The Searcher: A Novel

by Tana French

Hardcover, 2020

Call number

MYST FRE

Publication

Viking (2020), 464 pages

User reviews

LibraryThing member Beamis12
Very different from her other books and the first not set in Dublin. Instead it is set in a small Irish Village, a village of farmers, fishermen and people who have lived there for quite some time. Cal, our narrator, is a Chicago cop who has left that vocation. He is a divorced father of a grown daughter, whom he misses dearly. He has come to Ireland, this village, to find peace and a place where he can be pretty much left alone. He bought an old, dilapidated, long abandoned house which he is repairing, fixing some furniture left by previous owners. It is while engaged with this work that he meets Trey, a young teenager who will eventually ask him to find a missing, older brother.

Although there is a missing boy, this is not really a mystery, or not only a mystery. It is very slowly paced, a measured sloshed that allows the reader the opportunity to totally know the characters and their environment. To notice the details, the setting, and the feelings that live within. The slowness also serves as a way to ratchet up the tension, the insidiousness that grows as more in uncovered, discovered. There is violence, but not more than is necessary to serve the storyline.

Ultimately it is a story if a unique, multi generational friendship and of people that want to live their lives they way they always have, without interference. Also a book that highlights poverty and what the lack of opportunities will compel people to do, desperation. I enjoyed it, but be warned it is more a quieter, immersive read, not what I would call a thriller. This author though, sure can write and exceedingly well at that.

ARC from Netgalley.
… (more)
LibraryThing member shelleyraec
The Searcher is a compelling stand alone mystery from Irish author Tana French, best known for her Dublin Murder Squad series.

Upon the end of his marriage and his retirement from a twenty-five career in the Chicago P.D., Cal Hooper decides to move to a rural village in the west of Ireland where he intends to do little else than to renovate his dilapidated farmhouse, fish from the stream, and walk the mountains. He finds the relaxed pace of his new life, enhanced by a regular craic with his neighbour, Mart, and the occasional drink in the local pub, suits him, though he misses his adult daughter. But Cal can’t quite shake the habits of a lifetime and when thirteen-year-old Trey Reddy begs for his help, he reluctantly agrees to look into the disappearance of the desperate kid’s older brother.

While it’s true that this is not a fast paced thriller, I was nevertheless drawn in, and held captive by the compelling characterisation, atmosphere and plot of The Searcher.

The first half of the book focuses largely on establishing and developing the characters that play an important role in the story. I liked Cal, a burnt-out ex-cop who doesn’t want, or need, much. He’s fine being on his own but not defensive about it, as shown by his willingness to indulge his garrulous neighbour, Mart. His patience with Trey, who is a smart, fierce kid from a poor family with a bad reputation, is admirable, and the relationship French develops between Cal and Trey is a true strength of the novel.

The community of Ardnakelty is a character in itself. I was impressed with French’s ability to effortlessly evoke the settings within her novel, from Noreen’s general store and Sean Og’s pub, to Cal’s isolated, ramshackle farmhouse surrounded by fields, and woods, and peat-bog mountains. There is a great deal lurking below the surface of this rural idyll, and its seemingly straightforward farming folk, with surprises that break through when least expected.

Trey’s brother, Brendan, has been missing for several months by the time Trey asks Cal for his help. No one else seems concerned by the absence of the nineteen-year-old, the assumption being he left voluntarily, either because he’d had enough of life at home, or perhaps to avoid some sort of trouble. Cal is instinctively wary of pushing too hard for information as his investigation begins, but in such an insular community his interest is immediately noted, and as Cal tugs at the threads that will unravel the mystery of Brendan’s fate, he draws trouble to his doorstep.

With its escalating tension, unexpected twists, and flashes of violence, I found the plot to be wholly satisfying, but it’s less the action, and more the complex and nuanced behaviours of the characters that are truly captivating. Unfolding in evocative prose with an Irish lilt, at a deliberate, absorbing pace The Searcher is a compulsive read.
… (more)
LibraryThing member Doondeck
Engrossing story. French manages to capture both the Chicago and Irish flavor.
LibraryThing member brangwinn
I never thought I would be able to say, “Yes, I DO have a favorite Tana French book” but I can with this one. I always love her book, but with Black Lives Matter in the forefront of the news, I find Cal Hooper, the retired policeman from Chicago, has a lot to say about race relations as well as continuing concern about why his wife left him. He wants to not only understand her, but their grown daughter’s feelings. When he decides to move to a small Irish village, he is looking forward to peace. Hah, as any resident of a small town can tell him, interpersonal relationships are multi-layered. Add to that, a rugged single American man is obviously in need of a wife. Most compelling to me in the story is his befriending of a 12-year-old in need of friendship and a decent meal. Trey, who we assume is a boy, turns out to be a girl. Hooper has been having Trey help him refinish an old desk. Mart, Cooper’s neighbor, makes sure he knows that a grown man hanging out with a young girl is fodder for the town gossip. Things really heat up as Cooper tries to find out what has happened to Brendan, Trey’s 19-year-old brother. Not only is the solution to the mystery satisfying and hits close to home, but French has created a lovely village background for the story filled with a vivid mix of interesting residents.… (more)
LibraryThing member lauralkeet
After retiring from the Chicago police force, Cal was looking for a quiet, solitary lifestyle where he could also recover (or maybe escape?) from his recent divorce. He finds a small, inexpensive fixer-upper in a remote Irish village. As he settles in, Cal gets to know a few people in the village, and with their help begins learning the ways of their deceptively different culture. And then Trey, a teenager from a difficult family circumstances, comes into his life looking for help. Trey’s older brother Brendan disappeared six months earlier, and no one -- not even the police, or Trey’s mother -- seems interested in finding him. Trey knows Cal was once a cop and hopes he can help find Brendan. Cal doesn’t particularly want to take on an investigation, but can’t ignore Trey’s emotional state.

Cal takes advantage of being both the “new guy” and “not from around here” to ask questions of anyone he chooses, and does a pretty good job of making up legitimate reasons for asking. But he still manages to arouse suspicion, and runs into some roadblocks. As a reader, I quickly became disoriented, not sure who was trustworthy and who might be working to undermine Cal’s efforts. Tana French delivered a couple of good surprises, which I enjoyed, and while some elements of the “reveal” are obvious in hindsight, I didn’t figure it out on my own and I enjoyed the journey.

After being disappointed with French’s The Wych Elm, it was great to see her back on her game.
… (more)
LibraryThing member SquirrelHead
The Searcher was another of Tana French's novels which had me hooked from the start. I loved the setting and having been fortunate enough to visit Ireland a few times, she nailed the atmosphere. The dialogue, the way the chill and cold was described as seeping into your bones, the banter at the pubs - loved it.

These charatcers were brought to life and I felt I was in the room when they were talking in the pub or at Cal's cottage. Cal Hooper was a likeable enough character and while he could be villager in a future novel, I don't see him as playing a major part as a detective coming up. I mention this as I saw some reviews which expressed interest in seeing him in an upcoming novel. I just don't see how that could work.

He is after all a retired American detective trying to find peace and quiet in beautiful Ireland. A child named Trey seems to stalk him and eventually asks Cal to investigate the disappearance of Trey's older brother. He agrees and while it seems an unlikely scenario for an American to involve himself in an investigation all on his own, it all plays out to a satisfactory ending. You get some surprises and if you didn't like Witch Elm, her last book, you'll be glad this plot and set of characters was an improvement.

That being said, I much prefered the Dublin Murder Squad series and long for Tana French to return to those type novels. I loved the way a minor character in an investigation was given a bigger role in the next book. Give me Frank Mackey, Cassie Maddox, Rob Ryan and Stephen Moran again.
… (more)
LibraryThing member TomDonaghey
The Searcher (2020) by Tana French. Fans of Tana French’s writing will not be disappointed. Here she has stepped away from her ‘Dublin Murder Squad’ writing and given us something fresh and different. She has taken the framework of the classic American Western story and made it alive in today’s world.
Cal Hooper is a burned out lawman. All he wants is a quiet life in a small town far away from his past. But we all know that this is not going to happen for him. He has come home to Ireland although he isn’t Irish. He bought a fixer-upper just out of a small town on the Irish west coast and has settled in to repair and replace and make the place a habital home.
He, like most Western heroes, is a quiet man who wants to be left alone. He has a talkative neighbor who has decided to take Cal under his wing, and Cal doesn’t object to the idea. And there is Trey who shows up at Cal’s house when the rumor that Cal was a detective back in Chicago seeps through town. Trey wants Cal to find the missing 19-year old brother who disappeared several months before.
Reluctantly, Cal takes on the assignment, against his better judgement. He knows that Trey is only 13 and is desperate to solve the puzzle of the absent brother. Cal knows Trey is only going to blunder into trouble if there is any, trouble that might have befell the older Brendan. Trouble that might have gotten the elder killed or at least caused him to rabbit off without a word of leave behind him.
Ms. French captures the wild west of Ireland in every chapter. As always, her style is a bit laconic but captivating. And she evokes the sights, sounds, and even the smells of small town Irish life where everyone knows your business, sometimes even before you know it yourself. Be it the wilds of the near-by mountains, the calm of fishing the local river, or drinking with new friends in the local, each chapter rings with it yet another delight.
This is yet another fine novel from this very promising writer who has delivered the goods every time.
… (more)
LibraryThing member diana.hauser
THE SEARCHER is written Tana French.
Ms. French is an award-winning mystery writer. Previous works include THE WITCH ELM and the Dublin Murder Squad series.

“Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a bucolic Irish village would be the perfect escape. After twenty-five years in the Chicago police force and a bruising divorce, he just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens. But when a local kid whose brother has gone missing arm-twists him into investigating, Cal uncovers layers of darkness beneath his picturesque retreat, and starts to realize that even small towns shelter dangerous secrets.” [Amazon]

The writing is exquisite; lyrical, suspenseful, ‘atmospheric’, patient and searching.
The characters are puzzling at times and very needy. They are interesting and complex.
The description of the ‘place’ (rural west Ireland) is pure poetry.
A very good read. ****
… (more)
LibraryThing member miss.mesmerized
'That's what I came looking for,' he says. 'A small place. A small town in a small country. It seemed like that would be easier to make sense of. Guess I might've had that wrong.'

Cal Hooper, former detective with the Chicago police, left the States for a small village in Ireland. He bought an old run-down house that he is now repairing to make it a liveable place. For a couple of days already, he has felt somehow observed but couldn't see anybody, when suddenly a small boy appears. At first, Trey is shy and does not speak and only reluctantly comes closer. It takes some time for him to open up and reveal why he has come to Cal. His older brother Brendan has gone missing and nobody seems to be concerned or willing to do something about it. Trey is convinced that Brendan did not just pack his bag and leave to find his luck in Dublin, something really bad must have happened to him. Cal has come to like the shy boy who is eager to learn about repairing old furniture and has become a pleasant company, therefore, he agrees to use his experience as a cop and ask some questions. It does not take long for Cal to realise that his new home is all but an idyllic and peaceful place.

Tana French's novel combines a mystery about a missing teenager with a heart-wrenching story about two lonely people who by chance find each other. It also shows a reality which nobody wants to see, a place which is out of the focus of any institutions and where some kind of parallel law has been established nobody dares to interfere with. The people, quite sadly, do not play an important role in this concept. Neglected youngsters either adapt or risk their lives.

The biggest star of the novel, at least for me, is surely Trey. A courageous small kid, about 12 years old, who obviously lacks all education but has the heart in the right place and definitely an understanding of right and wrong. Even though well known in the small village, he does not know anybody to turn to and has to address a total stranger to find help. Everything connected to him is touching deeply and it is heart-breaking to see how Cal manages to gain his trust and build a friendship.

The mystery part of the novel advances slowly but then accelerates and turns into a suspenseful crime story. The whole plot lives on the atmosphere and the characters who are brilliantly created and make it a great read.
… (more)
LibraryThing member juju2cat
After reading the Dublin Murder Squad books I expected a deeply psychological book and found this was not the case; in fact, it was more like a coming of age book that someone like William Kent Krueger would write. It was beautiful and the descriptions of the land were wonderful. I was a bit disappointed but I believe it was my fault for presuming it would in the same vein as the Dublin books. STILL a good book, though.… (more)
LibraryThing member RidgewayGirl
A Chicago police officer, newly divorced and recently retired, decides he wants a quiet life and so he buys a run-down cottage in rural Ireland. Cal's doing pretty well, slowly renovating his house and getting to know the neighbors - mostly older farmers - when a young member of the infamous Reddy family shows up. Trey has heard that Cal's a police officer and needs his help finding someone. As Cal looks into the disappearance and gets to know his young neighbor, his plans for a quiet retirement start to fall apart.

This is another stand-alone mystery by Tana French. It's well-plotted and the characters are achingly real, as they always are in her novels. Because the main character is American, this has a bit of an Ireland for Foreigners feel to it, but not so much as to be overly intrusive. This is an enjoyable book for a rainy evening or two. The crime itself is secondary to the story of a stranger to a community making connections and learning about himself, but Cal's an interesting enough character to spend time with.
… (more)
LibraryThing member RowingRabbit
There are a handful of authors on my “No-Brainer” list. Their books are the ones I automatically reach for.…don’t need to see the cover, read the synopsis or check any reviews. Just gimme.

That doesn’t mean all of their books were 5 star reads. You always enjoy some more than others but something about their writing style and/or characters keeps me coming back. Ms. French is one of those authors & this book is no exception. All her books contain an element of crime but some are driven by suspense while others focus on the characters. This story is more about how the characters are affected by a crime than the crime itself.

Cal Hooper is a man who doesn’t mess around when he decides he needs a change. In short order he retired from the Chicago P.D., got divorced & bought a cottage in rural Ireland sight unseen. Yep, it’s a handyman special but he now has nothing but time. Let the renovations begin.

At first Cal’s solitude is only broken by visits from Mart, his elderly cookie-scarfing neighbour. But he soon senses another presence. It turns out to be 13 year old Trey Reddy, a shy kid who’s heard about this odd American. And he wants to hire him. Trey’s brother Brendan disappeared a while back & no one seems to care. Not the local cops, not even his worn out mother. Trey figures it’s because he’s a Reddy….a name synonymous with the Irish equivalent of trailer trash.

Cal came here to leave his old life behind. He’s lost his inner compass, that thing that made him trust his own judgement. In its place is self-doubt & uncertainty as to who he is now & where he belongs. You get the sense he & the old cottage have a lot in common. Both need someone to peel away layers, repair what’s broken & build them back up.

Cal chose his new home based on location. As an outsider in a rural area, he thought he’d have the physical & emotional space he needs. Now he’s buying cookies for a nosy neighbour while dodging the local matchmaker. Trey shows up most days to help with the renos. The kid’s quiet desperation finally gets to him & Cal agrees to look into Brendan’s disappearance. Oh man, be careful what you wish for.

So….a wee heads-up for all you French fans. Don’t go into this expecting a tense, suspenseful read akin to the Dublin Murder Squad books. It’s more like her last book, a slow burn type of story with fully realized characters & atmospheric prose. Yes, there is crime but it’s almost incidental. What you have is a beautifully written narrative that is completely character driven. It’s moody, descriptive & some scenes hurt my heart.

As I read I couldn’t help but think of “Shane”, the classic western. A solitary stranger arrives in town & is approached by a poor kid up against locals intent on maintaining the status quo. All the ingredients are there, delivered in Irish vernacular. Just don’t expect any white hats.

So maybe leave your preconceptions at the door. The depiction of setting & language is spot on & you’ll soon find yourself surrounded by misty rains & 40 shades of green.
… (more)
LibraryThing member -Eva-
Retired Chicago police officer Cal Hooper is restoring his new house in Ireland when he is approached by a neighbor who asks him to solve a missing person's case. As usual, Tana French gives us a meandering and completely irresistible tale. This is not part of her Dublin Murder Squad-series and it is a more straight-forward mystery, but her descriptions of characters and locale are equally engaging. Recommended for anyone who likes well-written mysteries.… (more)
LibraryThing member bogopea
First Tanya French I could not get into.
LibraryThing member froxgirl
This eighth French novel has less tension than her prior efforts, as the standard setting has moved from Dublin to a rural town in Ireland, where former Chicago detective Cal Hooper has retired after a divorce and an almost disastrous street shooting. Without Irish ancestry and knowing not a soul in the area, his decision to rehab an old cottage seems strange and suspicious to his neighbors and also to this reader, but I take everything French writes as thriller gospel. Cal's pub visits and shopping trips to the tiny village are amusing until they're not. When an eleven year old child seeks Cal out to track down a missing older sibling, Cal's need to investigate subsumes his ill-thought-out attempt to settle into quiet country life. There is the usual cast of vividly etched minor characters and an almost visual sense of land and weather. " 'S only gorgeous."

Quote: "Their focus isn't much broader than a prey animal's. They're all used up by scrabbling to keep their footing; they don't have room for anything bigger than staying one jump ahead of bad things and snatching the occasional treat along the way."
… (more)
LibraryThing member EdGoldberg
Tana French is an American born, Dublin based author. She studied acting at Trinity College in Dublin and in between acting jobs did a stint on an archeological dig which is where the inspiration for the plot of her first book, In the Woods, originated. It won the Edgar, Anthony, Barry and Macavity awards for best first novel. She has either won or been shortlisted for various other awards. She is the author of six “Dublin Murder Squad” novels, the first two of which, including In the Woods, were commissioned and filmed by BBC for TV. Her two standalone novels are The Witch Elm and The Searcher. She has been referred to as the “First Lady of Irish Crime” whereas Val McDermid, I think has been referred to as the “Queen of Scottish Crime”.
The only Tana French book I have read was Broken Harbor which I really enjoyed.

Twenty-five-year retired Chicago police veteran, Cal Hooper is looking for nothing more than to fix up the dilapidated cottage he bought in a remote part of Western Ireland, take long walks in the cool mountain air, catch his dinner by either fishing or shooting the odd rabbit and play Johnny Cash as loud as he wants with only the forest denizens to complain. Reeling from a recent divorce, the cause of which he can’t get his head around, and the estrangement from his daughter, he needs some isolation to recoup, figure out who he is and what he wants. He thinks the tiny village of Ardnakelty is just what he needs.

Little did he realize how insular these small villages are and how hard it is to be a stranger and not know the rules. Also, he didn’t know that 13-year-old Trey was going impinge upon his privacy and cajole him to look into Trey’s brother Brendan’s disappearance 6 months earlier.

At first Cal refuses, but Trey is persistent and soon Cal relents. Subtlety is not Cal’s forte and as he ‘innocently’ asks questions of his neighbors and the townspeople, the more walls are built between them, until one day he is not so subtly warned off. Of course, as with any police officer, being warned off only adds to his curiosity.

As many reviewers wrote, The Searcher is more a book about finding oneself and relationships than it is a murder mystery or police procedural. (You’re a hundred pages in before you even get to the mystery.) Sure, you wonder whether Brendan is alive or dead, was he abducted or did he leave his small town for the big city. Sure, you wonder what the townspeople have to hide. But, it’s Cal’s world that is interesting, his internal dilemma, his relationship with Trey that is the true story. French says she doesn’t like to be pigeonholed and she is not in The Searcher.
French is considered a more ‘literary’ author and her description of the countryside where Cal’s cottage is located or the rooks that inhabit the trees in his yard is part of the joy of reading The Searcher. Kirkus said it was ‘richly layered.’

As an aside, French has said that the title of the book is a tribute to the John Ford film, The Searchers, which I now should watch.

Tana French says that she’s a big fan of Donna Tartt, author of The Secret History and Goldfinch. French fans will love this departure from her series as will readers who like crime fiction set in small towns like those of Julia Keller (who I never read) and Jane Harper, whose books I love. Harper, too, is a somewhat literary writer whose books go beyond the routine ‘mystery’.

A great read for the story and the prose.
… (more)
LibraryThing member susandennis
This was a very excellent book and with an excellent reader. retired chicago cop moves to rural ireland and gets ensnared in the local world. elegantly told to the last word.
LibraryThing member bookworm12
French remains one of my favorite authors. This standalone follows a Chicago cop who relocates to Ireland to find peace. When a youngster named Trey shows up and asks a favor he finds himself exercising detective skills he wanted to leave behind. The descriptions of the people and places are what make this book so captivating. She manages to invoke the blustery land with such affection and precision that you can feel the stinging wind on your cheeks. Even though the story move slowly, I was comfortable settling in for the tail and knowing that her writing would make it all worth it.

“Cal has always liked mornings. He draws a distinction between this and being a morning person, which he isn’t: it takes time, daylight and coffee to connect up his brain cells.”

“It takes a wise man to spot when he needs the bitta advice from someone that knows his way around.”
… (more)
LibraryThing member SamSattler
Well, it took me a while. I’ve been seeing Tana French’s name all over the place, and hearing nothing but good things about her, for the last several years, but until The Searcher I had not experienced one of French’s novels for myself. For that reason, I suppose it’s appropriate that The Searcher is one of the author’s two standalone crime novels rather than part of her six-book “Dublin Murder Squad” series.

The “searcher” referred to in the novel’s title is Cal Hooper, a retired American cop who has moved to a remote part of Ireland where he hopes to live a life as different from the one he knew in Chicago as possible: no guns (other than his hunting rifle), no crime investigations to concern himself with, and sadly for Cal, no wife now that he’s freshly, and painfully, divorced. And for a while, it looks like all that might actually happen for Cal. Then he notices that a local kid is secretly watching his every move as he goes about the business of refurbishing the worn out old cottage he’s purchased - and he wants to know why the kid has taken such a keen interest in him.

As it turns out, young Trey Reddy has heard that Cal is an ex-cop from the big city and believes that makes Cal the perfect man to find the kid’s missing older brother. Cal wants no part of any kind of investigation, especially one with the potential to bring him into a confrontation with local police and equally as likely to leave his new neighbors convinced that he is sticking his newly-arrived nose in places he has no business sticking it. But Trey Reddy is not the kind of kid who takes no for an answer, and despite all his reservations about what he is about to do, Cal soon finds himself snooping around on the kid’s behalf - and that’s when the locals notice what he’s up to.

Cal quickly realizes that the only thing beautiful about life in this little Irish town is the scenery he sees outside his windows. Almost nothing else is what it seems, perhaps even including his relationship with the elderly neighbor who seems to have taken Cal under his wing so that the American can ease himself into this new life without first offending all the locals. Cal, though, is not a quitter, and the more encouragement he gets to mind his own business, the less likely it is that he will do so. And one of the first things he learns about Trey is that the kid is even less a quitter than he is.

Bottom Line: The Searcher is a relatively slow-paced story about a lonely man and a lonely kid who need each other more than either of them realize. It is one of those crime novels in which the crime is secondary to the characters and how they change over time. No one will call this one a thriller, but that is most certainly not a bad thing in this instance. The Searcher is a satisfying novel in which one of the main characters comes of age at the same time that another one is having his eyes opened for him. Recommended.
… (more)
LibraryThing member novelcommentary
I have to say I really enjoyed this novel, my first exploration into this author. This third person account revolves around Cal Hopper, an American ex-cop who moves to western Ireland to start again after his divorce and his disillusionment with police work. He wants to spend quiet days on the fixer upper he bought online, go fishing for his dinner and maybe even make rabbit stew if he ever gets a gun license. However, he forms a unique relationship with a neighboring 13 year old, named Trey, who manages to get him to investigate the disappearance of this kid's brother. Thus the plot begins as the reluctant problem solver gets invested in the quest to find someone he never knew. In interviews French admittedly pays homage here to the American Western, including the John Ford film of the same name, the idea of the stranger coming to town and being a disruptor to the established routines. Her writing contains great descriptions of the landscape both physically and of the nosiness of rural farmers. “A guy can’t pick his nose around here without the whole townland telling him to wash his hands.”
I enjoyed the characters and the mystery that is well paced and engaging. I look forward to other works by this talented author.

Lines:

Meanwhile, he doesn’t mind the aches. They satisfy him. Along with the blisters and thickening calluses, they’re solid, earned proof of what his life is now.

Landscape is one of the few things he knows of where the reality doesn’t let you down. The West of Ireland looked beautiful on the internet; from right smack in the middle of it, it looks even better. The air is rich as fruitcake, like you should do more with it than just breathe it; bite off a big mouthful, maybe, or rub handfuls of it over your face.

The morning has turned lavishly beautiful. The autumn sun gives the greens of the fields an impossible, mythic radiance and transforms the back roads into light-muddled paths where a goblin with a riddle, or a pretty maiden with a basket, could be waiting around every gorse-and-bramble bend. Cal is in no mood to appreciate any of it. He feels like this specific beauty is central to the illusion that lulled him into stupidity, turned him into the peasant gazing slack-jawed at this handful of gold coins till they melt into dead leaves in front of his eyes.”

He’s passed strong-built women hauling heavy things around cluttered farmyards, red-cheeked toddlers staring at him through gates and sucking on the bars while the rangy dogs bark up a storm at him.

Lena’s got a good head on her shoulders. And her husband was tight as a duck’s arse and he’d drink the river dry, God rest him, so she’s not suffering from high standards. She won’t go mad if you bring your muddy boots inside or fart in the bed.”

“That wasn’t an idea, that was a notion. I nipped it in the bud. There’s no nipping women’s ideas. Cut them down one place, they grow up another. You wouldn’t know where you’d be.”

He’s a few years younger than Cal, with a round face, a belly under construction and an air of having been scrubbed shiny-clean all over.

.Even smack in the middle of a temperamental Chicago neighborhood, dawn sounds rose up with a startling delicacy, and the air had a lemony, clean-scoured tinge that made you breathe deeper and wider. Here, the first light spreads across the fields like something holy is happening, striking sparks off a million dewdrops and turning the spiderwebs on the hedge to rainbows; mist curls off the grass, and the first calls of birds and sheep seem to arc effortless miles.

Mart’s house isn’t dirty, exactly, but it has an air of having been low priority for a long time. It has sludge-green walls and a lot of linoleum and Formica, and most surfaces have been worn down till they’re speckled.

“Men with no children get to feeling unsafe, when they get older. The world’s changing and they’ve no young people to show them it’s grand, so they feel like they’re being attacked. Like they need to be ready for a fight the whole time.”

All Cal ever wanted to be was a steady man who took care of his family and did right by the people around him. For more than twenty years, he went about his business believing he was that man. Only somewhere along the way, he fucked up. He lost hold of his code, and the worst part is that he can’t understand what he did. Everything he’s been since that moment has been worth nothing, and he doesn’t even know what the moment was.

Mostly these inconveniences wouldn’t bother him, but right now they feel personally targeted: pebbles in his shoes, small but carefully chosen for their sharp corners.

The land has left its luring autumn self behind and put on a new, aloof beauty. The greens and golds have thinned to watercolor; the sky is one scoured sweep of pale blue, and the mountains are so clear it seems like Cal can see each distant clump of browning heather, sharp and distinct.
… (more)
LibraryThing member pgchuis
There were humorous episodes in this book (the moonshine-drinking evening for example), but other than that I found it boring. The ending was an anti-climax, and I was unhappy with the idea that Cal would commit to settle in the community, knowing what he now does about it.

Disappointing.
LibraryThing member Bookmarque
Too opaque. I could barely figure out what crime had been committed since my attention wandered so much during the audiobook. In the end nothing really happens and nothing changes for the town or the lives of anyone in it. Why did she write this?
LibraryThing member DrApple
This novel features a retired Detroit cop who moves to rural Ireland in hopes of a quiet life. He finds, however, that crime isn't just something that happens in big cities.
LibraryThing member bookczuk
Pandemic read. One good thing-- in 2020 I discovered Tana French.
LibraryThing member maneekuhi
Tana French has written 8 books beginning with “Into the Woods” (2006). The first six were part of a series grouped as the Dublin Murder Squad (2006-16, every two years like clockwork). I use the term “series” loosely; a protagonist in one book may be totally absent in the next, maybe gone forever. Some hung around for another book, maybe two, as a supporting actor. I never liked any of her protagonists, never really cared if they succeeded or failed. Actually most just seemed to survive. I read all of her books with the exception of the previous one, “Witch Elm”; I didn’t care for the plot description. Tana French is a darling of book critics. She is saluted for her prose, her complex plots, and sometimes her characters. Her Dublin books were not traditional mysteries – they did not seem to be at all about the crime. Rather it was more about the characters’ motivations, behaviors.

“The Searcher” is about Cal, a recently retired Chicago police cop/detective. He has retired to Ireland and bought a somewhat charming dump of a place. He is soon approached by a neighbor kid wanting his help in finding an older brother who vanished six months ago. The locals don’t want Cal interjecting himself into their affairs; they have nasty little ways of making their preferences known. And there’s a local widow who’s wooing message seems to be “take it or leave it”. But the countryside is pretty. At the conclusion, Cal must make a Big Decision; the fact that I don’t get his choice probably says as much about me as it does about French. Whatever. Like too many of her books, “The Searcher” has too many slow moments, and it creates an environment I never got comfortable with nor appreciated, including Widow Lena. I think I’m finally done with French.
… (more)

ISBN

073522465X / 9780735224650
Page: 0.4404 seconds