20 Feb Searching for a good Thriller? Read The Searcher by Tana French: A Review
Having read A Secret Place and Broken Harbour and enjoyed both, when the kind bookies at Penguin Random House SA sent me a copy French’s latest novel, I was of course going to rip through this one.
About the Book
Retired detective Cal Hooper moves to a remote village in rural Ireland. His plans are to fix up the dilapidated cottage he’s bought, to walk the mountains, to put his old police instincts to bed forever.
Then a local boy appeals to him for help. His brother is missing, and no one in the village, least of all the police, seems to care. And once again, Cal feels that restless itch.
Something is wrong in this community, and he must find out what, even if it brings trouble to his door.
I am a Tana French fan. I am an all-things-crime-thriller fan and French is elevated enough in her style and plot-building that I don’t think it is as much of a guilty-pleasure read as other crime thrillers might be for me.
The Searcher starts off setting up Cal Hopper, an American who has moved a rural town in Ireland, establishing the man. While we all know this tried-and-tested trope of ‘the smaller the town the darker the secrets’, Tana French executes on it so wonderfully that you don’t really mind she’s done it. When a young boy (Trey) turns up on Cal’s doorstep looking for his brother, it’s Cal’s detective background that gets the better of him, leading to him agreeing to find out what happened. However, the more Cal digs the more trouble he finds. I fear I’m making this sound like the dime-a-dozen crime thriller that’s already out there, that you’ve read before, but the characterisation and build-up in this novel is what makes it worth reading. Through French’s writing you learn about the characters, their lives and, as their rich histories unfold, you begin to love them — leaving me fully invested in the wellbeing of both Cal and Trey.
This isn’t an intricate book of hidden weavings and clever secrets. It is fairly cookie-cutter, but Tana French really does write outstanding characters whose lives I became invested in. It is an easy, atmospheric and quick read that I’m happy to recommend.
3 out of 5 stars
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