I’m not a real mystery reader, but right around this time of year, I always get in the mood for a good mystery story for some reason. Been that way for the last few years, and this year is no exception. When I started feeling the urge this year, I picked up the audio of Faithful Place from the library.
Faithful Place is the third of the Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French. Each book is narrated by a new person, introduced in the previous book. This book is narrated by Frank Mackey, a squad leader in the undercover department. Mackey left home 22 years ago and never looked back, but is drawn back to family when a decades-old murder of his long-ago girlfriend comes to light. While there is a murder in this book – two of them, actually – the primary focus of this novel is on family. Mackey is from a home and an area where the worst crimes possible aren’t murder, rape, or assault, but calling the cops and blood disloyalty. He has to disentangle justice as his family taught him and justice as written by law.
The murderer is easily spotted almost from the very beginning of this book. There are no real twists and turns as far as the mystery goes. However, I found Faithful Place far more intriguing than the first two books in the series, because of its emphasis on family and the contrast of two ideas about right and wrong. It isn’t really about who committed the crimes, but about how Mackey deals with the aftermath. French does a fabulous job portraying the culture he comes from, and working through his conflict between family and law. I really enjoyed the way his character developed all the way through the end of the book, which is not something I could say for either of the first two narrators in this series.
The ending was fractured, partially hopeful, partially painful, and incredibly realistic. Definitely my favorite of French’s books so far. I had issues with the narrator’s actions in the first book, and some believability issues with the second book, but no issues with this one. It was exactly right, and I’m looking forward to the next installment of the series.
Performance: The audio was read by Tim Gerard Reynolds. This is my first experience with him, and I thought he did a fabulous job. Perfectly in character, and his reading lent itself to the gritty atmosphere of the book.