Book Review: Faithful Place by Tana French – read-along wrap-up

Title: Faithful Place
Author: Tana French
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Viking
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from my personal library
First line: In all your life, only a few moments matter.

It has been twenty-two years since Frank left his childhood neighborhood, Faithful Place. Twenty-two years since the night he was supposed to escape Ireland for England and a new life with Rosie Daly, his true love. Twenty-two years since Rosie didn’t show up, and Frank left home for good. He has made a name for himself in the Undercover Unit of the Dublin police force, has a seven-year-old daughter that he adores, and is recovering from the divorce from Holly’s mom. He has absolutely no intention of returning to Faithful Place and becoming a part of his more-than-dysfunctional family’s crisis-filled existence ever again, until he receives a frantic phone call from his younger sister Jackie, the one sibling he has maintained contact with. Rosie Daly’s suitcase has been found in an abandoned tenement set for demolition, and now Frank is left wondering – what happened to Rosie that night? Did she go off without him, as he has always believed – or did she never make it out of Faithful Place?

Tana French is a genius when it comes to writing a thriller that succeeds as both a mystery and as well-crafted literature. She has now written three books in her Dublin Murder Squad series. Each one has a different main character and is written in first person, and yet each one is unique. Frank’s voice is definitely his own, and nothing like Ryan’s or Cassie’s from the first two books. I love Frank. I have read some reviews from people who didn’t like this one as much as the others, and a lot of that seems to center around not liking Frank’s character, but I found him complicated and difficult and likable, completely believable as the guy from the wrong side of the tracks who became a cop.

Frank’s family is quite a cast of characters. His parents have the marriage from hell: alcoholic husband who beats his wife and kids, wife who won’t stand up to him but takes it out verbally on the kids. His siblings are mostly products of this environment, although Kevin and Jackie, the two youngest, seem to have been spared the worst, mostly due to the diligence of the oldest two, Shay and Carmel. They are still smack in the middle of family life, protecting their mom from their dad’s drunken rages and helping their now disabled father with tasks he is no longer able to perform.

As Frank is thrown back into the middle of this craziness, he begins to unravel. In spite of the family being vocal – loudly vocal – about just about everything, there are still some secrets, and those secrets have consequences.

Unlike the first two of French’s books that I read, with this one I had a hunch who the murderer was from close to the beginning of the book, a hunch that proved to be correct. This didn’t keep me from thoroughly enjoying this book, though – and I tore my way through it, only stopping to write up my posts for each section before continuing on and finishing long before the end of the month. Tana French’s name now resides securely on my list of authors whose work I will always read.

That wraps up our read-along – thanks so much to all of you reading along with me – you added to my enjoyment of the book immensely. If you write a wrap-up post or review of Faithful Place, please add your link below. And don’t forget to stay tuned – we’ll be reading Brooklyn by Colm Toibin in September.

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8 Responses to Book Review: Faithful Place by Tana French – read-along wrap-up

  1. Misha Mathew says:

    Thank you so much for hosting the read-along (which was my first)! I agree with your thoughts. Tana French is one of the best thriller writers I have read. Like you, I guessed the murderer long before the end but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the book. Tana French’s books are so much more complex than the traditional whodunnits.
    I still love her previous books more, but Faithful Place is still the best book I’ve read this year, till now.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Misha – I’m glad you enjoyed it as much as I did! I love the fact that her books stand up as thrillers, but have that added bonus of being so beautifully written.

  2. irene says:

    thank you for hosting this read along, I’ll be looking forward to reading the September one as well.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Irene – you’re welcome! I’m really glad you were able to join us – and that you’re planning to read-along in September, too. :)

  3. S. Krishna
    Twitter: skrishna
    says:

    I had the same hunch, and that actually kept me from liking this one as much as the other two. Still, French is an amazing author. I’m glad you enjoyed this one!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Swapna – usually it bothers me when I figure out the mystery before the end, but with this one I didn’t – I think cause the characters kept me hooked.

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