Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Trespasser by Tana French

It seems like a routine murder, maybe one step up from the dreary domestic cases Antoinette Conway has become used to getting in her two years on the Dublin Murder Squad.  She and her partner, Stephen Moran, head out to the scene when given the call by the boss, even though they are due to go home.  The victim, Aislinn Murray, is all dressed up with the house ready for an intimate dinner with someone.  She has fallen backward onto the fireplace, striking her head and bleeding out.

It seems an easy case at first.  Lover's quarrel gone wrong.  Boyfriend arrives for dinner, something goes awry, a fight occurred, maybe a shove, and suddenly it's tragedy.  When they find the man who is coming to dinner, he seems ready-made for the scenario.  Rory Fallon is hesitant, a bit of a nerd, someone who seemed unlikely to attract the stunning Aislinn.  His story is that they met at his bookstore a month or so ago.  They went out to dinner, had a drink and this was the first visit to Aislinn's house and a big step forward in their relationship.  He is puzzled and angry when he arrives, rings the bell, waits a bit, texts and then phones her, but never gets a response.  After waiting a half hour or so, he finally decides she is blowing him off for some reason and that he has been made a fool.  He stomps off angrily and walks home.

The veteran detective, Breslin, helping with the case, is sure it's the routine story it seems to be and is pushing for a quick arrest.  But Conway isn't sure.  Aislinn's best friend is sure that Aislinn is over the top crazy about this new man in her life.  She thinks there may be another man around, one that Aislinn is trying to move out of her life.  Other strange things occur.  Antoinette sees a man scoping out her street a couple of times.  When she goes out to confront him, he is gone.  The local pushy newspaper reporter all of a sudden feels free to go over the line and make Antoinette look incompetent and lazy, a move he'd never have had the nerve to do before.  Conway is not a favorite on the squad, being the only woman.  She has faced two years of harassment and her only friend is her partner and now she's not sure of him either.  Can she close the case without making the mistake that gets her punted off the squad?

Tana French is one of the shining stars of mystery writing.  Her forte is character development, giving the reader an inside look at the case and personality of a Murder Squad detective as the case slowly unfolds.  There is always lots going on beneath the surface and betrayal and evil are quick to slow their faces.  Her forte is the stunning conclusion and this novel doesn't disappoint in that regard.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.

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