Thursday, March 25, 2021

'The Searcher' by Tana French

25 March 2021

After thoroughly enjoying Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad novels (all 6 books reviewed here between May 2016 and April 2018) I was a bit disappointed by her first completely self-contained novel ‘The Wych Elm’ (reviewed here in April 2020). The new Tana French novel ‘The Searcher’ (which I have been reading as an unabridged audio book, narrated by Roger Clark) is another stand-alone story, but with quite a different feel. A former Chicago PD detective has settled in a small rural community in the West of Ireland where he is renovating an old cottage. This is a slow, gentle tale as Cal starts to get to know his neighbours and adjusts to the Irish way of life. But surely a novelist known for her crime stories hasn’t made her protagonist a detective unless there is going to be a mystery to solve? Compared to ‘The Wych Elm’, ‘The Searcher’ is much less dramatic – and much better for it. The inevitable crime investigation reveals itself gradually and naturally as Cal is reluctantly drawn into the hunt for a missing person. As always, Tana French writes beautifully and conjures up the place and its characters very believably. ‘The Searcher’ is crime fiction but, as its title hints, this is really an Irish Western.



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