"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 catalog-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?"--
Sophisticated, breathlessly paced, and absolutely riveting!
Antoinette Conway and her partner Steve Moran are tossed a case involving a young woman named Aislinn, whose body was found after a punch to the face caused her to fall and hit her head, killing her.
Initially believing they’ve been assigned yet another routine case, they soon find themselves burdened with another, more seasoned detective, called in to help them work the case.
If that weren’t frustrating enough, they are also hounded by dirty journalist who will stop at nothing to get the lowdown on their case.
As the pair begin to investigate, Aislinn’s boyfriend, Rory, soon becomes their prime suspect. However, Conway and Moran have a few alternate theories, they are batting around and want to hold off on arresting ‘lover boy’, to see what falls to earth after they ‘shake a few trees.’
However, the murder squad seems to be in an all fired hurry to lock Rory up and throw away the key, which raises Conway’s suspicions, but then again, she is normally suspicious and paranoid, due to the chronic harassment she is subjected to.
The only way to survive this will be to get the case solved and find out why the brass is so keen on pinning the murder on Rory, but with Rory falling right into their hands, and the powers that be riding their tale and playing psychological games, it will take all the interrogating skills Conway has in her whole body to uncover the truth.
When I read ‘In the Woods’ I became an instant fan of Tana French. I had never encountered a crime novel written with such a profound literary prose. From that point on, I couldn’t wait for the next book in the series to come out. Every single one has been amazing, except maybe for ‘The Secret Place’, which ironically, also features Conway and Moran. While, still a very solid novel, it didn’t have that same pull as previous installments and I admit I had a sliver of concern about that, but this latest installment in the Dublin Murder Squad series immediately erased all those doubts.
The plot is tightly woven and tense, with some of the best interrogation scenes I’ve encountered in crime fiction. I think the partnership between Conway and Moran is interesting and they seem to have a certain uneasy chemistry between them, that adds an element of tension and sizzle to the story.
" We sit there, drinking, while the stuff we should probably be saying out loud get itself done in the silence."
Conway’s internal monologues are dark and edgy, the dialogue is razor sharp, as Conway’s paranoia literally leaps off the page, but she is also darkly humorous at times, and I came away with a few chuckles and some terrific phrases and colorful metaphors to try out.
" It was about the same thing as everything else humans have done to to each other since before history began: power. It was about deciding who would be the alpha dogs and who would be at the bottom of the pile."
The pacing is one of the biggest assets in this novel, which was little longer than most thrillers, but trust me, that is a good thing! The way French baited me in, time and again, toyed with my mind, slowly luring me in, until I eventually I finally took the bait – hook, line and sinker, was like a cat and mouse game between author and reader.
The characters are so well drawn, and are given ample time to flourish, to think things out, as the case is worked like a true procedural with lots of interviews and leg work, plus the added pressure of abnormal office politics, which we all know plays a big part in police work, with everyone jockeying for position or trying to cover their own butt.
I absolutely loved this book and rank it right up there with the first novel, which has remained my personal favorite. I love gritty, hard as nails characters and deep, twisty plots, with a climactic ending in which the irony is just divine. Simply amazing!!
After reading a Tana French novel I always feel like I’ve ingested a highly addictive drug because I immediately begin to feel withdrawal symptoms. French does not chuck out novels at the speed of light and sound, so the wait times in between releases can feel like an eternity, so be sure to enjoy and slowly savor every last drop of this novel… I know I did!!
Her newest book is The Trespasser - the 6th entry in her Dublin Murder Squad series. It too is a fantastic read, better than The Secret Place in my opinion.
Detective Antoinette Conway set the Murder Squad as her goal when she joined the Dublin police force. She's made it there - but it's not what she had hoped. She's the 'odd man out' and by default so is her partner Stephen Moran. The rest of the squad seems to be hell bent on driving her out of the unit. Conway and Moran's cases are mostly domestics and their hope is for something bigger, one to make their mark.
They're sent to a death - at first glance it looks like another domestic. But when the higher ups send along another Detective to 'help' them, Conway wonders why. And when the pressure mounts to solve the case quickly, Conway digs in her heels.
I love Conway as a character - she's unbelievably tough, tenacious, fearless and smart. But this unrelenting harassment is beginning to chip away at her - there are some chinks in her armour. Moran is just as well drawn - there is more to him that what he presents to the world. He was the narrator in The Secret Place, so he was a character I already knew and liked. The dynamic between the two is evolving, unpredictable and addicting to follow.
The plotting is simply unbelievable - intricate and evolving as the book progresses. At no time did I ever think I could predict where things were going to go. Instead, I felt like I was there with Conway and Moran as they try to puzzle out the latest lead or brainstorm a theory. The procedural details ring very true. What's not as clear are the undercurrents and the unspoken. Everyone lies. Everyone has their own agenda. Who can Conway and Moran trust?
French's settings and descriptions are rich and detailed. I felt like I was walking the cold, damp streets with an eye on the alleyways. French makes her home in Dublin and that personal knowledge enhances time and place.
Dark and gritty, this is mystery writing at it's best. I'm really looking forward to the next in this series - and who will be the narrator. I'm invested in French's characters and intrigued by the cases she imagines. This series is definitely recommended!
You are in for a real treat. "The Trespassers" (T) is excellent, but then so are French's other five Dublin Murder Squad novels. The quality of her books is incredibly even; she never disappoints. And there's a new one every two years (Hello, Gillian, where are you?). Reviewers gush over her books; many write that she will be the author who will transcend the snobbish disregard of crime fiction by the more prestigious literary prize awarders.
French's novels are long - "The Trespasser" comes in at 451 pages. Her stories are to be savoured.....sipped if you will, not gulped. An interrogation of a suspect may go on and on and on, but you will enjoy every minute, because you know a "gotcha" is coming, a trap is being set. Along the way, you pause and reflect, "wow, I wouldn't have thought of that".
In reading T, I wanted to tap lead cop Antoinette Conway on the shoulder and whisper, "Hey, how about talking with Lori again? You know she was holding back." Yes, Conway knows, and she's waiting for the right moment, and slowly amping up the tension, and the second interrogation is finally set and you know you are going to witness a tennis final, a long one. It starts slowly.....
I mentioned that T is the 6th Murder Squad book, so you might be thinking it's a series. Well, yes and no, perhaps more "no". The characters change from book to book, so there is no series-long lead character. There may be overlap of one character from a book to the next one but then the role in one of those books would have been less significant. So, also a great stand-alone novel.
French books have layers. So while T concerns the death of a young woman in her flat, it is also about Antoinette's acceptance in her squad room. Her "mates" are not exactly supportive of the only female on the squad. Stealing things off her desk top, peeing on some of her possessions, planting negative comments in the press, having her pulled over for suspected drunken driving..."locker room stuff" to paraphrase a common defense used in the moment(October, 2016) on the US political scene. In the final chapters, Conway has to make a lot of "fork-in-the-road" decisions. What she decides on each brings its own set of tensions and debating points.
Excellent book, highly recommended. Waiting for #7, 2018(sigh).
The Trespasser gives us a glimpse into the life of Antoinette Conway, who we met in The Secret Place (book 5). She and her partner, Stephen Moran, are assigned to a murder case at the end of a long shift. They find Aislinn, a lovely young woman, murdered in her home. Rory, a boyfriend, is an obvious suspect, but they have a few other theories to follow. Throughout the investigation Conway has to fight against the prejudice of her own coworkers and her own doubts about herself."
I tried to go slow and savor the story, but I loved every second of it. The atmosphere she creates is palpable and the anxious feeling builds as we get closer to the truth. She writes the best scenes I’ve ever read of detectives interviewing their suspects.
BOTTOM LINE: I’ve yet to be disappointed by French’s work. I liked this one ever more than her last. She gets inside the mind of her characters so completely that it’s easy to forget that she switches her main character in every book!
“No one needs a relationship. What you need is the basic cop-on to figure that out, in the face of all the media bullshit screaming that you're nothing on your own and you're a dangerous freak if you disagree. The truth is, if you don't exist without someone else, you don't exist at all. And that doesn't just go for romance. I love my ma, I love my friends, I love the bones of them. If any of them wanted me to donate a kidney or crack a few heads, I'd do it, no questions asked. And if they all waved goodbye and walked out of my life tomorrow, I'd still be the same person I am today.
It was contemporary police procedural, with a wonderfully real Irish setting; it was a compelling character study, written with real insight and understanding; it was a perceptive state of the nation novel …
That book was ‘Into The Woods’ by Tana French.
It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it was so very, very promising.
I had to buy a copy to keep, and I have loved watching the author do that same thing in so many different ways in the books that followed.
There have been six books to date; linked, but not quite in the way series are usually linked. Each book is centered around a member of the Dublin Murder Squad, who has usually appeared in an earlier book before becoming the protagonist of their own story. A story that will usually draw out their own story as well as the part they have to play in the investigation of a crime.
It is as if the author was walking among them, with a perfect understanding who to draw forward and who steer towards the shadows.
This time she makes the simplest of switches and it is wonderfully effective.
The two detectives at the centre of this story are the two who were at the centre of the last story. Then, Steve Moran, who was angling for a place on the murder squad, and Antoinette Conway, who already had her place there, had met and were working together for the first time; now nearly a year has passed and they are professional partners.
Then he was at the centre of the story; now she is. That may sound like a small change – and maybe it was- but it allowed me a much greater understanding of each of them. Antoinette Conway had seemed so cynical, and now I began to understand why. Steve Moran got on with people, he had an easy charm; but I began to think that maybe he sometimes used that, calculating the effect it might have. A different kind of cynicism.
They were left on the fringes of the squad, dealing with the dull routine work. Because Conway had never been accepted, and because Moran had been partnered with her.
The case that fell to them at the end of a shift seemed routine, but they were both pleased to have a case of their own to work.
Aislinn Murray, an attractive young woman, was found dead in her own home on a Saturday night. Her table had been set for a romantic dinner for two, but that dinner would never leave the kitchen. She had been struck in the face and she had fallen and hit her head on the fireplace. There was no sign of forced entry, no sign that she had been taken by surprise. And so it seemed that her dinner guest had killed her – maybe deliberately, maybe accidentally – and fled the scene. All they had to do was find him.
Detective Bresslin, who had been assigned to oversee their work, wanted them to do just that and close the case as quickly as possible, so that they could all get on with other things.
When Conway and Moran they meet Aislinn’s friend Lucy they realise that the case may not be as simple as that, and that there would be much more to Aislinn’s story than anyone had realised. Conway was sure that she had met her before ….
The story follows every detail of what happens, and I was fascinated. I had ideas, but those ideas and my feelings about different characters shifted as new facts came to light. I really wasn’t sure where this was going to go, how the story was going to play out until the very end.
This is a big book for the story it holds, and I can understand why some people wouldn’t like it, but there are many reasons what I did.
Antoinette Conway’s narrative voice is perfectly realised, and she became a very real, very complex woman. She could be infuriating and I couldn’t always agree with the things she said and did; but I understood that she had her reasons and I understood what made her the person she was.
She carried me through the story.
This case changed her, and changed things for her, as is often the way with Tana French’s lead characters.
Every character who passed through this story was well drawn. The dialogue, the settings, the atmosphere – every element in this book worked, and that allowed the story to live and breathe.
I loved the way that themes were repeated through the stories of the detective and the victim. Each of those stories held some improbabilities, but they were credible and they said much about the issue and the choices that young women can face in the world today.
I’m avoiding details, because I don’t want to spoil the story, and because it is so much a whole that it is difficult to pull things out and have them make sense on their own.
The book works so well, as a police procedural and as a human drama; and it says what it has to say about the world very well indeed.
The murder itself was a tricky one to solve. With Rory presented so neatly on a plate it isn’t hard to dismiss him and try for the real culprit. The ending, i won’t give it away, was brilliant though. The way O’Kelly handled it was perfect and done in only a way someone with that level of experience could have done it. Maybe French will go back in time and show us how he got to be the Gaffer.
Oh and the narrator, Hilda Fay, was amazing! Tremendous job portraying all the characters and accents.
In addition to the investigation, Antoinette is dealing with harassment from the other members of the squad. Are they simply trying to get rid of her or are there darker forces at work?
With the narrative focused on the characters and the dynamics of the Murder Squad, the pace was sluggish at times. And while Antoinette had good reason to be grumpy, she was not particularly likeable and her paranoia ultimately grates on the reader, making it difficult to empathize with her situation. Readers may be tempted to mutter “Grow up” to the detectives. Ultimately, this tale is a disappointment.
This story has more bumps and dings than an automobile in a crash. Things look one way and then another. The more evidence they find the more complicated they get. The interrogation scenes are masterfully done. This is an combination of a character driven novel and a police procedural. Not easy to do, may account for the length of the book, but French does these type of things very well.
It is said patience is a virtue, and one needs patience here for sure because the pacing is very slow. The depth of the portrayals also seemed to me to alter the suspense value, but the excellent police procedural makes up for this, at least for me. Exciting story, not so much, but I found it fulfilling nonetheless. Loved how it all came together in the end, in a very plausible and reasonable way. Need to go back and read the one I miss but as always look forward to French's next.
ARC from publisher.
That said, man ... I keep fearing the time I pick up a Tana French book and she's lost her touch. You know? The mystery, the suspense, just aren't happening. I don't click with the characters, whether to want to pal with them or punch them. The time when within a few pages I'm all "duh" and can move on.
Thankfully, that has yet to happen. In fact, Ms. French may just be getting better and better. Her characters are so rich, so extremely well developed, that even when you *think* you know, you don't really. They act like real people, not just doing what moves the story along, but doing what their personality dictates, even if it muddies up the waters. Which, of course, also serves the story by strengthening the mystery.
Tana French knows how to weave a mystery that has layered without being convoluted. You can kid yourself into thinking you know just what's going on, only to find out the next page that you couldn't have been more wrong. Her settings draw you in, putting you right into the scene with the characters, making her books experiences.
I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't a huge fan of French's Dublin Murder Squad series, but make no mistake. This book is as good as the previous. There's no falling off, no getting lazy with plot or characters. This book with be a reread for definite.
The whole book is written in the form of a long monologue delivered by Antoinette Conway, a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad. She hopes she has an ally in her partner, Stephen Moran, because she feels like the rest of the squad is trying to drive her out. She finds spit in her coffee, piss in her locker, her notes go missing, and the reporter who is her nemesis always seems to know where she will be next. To make it worse, she and Steve keep getting assigned to cases that offer only minor challenges.
After working all night, she and Steve get yet another case that seems like a routine domestic violence case. Aislinn Murray is found dead in her cottage, in which a table had been set for a romantic dinner. Texts on Aislinn's phone to her girlfriend showed she was waiting for her boyfriend, and was quite excited about it. But something went very wrong.
Inexplicably and insultingly, to Antoinette and Steve, the boss asks her to add the older, more experienced Detective Breslin to their team. Breslin is smarmy and obnoxious, and tries to push Antoinette and Steve into a quick conviction of the boyfriend, although at first, the evidence is only circumstantial. The two suspect there is more to the case than meets the eye, but they can’t figure out what it might be, or why Breslin is so anxious for them to wrap up the case fast.
As the tension builds, so do the mysteries, and while the ending wasn’t a total surprise, following it unfold by a master of crime writing was for me like watching a masterful drama on stage. Even as you are mesmerized, you can step back enough to appreciate the talent that so thoroughly places you in the midst of another world.
Discussion: Tana French is so good, that my first thought on finishing this book was, “I can’t wait for the next one!” The writing is excellent; French is expert at capturing dialogue and describing a scene so that you can see it yourself, and setting a mood so that you actually sense it, whether menace or hope or fear or anger. She conveys the thoughts of the characters in a way that ensures we know exactly how they feel - such as Antoinette’s growing paranoia and hurt, the increasing desperation of the accused, and the shock felt by one of the other characters when the truth comes out at last.
Evaluation: I loved this book, just as I loved her previous books. I also enjoyed the experience of listening to it on audio. While I would probably have raced through a written version, in this way I was made to savor the story more.
So much for French’s books in general. As for THE TRESPASSER in particular, while it’s not as good as her BROKEN HARBOR, which blew me away, it’s up there with FAITHFUL PLACE, which is her second best. I’ve read all her books, so you can take my word for it.
All her books, so far, are about different characters, detectives mostly, on the Dublin Murder Squad, although each stands alone and doesn’t depend on the last book. In THE TRESPASSER, two of the characters, partners Antoinette Conway and Stephen Moran, have also appeared in other books, although here they are main characters.
Conway is the narrator. Throughout the book we see what Conway sees and read how Conway feels about it. She is having a hard time as the only female on the squad. But the careful reader will sometimes suspect her perception.
She and Moran are tired of always getting the domestic murder cases handed to them. When they are given a case involving the murder in her home of a single young woman, they are sure it’s another cut-and-dry Domestic, easy to solve, even too easy. But this turns out to be more. This may even have the rest of the Murder Squad hating them.
Conway and Moran also have to deal with Detective Don Breslin, who seems to be trying to steer their case toward the victim’s new boyfriend, even after Conway learns details that point in another direction. When he speaks with Conway and Moran, they almost telepathically know what the other is thinking (evidence of a good partnership) and speak to Breslin accordingly.
French has another winner with THE TRESPASSER. I highly recommend it and only do not give it my highest rating because I gave that to BROKEN HARBOR.
I won this book from luxuryreading.com.
I love Tana French's books for how she really looks deep into how people tick, their deep-seated insecurities and arrogances. Her books have intriguing plots and it's always great to read a good murder mystery. Even though this one seemed pretty clear to me from the beginning, I got totally wrapped up in the characters. They're all so real, so human. At one point I got so angry at the protagonist I wanted to stop reading. She was so lost in her own assumptions it was infuriating.
This book really is about stories. The stories we tell ourselves about the world to help us cope, whether those stories are based in reality or not. So fascinating!
The narrator on this book did a great job. I could have listened to the book at a faster speed, but I didn't want to; it deserved a regular pace to savour and enjoy. I listened on my walks, and it was sore feet that took me home each time, because I could have listened to this one straight through.
I listened to this as an audio book. Hilda Fay does and excellent job of bringing Dublin into your world.
Each book in this series highlights a member of the Dublin Murder Squad and this time it's Antoinette Conway - a new person in the squad with a major chip on her shoulder. Her partner is Stephan Moran, also new but pretty much spends a lot of time trying to make people like him, unlike Antoinette who is perpetually harassed by the MALE members of the squad. The team usually gets the easy cases since they haven't really proven themselves yet. One morning they get what looks like an open and shut case to look into the murder of a young woman. At first glance, the boyfriend is guilty and an older member of the Murder Squad who is working with them, wants the case closed. The team of Conway and Moran aren't totally convinced and dig deeper into the case and at every turn, it looks like it isn't a simple case at all.
I love Tana French books and this one was no exception. Her characters are wonderful - I think Antoinette is one of my favorites of all of her books - and the situations that they get into are very believable. Her books follow the procedures that the police have to go through to solve a case yet she has twists and turns happening throughout. I must admit that i only have one problem with Tana French's books -- the continual desire to turn to the last page and find out how it ends. I barely avoided doing it this time and am always proud of myself if I can fight the urge.
Thanks to goodreads for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
Since the first book in the series, French has taken a secondary figure from an earlier book and made them the lead in the next one. The Trespasser is told from the perspective of Antoinette Conway, the lone female detective on the murder squad. Along with her partner, Stephen Moran, they are called in to investigate what looks to be a routine domestic incident that led to the death of a young woman, Aislinn Murray. It wouldn’t be much of a story if it were actually a routine incident, so of course it is not.
The boyfriend is an obvious suspect, but Conway sees an unusual amount of secrets in the victim’s life, and finds the pressure from within the squad to make a quick arrest of the boyfriend likewise suspicious. Complicating matters is the harassment Conway routinely receives from her own squad. This causes her to suspect that she may be being misled so that she will make a mistake which will lead to her either quitting or being fired. But is the mistake acting too quickly or not acting quickly enough with an obvious suspect in front of her?
In the first part of the story, we learn of the possible presence of a “mystery man” in Aislinn’s life. The evidence is scant enough that it’s possible he doesn’t exist. This fuels Conway’s paranoia. At various points she begins to suspect everyone on the murder squad to be out to get her, even coming to believe that her partner wouldn’t mind seeing her gone. It’s in this early part that I felt the story suffered a little in comparison to previous entries in the series. Conway’s introspective paranoia began to stray from legitimate grievances to self-pitying wallowing. Whether this was a result of or caused by a lot more of the novel spending time within the actual police headquarters as compared to the other books I’m not sure. The time spent focusing on Conway’s relationship with the squad seemed to slow what we were learning about Aislinn’s life to a trickle.
The story picks up the pace at about the halfway point and we begin to see more solid evidence of there being more to Aislinn than meets the eye. Some of the most entertaining parts of French’s books are the investigatory dead ends that rather than being throwaways, are part of the sifting and winnowing that allows the true story to emerge and lead to the solving of the crime. Likewise, there is a jumping back and forth in time, as events in the victim’s past shine a light on the crime in the present.
As Conway and Moran close in on the murderer, not only does Aislinn as a victim come into tragic focus, but Conway gets clarity on her own place in the squad and is able to interpret events a little more realistically.
One of the things that French does best in her novels is to drive home the tragedy and pointlessness of these crimes. She also shows how events deep in the past have shaped these persons lives; victims, perpetrators and investigators. The open question is whether once started on this path, was tragedy always inevitable? French makes you care about these characters and feel the pain of the choices they made. Hope comes in the form of the lessons the detectives learn along the way and the chance that it alters their perspective enough to change their own path.
The Trespasser is another great read from French and perfect for anyone who enjoys psychological suspense. I’ll keep reading as long as she keeps writing. Highly recommended.
I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book.
Antoinette Conway worked hard to earn a spot on the murder squad, but just two years in, she’s seriously considering leaving for a job with a private security firm. Her co-workers are openly hostile and she’s stuck on the night shift with the newest detective, fielding domestics and bar brawls. It’s not what she signed up for. Then, she and Moran are given what at first looks like another routine domestic murder, except they’ve been called in just as their shift ended and their gaffer has assigned a senior detective to assist them. From there, it only gets messier and before long, Conway has to question everything from the too-convenient suspect of the boyfriend to the actions of her fellow detectives.
This one never loses momentum or lets the reader come up for air. French does her best writing with the rote tasks of police work, and with the complex relationship that exists between two detectives working well together. French is writing something quite a bit more substantial than a simple police procedural and I was with her every step of the way.
And now I’m left to wait for the next in the series.
Murder Squad Detectives - Antoinette Conway and Stephen Moran - are main characters in this title, with Detective Conway doing the narration.
The story is full of mystery, suspense and raw emotion. The ripple effects of the murder find their way everywhere and are not forgiving.
The complex characters, the locale and ‘sense of place’, the ‘cut it with a knife’ atmosphere in the Murder Squad Room, the relationships between detectives, the relationships among families and friends, the weaving together of fantasy and reality, the beautiful writing - all blend together into an intriguing, suspenseful, spectacular, emotional read.
Excels as both suspense and literature. What more can you ask?
It's obvious that I'm never going to be a true French fan, although I know there are a lot of those. I don't really love her writing style, and I find most of her books too slow-moving, too long and also too long to develop. This one ran some 450 pages, and the first 250 to 300 pages were very slow-going for me. Sometimes I'd be reminded of having to slog through assigned reading in college. But I appreciate her imagination and her plots, and her high quality of effort. This one was well worth reading.