Thursday, 22 September 2016

The Trespasser by Tana French

 
published 2016
 
 
Trespasser 3
Trespasser

 


It takes two rings before Lucy answers the intercom, in a voice coated with sleep. ‘‘Lo?’

Steve says, ‘Lucy Riordan?’

‘Who’s this?’

‘Detective Garda Stephen Moran. Could we have a word?’

A long second. Then Lucy says, and the sleep’s fallen off her voice, ‘I’ll be down in a minute.’

She opens the door fast and wide awake. She’s short and fit, the kind of fit you get from life, not from the gym – she wears it like it’s owned, not rented. Platinum hair with a long sweep of fringe falling in her face – pale face with clean quick features, smudges of last night’s mascara. She’s wearing a black hoodie, paint-splashed black combats, nothing on her feet, a lot of silver ear jewellery and what looks to me like a fair-sized hangover. She has bugger-all in common with Aislinn Murray, or with what I was expecting.

We have our IDs out and read. ‘I’m Detective Garda Stephen Moran,’ Steve says, ‘and this is my partner, Detective Garda Antoinette Conway.’ And he pauses. You always leave a gap there.

Lucy doesn’t even look at the IDs. She says, sharp, ‘Is it Aislinn?’
 

commentary: The book has many references to clothes: what people wear is important, the styles of Aislinn and her friend are very different, for good reasons.  We can take note of who has an expensive coat, who has nice-boy clothes. But I have an admission to make, which is that from quite early on I more or less stopped making notes, or seeing those clothes as blog fodder, or anything really except clicking my Kindle as fast as possible. It’s a long book, maybe even repetitious, it could probably have been shortened. But I ripped through it, endlessly anxious to know what happened next, and what the truth was about the case. What more can you ask for from a book?

Earlier this year I did a post on Tana French’s The Secret Place, one of the best books I’ve read this year, and one of the best new-to-me writers I’ve encountered. This is her new book about the Dublin Murder Squad, and, yes, it’s another zinger. Conway and Moran are the two detectives from the earlier book, and they’ve been given what looks like a routine domestic killing: a young woman who was preparing to entertain a young man at home has been murdered. Surely it’s obvious that her date did it? There seems to be pressure for the case to be wrapped up quickly and comfortably. Antoinette and Steve aren’t happy with that – but can’t work out exactly where the problems lie.

The interviews with Aislinn’s friends and acquaintances are very absorbing, and (as with Secret Place) the book takes place over a very short time frame – I was puzzled that a particular witness hadn’t been re-interviewed, but then realized that very little time had passed.

She’s great at descriptions and characters – you feel you know this Dublin and these Dubliners by the end – and she is very funny in glancing lines:
If she slapped him down, his inner Hulk could well have burst his good going-out jumper.
Anyone who turns herself into Barbie because that’s the only way she feels worthwhile needs a kick up the hole, but someone who does it for a revenge mission deserves a few points for determination.
She could have helped him alphabetize the feng shui section. Jaysus, the romance.
The book’s not for the faint at heart – it has harsh language and attitudes, nobody is pulling any punches. There were a few moments where I had mental arguments with the main characters – but everything was more or less resolved in the plotline. But none of that seems to matter anyway, compared with the joy of a book that pins you to your chair and makes you read it.

Blogging friend Cleo at Cleo Loves Books has done a great review of this one, with more details of the plot (she was better at making notes than I was…)

Pictures from Pinterest and ASOS.




















24 comments:

  1. Moira, sometimes I, too, race through ebooks/Kindle on my tab only to find I haven't read more than half a dozen pages. Page numbers in an ebook can be deceptive.

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    1. That's funny Prashant! Kindle can be misleading, though after considerable use I now feel I have something of a feel for how much a Kindle screen represents (don't hold me to that though...)

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  2. Isn't it great when a book has you racing through it, Moira? And Tana French certainly has the skill to do just that. Along with everything else, I like her writing style, too.

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    1. I think she's marvellous Margot, one of the best new-to-me authors I've discovered this year. I'm looking forward to reading all her books, but don't want to rush through them too soon... do you know that feeling?

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  3. Oh dear, it looks like I'm going to have to look out for these books as well. I've seen the name on the bookshelves before, but nowadays there are so many paperbacks with identical looking covers on sale that it's hard to decide what to go for. It's useful to get recommendations.

    I know exactly what it's like to have to reach the end of a book. Some years ago I was reading a Dennis Wheatley thriller called THE GOLDEN SPANIARD. Over the previous few days I had been reading it in a fairly leisurely manner, but the pace hots up incredibly in the last quarter of the book, and instead of reading a chapter before going to sleep I had to read the whole damn before I could go to sleep. It was about three in the morning when I finished, and I felt like death the next day, but at least I knew how it came out!

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    1. Yes - the same books don't work for everyone, but for me Tana French is solid gold.
      I read a lot of Wheatley when I was a teenager, and particularly liked the Duke de Richelieu books, so I wonder if I read the Golden Spaniard then. Whatever, I have just downloaded it to my Kindle! I'll find out if it seems familiar...

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  4. Yes, I must agree on Tana French. Open book, turn pages, don't stop reading until one is finished -- maybe eat a meal or two and sneak in a little sleep. But read it in a rush in a weekend. That's my strategy with her other books and Fred Vargas' and a few others.
    I can't wait. Haven't been disappointed yet although I thought a few needed edited down duplication,, especially A Broken Harbor. But I'll take it, take any of the Murder Squad books and run with them.
    I liked In the Woods, The Likeless and Faithful Place the best. But I'm game for all she writes.
    And a question: IS Aislinn a common Irish name now? I keep seeing it in books and reviews.

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    1. Look for tomorrow's entry Kathy, and see how my resolution to ration out the other books went! I can see I'm going to rip through them all and be waiting for the next one.
      Aislinn (which can be spelled in many ways) has always been a popular Irish name. I have relations called that...

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    2. Those are my three favorites, too, Kathy! I've loved her books since "In the Woods." Wonderfully moody with great characters and a strong sense of place.

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    3. They are just unputdownable, and I don't know how she does it...

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  5. It will be a long time before I get to this one, but glad to hear that you and others enjoy this series of books. I do have to get back to it soon. It seems that it doesn't matter much what order you read them in but since I have #2 and #3, those will be the next ones.

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    1. It doesn't seem to matter too much, though I am doing in order now! I was offered this one in review and absolutely wasn't going to refuse.

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  6. Oh, about Aislinn. I looked at the name and then heard the pronunciation online. It's another name that must be from Gaelic where the spelling and pronunciation in English aren't the same.
    It seems to be pronounced "Ashlinn," which is lovely.
    Irish names are so interesting, like Sinead and Siobham, among others.

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    1. Yes sorry, I meant to give you a phonetic spelling! You are of course right, and those Gaelic names can have very different pronunciations from the way they look. Hence, I suppose, the varied spellings.

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  7. And I just heard from a friend that his son's partner is named Aoife, which coincidentally, is the first name of the actor, Aoife MacMahon, star of the TV series "Random Passage." And again, it's pronounced differently than it's spelled, another Gaelic name.
    How nice -- and my name is so boring an Irish name, but having done research, I discovered that it was originally Caitlyn. A much rarer name than mine.

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    1. I had a friend who was helping in primary school, and was asking a little girl to spell out her name. At first she thought the girl must have got it completely wrong, because it was that very name, Aoife. But she waited, and got the point...

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    2. The actress in the "Moon Boy" show was also called Aoife. I had to google to hear the pronunciation.

      Caitlyn is very popular now in the US and has been for a while. Irish names in general seem to be popular. I knew a Japanese-American family in high school, and all three kids had Irish first names.

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    3. When we lived in the US my children had a friend called Caitlin (must have been born in around 1990)but other people found that unusual then. Fashions in names are so fascinating aren't they?

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    1. Honestly, I'd have thought she'd be right up your street...

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  9. Well, I'm immersed in the Murder Squad in The Trespasser. My gosh, how superior is Tana French's writing to so much other crime fiction out there. I can't stop reading it.

    In fact, I told a friend tonight whom I saw at an event that I had to get home to crack open the book.

    I'm only one-third of the way through it. Most of the book so far is set in the police precinct. But what brilliant dialogue French writes among the cops and their thoughts, Antoinette's real, unabridged thoughts about the other cops and the suspect. It's brilliant stuff.

    I wish my father, the one who introduced me to Sherlock Holmes, Nero Wolfe, etc., could have read this book -- and Fred Vargas' mysteries -- to see superb writing by women. And a lot of others, too, of course, but this dialogue just blows me away.

    And, yes, if anyone doesn't like cursing and crass language, forget it. But some of it is just spot on and hilarious.

    I'm nearly losing the plot with this dialogue and inner thoughts.

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    1. So glad you got a copy and are enjoying it! These books have the true authentic magic, and I agree with all you say.

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  10. I don't know what all of the Irish vernacular means, but I'm managing.

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