The Trespasser by Tana French

As is the case with all her books, the voice and sense of place in her latest novel of the Dublin Murder Squad are superb. Really, I can't think of anyone in the mystery genre these days whose novels have as compelling a voice as her protagonists do. I could sympathize with her protagonist, a smart women who generates resentment because she refuses to placate men who resent her because of her smarts. I have been there. But as a wise editor told me once, at some point you have to dial back the anger because it starts interfering with the trajectory of the novel. And although I believe that her increasing paranoia that she's being sabotaged by her colleagues is an important plot point or red herring, take your pick, what it does ultimately is to slow down the pacing of the novel. I have felt that all of French's novels suffer from poor editing. ALL of them could have been cut by anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 words, and this novel has the same problem. It starts out like gangbusters and then toward the end we're skimming to get to the denouement.

That said, as much as I applauded the voice and dialogue of this book, there is also the other French "tic," which is the surprise aha of the murderer. This didn't work for me, and it didn't work for me because the murder victim's motivations were unbelievable, frankly. I didn't buy any of that backstory, and although there is an important point made about women and the issue of appearance, it doesn't work in the story. So for me, the ending fell flat.

Get this woman a competent editor. As I wrote in my review of Broken Harbor, I find myself in the same place I was a year ago: hoping that her next novel will be that perfect book that I know she can write.



Debris and Detritus (available in trade paperback and ebook formats).

Pen and Prejudice (available in trade paperback and ebook formats).

Roux Morgue (available in hard cover, trade paperback, audio, and ebook formats)

Beat Until Stiff (available in trade paperback, audio, and ebook formats)

Poisoned Pen Press

Mystery Writers of America

Sisters in Crime Northern California Chapter

Independent American Booksellers Association