Best Book of 2020
New York Times |NPR | New York Post
"This hushed suspense tale about thwarted dreams of escape may be her best one yet . . . Its own kind of masterpiece." --Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post
"A new Tana French is always cause for celebration . . . Read it once for the plot; read it again for the beauty and subtlety of French's writing." --Sarah Lyall, The New York Times
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.
"One of the greatest crime novelists writing today" (Vox) weaves a masterful, atmospheric tale of suspense, asking how to tell right from wrong in a world where neither is simple, and what we stake on that decision.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Even moving halfway around the world can’t stop a true detective from doing what he does best. Seeking a fresh start, retired police investigator Cal Hooper relocates from Chicago to a ramshackle cottage in the Irish village of Ardnakelty. Soon, he strikes up a friendship with a teenage boy named Trey whose brother has gone missing—and none of the locals seem to give a toss. This pulls Cal into old habits as he digs into the circumstances of the boy’s disappearance and shakes things up in his adopted hometown. Fans of Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series will appreciate the change of pace of this mystery about a lone wolf who faces resistance from the suspicious locals at every turn. French is a master of creating an unsettling atmosphere that leaves you spooked without quite knowing why. The Searcher is just that kind of delicious creepy.
After 25 years as a Chicago cop, Cal Hooper, the protagonist of this superb standalone from Edgar winner French (The Witch Elm), decided he needed a change. So he moved to a village in the West of Ireland, "no bigger than the little end of nothing," where people leave their doors unlocked. After three months, his prosaic new life ends when he's sought out by 12-year-old Trey Reddy, who has learned of Hooper's former profession. Trey fears something bad has happened to his 19-year-old brother, Brendan, who hasn't been seen in about six months. Because their mother, Sheila, is convinced Brendan took off on his own, Trey hasn't gone to the police, though the boy's certain his brother wouldn't have done that. Despite Hooper's cynicism ("Anyone could do anything," he thinks), he agrees to look into the matter, starting with questioning Sheila. The more Hooper digs, the more he finds that his new community conceals dark secrets. Insightful characterizations, even of minor figures, and a devastating reveal help make this a standout. Crime fiction fans won't want to miss this one.
Solid 4 stars
Brings the reader to a locale they’ve likely never been before.
All the characters are well drawn, the plot hangs together, and the outcome is realistic.
It was my first Tana French but not my last.
I love this author and liked parts of this book. The ending was unsatisfying and seemed lazy vs the mystery being figured out. I’ll read her again. There’s a huge section in the middle that serves no purpose and was annoying.
Unlike any mystery I've ever read.
Unlike any other mystery I've ever read. Total suspense but you won't realize it until the end.
While there are specific clues, the whole story from the retired cop's view is the main clue. Good luck!
Excellent and unique writer.