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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

Overall rating

4.4 out of 5
5 Stars
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  • An engrossing standalone mystery

    The Searcher is quite different from Tana French's more action-packed Dublin Murder Squad series. It's more of a slow-burn psychological drama/mystery, and is at least as much character- as plot-based. I really enjoyed reading it. Retired Chicago detective Calvin (Cal) Hooper has bought a run-down rural property near the (fictional) village of Ardnakelty in western Eire (Ireland), and is in the process of restoring it to a habitable state. He has begun to make acquaintance with several of the local farmers, and often enjoys a drink at the local public house. Ever the detective, Cal realises that someone's hanging around his property and covertly observing him, and one day he manages to flush out local 13-year-old, Trey Reddy, and slowly begins to gain the child's trust. It transpires that Trey's older brother, Brendan, disappeared without trace several months previously, and Trey is desperate for Cal's help in trying to find out what's happened to him. Has he simply left his poverty-stricken family behind, to seek work in Dublin or England, or has something more sinister befallen him? Reluctant at first, Cal is gradually dragged into the search for Brendan, despite frequent warnings from friends and strangers, some violent, to leave the matter alone. Tana French's writing evokes the beauty of the natural landscape of rural Ireland, as well as the day-to-day struggles faced by many who live there. The characters of Cal and Trey are well-developed and multi-faceted and there's a strong and varied cast of supporting characters. Underpinning the unfolding drama is Cal's sense of isolation and not knowing who to trust, as a newcomer to a place where everyone knows everyone else's business, often for generations back. Enmities and alliances run deep and are not always evident on the surface. I found the developing understanding between Cal and Trey, who have both become prickly "loners" for their own reasons, fascinating and heart-warming. The Searcher is an engrossing and beguiling novel, and well worth the read for those who enjoy a more literary style of character-driven crime drama or mystery. My thanks to the author, publisher Penguin UK and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this title.

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  • Narrow focus

    I’ve always loved Tana French and pre ordered this book. Once I started reading it was so full of promise, beautiful background and interesting characters but then nothing happened, I’m so disappointed.

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  • So Captivating

    This, my first novel by Tana French, was compelling and immersive. Very much a character-driven story, I soon found myself embroiled in this slow-burn tale. In this standalone story, set in a fictional West Ireland small town, Ardnakelty, the main character, Detective Cal Hooper has recently retired. He has bought a decaying cottage that he plans to spend a considerable amount of time renovating, whilst he tries to find some peace within himself having become disillusioned and burned out from his years with Chicago Police Department. But when a local boy, thirteen-year-old Trey asks him to help with a problem - his missing brother, Brendan - Cal's old instincts return... I really enjoyed this mystery from Tana French. Her fluid, smooth prose made it an easy book to lose myself in. The intelligent, multilayered storyline was gripping and held my interest from first page to last. I loved the strong bond between Cal and Trey as they worked together and the author's narrative brought out the nature of small town living, providing a general claustrophobic feel. Tana French's attention to detail was impressive and the striking, atmospheric location was superbly portrayed, adding to the sinister foreboding that shrouded the village. The Searcher is a disquieting, complex tale of mystery, secrets, ethics, friendships and justice that I'm very happy to have read. I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from Penguin Viking via NetGalley and this review is my unbiased opinion.

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  • Tana French standalone

    A former Chicago policeman moves to Ireland for a fresh start and to renovate an old cottage. Happy to be left to himself, his life is upturned when a teenage boy requests his help to find his brother. A whimsical stand-alone novel, with great characters and the surprising happenings of a quiet Irish village. Not the usual hard crime type from Tana French the queen of suspense, but a most enjoyable read with a four-star rating.

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  • Satisfying

    A well-written book with very likable characters who grow in stature the further you read. A story of a lonely man moving to a small village on the other side of the world where he meets trouble.

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