran and Conway at the end of their night shift, are assigned the case, but even from the start, there is something peculiar about it: the squad captain assigns it to them directly as he comes on shift and they are within minutes of going off it. Furthermore he sics Breslin on them, a smooth operator that neither of them care for although he is not one of those Conway, the only woman (and clearly not pure Irish) suspects of trying to get her off the squad altogether. They know something is UP but they can't figure it out at all and get to work. A sub-theme is how we make up stories all the time, the murder squad especially depends on creating scenarios from whatever information they glean off of witnesses and evidence. The hard part is not to get too enamored of your story or to be too unimaginative altogether and, circling back to the other theme, who you can trust. It's beautifully constructed and complex emotionally. I will say though that I wearied of Conway's paranoia. The book could have been fifty pages shorter if all those extra sentences and comments had been edited. Still, it is a **** star read, although if we had 3 and 3/4 I'd be tempted to use it. ( )
  sibyx | May 20, 2017 |
Bravo! This was my first time reading Tana French, so I was optimistic about the outcome. I enjoy books set in Ireland, and they can be rare. This book entices you into the narrative with rich characters and a strong sense of place. As I entertain overly positive thoughts about all-things-Irish, I was pleasantly disabused of these notions by the author...the Garda is as conflicted by pettiness as are organizations everywhere, and those who are not part of the mainstream are at risk of being destroyed. The strong female character was inspiring, as well as the author's ability to bring doubt Into the reader's mind about who the detective's real allies were...good job.

The mystery itself was cleverly cast, and kept one guessing for quite some time, and the denouement with the chief was especially well done.

I will be reading more by this author, and am looking forward to it. ( )
  1greenprof | May 9, 2017 |
I listened to this on audio. It took a little while to get into the book because I had to get accustomed to the thick Irish accent of the reader. Once I got my stride, the story took off and I realized that the reader was adding to my enjoyment of this book. Detective Antoinette Conway and her partner Stephen Moran are assigned to investigate the murder of a young woman in her apartment. Suspicion immediately falls on her date for the evening, Rory Fallon. The senior detective assigned to "help" Conway and Moran on this domestic abuse case thinks they should wrap up this case in a day. Conway and Moran think there's more going on here than just a normal domestic. There is a lot going on in this story that takes us down a lot of blind alleys. We learn the background of the victim, Aislinn Murray as well as the background story on Detective Conway. This is the second Tana French novel that I've listened to, she writes an excellent police procedural and gets the reader deeply involved in finding out the truth. ( )
  Dianekeenoy | Apr 30, 2017 |
Tana French is known for smart police procedurals using an ensemble of detectives working in Dublin rather than a single hero as most of her contemporaries do. She fills her stories with abundant insider information and human touches on police routines, relying on detail and deduction over pyrotechnics. Although hers are definitely crime novels, they never fail to have broader themes. In THE TRESPASSER, French explores father-daughter relationships, feminism, misogyny, and police corruption.

Both narrator and victim have experienced childhood abandonment by their fathers and this plays important roles in their behavior and the crime. In the case of Detective Antoinette Conway this manifests as intelligence and striving in the face of harassment and rejection. While Aislinn Murray displays a manic need for revenge.

Conway is a minority woman who has chosen to work in a traditionally male occupation. She responds to her outsider and loner status by being tough, volatile, and angry. Her ironic sense of humor and unfailing competence at both listening and questioning give her a distinctive and compelling voice.

The “vic” is Aislinn Murray, a pretty young receptionist who was not always so. Conway remembers her from a previous stint in missing persons when Aislinn presented in search of her missing father. Her body was found in her Stoneybatter flat (interesting choice of name, considering the cause of death) with her skull bashed in. The prime suspect is her new boyfriend, Rory Fallon. Rory is a shy bookshop owner, who seems to have a touch of OCD. Detective Breslin, a seasoned cop tasked with keeping an eye on Conway and her partner Moran, wants nothing more than a “quick solve.” So he plays a host of mind games designed to get the rookies to arrest Rory. But Conway and Moran see too many inconsistencies to buy into Breslin’s game (e.g., a largely circumstantial case against Rory, the unreliability of Aislinn’s best friend, lingering doubts that the young detectives were assigned the case just to get it cleared quickly, and the professional way that the crime scene was wiped, including turning off the cooker).

French manages to send the duo down a few blind alleys in solving this one. A putative mobster boyfriend, a dark figure stalking Conway’s flat, Aislinn’s father’s missing person file, a neighbor’s report of a strange figure leaping the wall behind Aislinn’s flat, and Breslin’s curiously elegant lifestyle work admirably to keep one guessing.

All of French’s hallmarks are present in THE TRESPASSER giving it a strong sense of place and reality that is often lacking in many crime thrillers. These include elements of day-to-day detective work, interrogational tricks, use of both cop and Irish jargon, dark humor, petty jealousies including obstructionism and backbiting, camaraderie like calling in favors from colleagues, and the use of striving junior detectives for mindless work like timing how long it takes for someone to go from a nearby grocery store to the crime scene at both leisurely and quick paces. ( )
  ozzer | Apr 19, 2017 |
This was by no means a disappointment generally, but it did lack a certain frisson of the uncanny, usually associated with semi-magical childhood memories, that I've come to look for from French. There's a bit of the potential for that sort of thing here--in the victim's and the protagonist's backstory--but French pretty explicitly and pretty soundly rejects going there. Perhaps this represents a transition away from French's sentimental attachment to the Ireland of the last century (poor, crowded yet depopulated, dysfunctional, narrow-minded, communal). From a rational standpoint perhaps reason to rejoice, but it does remove a cool facet from her work. I was hoping that she'd explore the attractions and horrors of that old Ireland a bit less sentimentally rather than out and out reject it and move on, which seems to be the drift here. Maybe later?

But there are few popular novelists worth talking about in these sorts of terms. That gives you a sense of the attractions of her writing. ( )
  ehines | Apr 16, 2017 |
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Epigraph
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For Oonagh
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Prologue:
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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Book description
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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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670026336, Hardcover)

A brilliant new novel from the New York Times bestselling author, whom Gillian Flynn calls "mesmerizing" and Stephen King calls "incandescent."
 

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 catalogue-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?

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 12 Apr 2016 09:06:33 -0400)

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