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Search tags: Tana-French
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text 2018-05-03 15:43
Trendy - but not my favorite
The Likeness - Tana French

OK Story, but not as good as the first book in the series. I read this awhile back and posted my review on Amazon, but just got around to listing it here.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book, 'In The Woods'. The Irish murder squad worked a compelling plot, actually it was more like two plots that intertwine - it was excellent! Anticipating the same type of plot movement in book two, I started 'The Likeness' and was quickly disappointed.

 

French did a good job with setting and character development, however, the plot wasn't very suspenseful. It was all based on the nervousness of being undercover and trying to fool (trick) four close friends of the murder victim. Like the technique other current authors are doing lately, French was in the head of the protagonist most of the time. . . not my favorite type of writing.

 

Once in awhile being inside their thoughts in a tense situation is good, but when it's done too often, it takes away from everything else and it makes a poor substitute for a good plot. I was disappointed but will read Tana French again because her first book was excellent. I think this one was just a bit flat, it happens.

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text 2018-04-03 18:34
Irish crime novelist Tana French: upending the whodunit genre has its rewards

Article about Tana French when she mentions the next book she is working on.

 

She and Breatnach, who have two daughters, bought a place after property prices fell. "That was sheer dumb luck," she says, sounding slightly apologetic. "We were broke when everyone was getting rich, and we got money when everybody else was sort of crashing." French is now working on her seventh book. "It's slightly different this time," she says, "in that the narrator isn't a detective." I stifle a gasp. What, no one from the Dublin Murder Squad appears in it? "There is no overlap," she confirms. "There's a dead body in there. There is a murder. But the narrator isn't a detective, he's just a guy. A young, nice guy who has always had a pretty charmed existence. But when he is at the lowest point in his life, he suddenly finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation. He has to figure out what to do about it, but also how he wound up there in the first place."

Source: www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/irish-crime-novelist-tana-french-upending-the-whodunit-genre-has-its-rewards-20170731-gxmbne.html
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review 2018-04-03 16:44
Dublin Murder Squad Back on Track!
The Trespasser: A Novel - Tana French

I loved this one. Loved it, loved it. So many call-backs to the previous books. That the one person I hadn't really thought about (O'Kelly, the gaffer for the detectives) was the real guiding force in this one. Antoinette and Stephen were fabulous. All the ugly came out in this one and I think has made them stronger partners. I cannot wait for the next book in this series. 

 

"The Trespasser" follows Antoinette Conway. We were introduced to her in "The Secret Place". It's been 8 months since the events in that book. She is now partnered with Stephen Moran (see "Faithful Place and "The Secret Place") and feels ready to make a change. She was focused on getting on the Murder Squad, but it's not what she thought it would be. She's the subject of jokes, put-downs, someone keeps messing with her and her cases, and she feels like the gaffer (O'Kelly) hates her too since he isn't putting a stop to things. She starts thinking she should put in her papers and go work for a friend at a private security firm. O'Kelly comes in and throws her and Steve (I love that Antoinette does not call him Stephen) what looks like a slam dunk domestic. A woman (Aislinn Murray) is found murdered and though an anonymous call called it in, everyone assumes her boyfriend/husband/etc. killed her. However, things look weird on the scene, and Conway and Moran start thinking that something more sinister is at play here. When Conway and Moran get one of the senior detectives assigned to their case to help them with their witness skills (Breslin) the two of them start to wonder if he could be part of some mysterious cabal that killed Aislinn. 

 

There's a lot going on in this book. Conway we find was raised by a single mother who wouldn't tell her who her real father is. Due to her mother's constant lies about things it caused Conway to run head first into being a police officer. We know that she's really good at her job and she likes partnering with Moran. However, she's getting worn down everyday by fighting with the other detectives in the squad. Initially, Moran thinks it may be a good thing to have Breslin along since maybe Conway can practice being nice (yeah that made me laugh too). When the two of them start to think that Breslin may have something to do with Aislin's murder it becomes interesting to read the tension between Conway and Breslin along with Moran and Breslin. The whole time reading most of this book I felt tense that something terrible could happen to Conway and Moran.

 

I also loved that French went back to having a woman being the POV for one of the Dublin Murder Squad books (I like to pretend "The Likeness" didn't happen) and that she was a WOC. Conway is tough and abrasive at times, but we get little peeks into her throughout this book. She does wonder about her father, but has moved past it. She owns her own home, but did most of the work herself and likes it. She loves to run and that seems to settle her. Doesn't cook and doesn't see the point of it. Her and Moran compliment each other, but even Conway is realizing that if things don't change soon, she's going to have to quit, cause even Moran can't keep a lid on her temper for very long. 

 

Conway's thoughts on the victim were interesting to read/hear. She has some contempt towards Aislin for her home, for her inability to let go of her past and move on from it, and even from her harebrained ideas. I think the contempt was there due to her feeling frustrated with her for not being as strong as Conway was in similar circumstances. 

 

The secondary characters were good in this one. Since the first book, I don't think I had a clear idea who is on the squad, Conway does a great job talking about each detective. There is even some reference to former detectives (Scorcher) too. 

 

The writing was so good. I could follow everything and loved where the book went and you get to who killed Aislin and why. 

The ending was fantastic. I think if you wanted to end the series here you could. Because things come to an end in a way that I had not thought of at all and you have Conway and Moran realizing things that they thought were true were false. 

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review 2018-04-03 16:23
Not as Bad as The Likeness, But Not as Great as Broken Harbor
The Secret Place - Tana French

I thought long and hard about this one, but could not justify giving this above 3 stars. The best parts were the POV with Stephen Moran. The other sections going back and forth to the group of Holly's friends just took me out of the book every time. I thought showing how Stephen and Antoinette closed down a case in a single day was pretty cool, but other than that I had issues with the story-telling, the supernatural elements, and honestly the ending of the book just fell a bit flat. 

 

"The Secret Place" is the 5th book in the Dublin Murder Squad books that Tana French writes. Except for "The Likeness" (which I DNFed pretty hard when I got to the premise of that one) I have really enjoyed all of the books in the series. This one was still a three star read. Maybe if you excise out the sections with the girls you can get up to a five star read.

 

Stephen Moran is on Cold Cases in Dublin. His dream is to get to go work murder cases with the murder squad. He talks about taking his shot years ago (see "Faithful Place") and now he's worried that maybe taking his shot may have hurt him with some people (also see "Broken Harbor"). It's been about 7 years since the events in "Faithful Place".  Frank Mackey's 16 year old daughter Holly comes in looking for Stephen he wonders what she could possibly want. Holly informs him that she goes to the school where a young boy (Chris Harper) was found murdered last year. There's a special bulletin board at her girls school called "The Secret Place" where someone put up a photo of the boy with lettering saying "I Know Who Killed Him." Stephen thinks Holly may be his way into the Murder Squad and goes and meets with the lead detective on it, Antoinette Conway. Conway decides to allow Stephen to accompany her to the girls school and he starts working the case with her.

 

I initially didn't like Stephen. Reading things from Scorcher's POV the last book had me liking this character and thinking what a shit Stephen was. It didn't help that Stephen had comments about Antoinette (he heard she slept with someone to get to where she is today) and the other girls in the story. He seemed to be silently judging everything, but also looking down upon Antoinette for being too abrasive. I slowly came to like him though when I saw that he was working well and liking Antoinette in spite of his fight against it. He talks a lot about finding your perfect partner and realizing that she is that for him. It made me feel sad for Scorcher since he was wanting that too before he decided to retire from the Murder Squad. 

 

The secondary characters when told from Stephen's POV come alive a lot better. He sees better than most I think of other people. And he was better with the group of girls when interviewing. I do think that he was dumb enough to seem to be choosing to be on Holly's side when Frank Mackey eventually shows up. I was pleasantly surprised though when Stephen is shown that his prior actions that he took have consequences. He wants to be better and not some guy who will just do whatever to get ahead. 

 

I think the biggest issue for me was that I didn't like any of the girls. That includes Holly's group (Julia, Rebecca, Selena) and Joanne's group (Gemma, Alison, Orla). I was a teen girl, I know how brutal we can be so Joanne's group of sycophants didn't phase me at all. I agree with Conway that Holly's group was the more dangerous. Mainly because they were not seeing yet how things were going to change when they were adults and how foolish they were to make promises (no boys forever while we are at school) that I could see being a problem down the line.


Out of the girls I did like Holly the best. I thought Julia was foolish as hell when we get into what she did, I didn't like Rebecca and felt indifferent towards Selena. There is one scene with Holly and her parents and she gets a whiff of how things change from school. Her mother comes in from being out with her best friend back when she boarded and how things change in decades. And I think Holly was seeing for the first time you can't live in your friends pockets as much as you would want to. 

 

The writing was so so when we pull out of Stephen's POV. I think deciding to turn all of the other sections into third person POV was a mistake. It took me out of the story. Also the writing started to become repetitive in those sections. Thank you for constantly doing the countdown to how many days Chris Harper had to live (that's sarcasm by the way).

The supernatural elements with the girls was ridiculous. Sorry, I just could not take it seriously. 

 

The flow was wrecked going back from present to past. I started to get seriously annoyed anytime I wasn't reading Stephen's POV. I just wanted to know who did it and for them to be found out by him and Conway. I didn't care anymore about the group of girls. 

 

The setting of the book is mainly at the girls school (St. Kilda's School) over the course of a single day. I liked the whole aspect of the case being wrapped up in a day.

 

The ending didn't surprise me at all. I am curious what happened to all of the players in this one (well not the detectives) when this was all over. Why French jumped back in time to show you who put the photo up on "The Secret Place" I didn't think was all that great. I wish she had fast forwarded a year to the girls graduating to see how they were. 

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text 2018-04-03 02:15
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
The Trespasser: A Novel - Tana French

Wow. So freaking good. I'm going to re-read my favorite parts. It's been eight months since the case that brought them together and Antoinette and Stephen are mostly working domestics. Antoinette is dealing with being the outsider on the squad and not knowing if she wants to put up with slights anymore. A case comes on that had them working a case that may be about forcing her off the squad or something else.

 

No supernatural in this one (thank the goodness). It was great to see a female lead again and a woman of color at that. I loathed the book starring Cassie and I loved this book with Antoinette as the lead. She's a fighter and takes no crap. 

 

With the ending I wonder who the next book will feature. I hope not Quigley, he sucks. 

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