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Faithful Place: A Novel (Dublin Murder Squad Book 3) [Kindle Edition]

Tana French
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (489 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The "expertly rendered, gripping new novel" (Janet Maslin, The New York Times)-from the bestselling author of In the Woods and The Likeness.



Tana French's In the Woods and The Likeness captivated readers by introducing them to her unique, character-driven style. Her singular skill at creating richly drawn, complex worlds makes her novels not mere whodunits but brilliant and satisfying novels about memory, identity, loss, and what defines us as humans. With Faithful Place, the highly praised third novel about the Dublin Murder squad, French takes readers into the mind of Frank Mackey, the hotheaded mastermind of The Likeness, as he wrestles with his own past and the family, the lover, and the neighborhood he thought he'd left behind for good.



Tana French's newest novel, The Secret Place, will be published by Viking on September 2nd, 2014.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, July 2010: The past haunts in Tana French novels. That which was buried is brought to light and wreaks hell--on no one moreso than Frank Mackey, beloved undercover guru and burly hero first mentioned in French's second book about the Undercover Squad, The Likeness. Faithful Place is Frank's old neighborhood, the town he fled twenty-two years ago, abandoning an abusive alcoholic father, harpy mother, and two brothers and sisters who never made it out. They say going home is never easy, but for Frank, investigating the cold case of the just-discovered body of his teenage girlfriend, it is a tangled, dangerous journey, fraught with mean motivations, black secrets, and tenuous alliances. Because he is too close to the case, and because the Place (including his family) harbors a deep-rooted distrust of cops, Frank must undergo his investigation furtively, using all the skills picked up from years of undercover work to trace the killer and the events of the night that changed his life. Faithful Place is Tana French's best book yet (readers familiar with In the Woods and The Likeness will recognize this as an incredible feat), a compelling and cutting mystery with the hardscrabble, savage Mackey clan at its heart. --Daphne Durham

Sophie Hannah and Tana French: Author One-on-One

Sophie Hannah

Sophie: Someone said to me recently that they found it strange we openly say we like each other's work, when we should surely regard each other as "the competition." I found this idea really weird. As far as I'm concerned, the only competition any writer ought to be interested in is the competition between good writing and bad writing. So, while I get very cross and resentful when a book that I think is terrible does well, I love it when books I think are great do well--I feel that the right side, i.e. good writing, is winning the competition, which I feel benefits me as much as anyone else, because I want to live in a world where brilliant books are valued. Also, if I think a book is better than anything I could write, then I want it to do better than my books in order to reflect that. I suppose what I'm saying is that I want there to be a meritocracy of literature. Would you agree or disagree?

Tana: I'd definitely love a meritocracy of literature--both for reasons of principle (same as you, I get jumping-up-and-down outraged if I see a good book sidelined in favor of what I consider a crap one) and for very practical reasons. It sort of ties in with why I've never seen you as "the competition." I love what you write. I think it's good. If someone picks up one of your books and reads it and likes it, I think it'll whet their appetite for good books--and, specifically, for good psychological crime. That makes them more likely, not less, to go looking for more and wind up reading something of mine.

Sophie, is there anything you wouldn’t write about for ethical reasons? I think mystery’s one of the most moral genres--it’s all about exploring right and wrong, finding truth, achieving justice, how these things are never black and white. We spend a lot of our time thinking about the more dangerous far reaches of morality and immorality. Any ethical lines you wouldn’t cross as a writer?

Sophie: There are no subjects that I think writers shouldn't write about--anything is a valid subject for fiction, and it's possible to handle any subject sensitively or insensitively. I think the ethics are in the way a writer treats a subject, not inherent in the subject itself. Having said that, there are things I don't think I could write about because I find them too horrible--the main one that springs to mind is state-sanctioned execution. If a film or book contains legal execution, I can't watch/read it. I find it too upsetting. The other subject I find too upsetting is fatal illness, especially when the terminally ill person is the loved one of the narrator--so, I guess since I wouldn't read about those things, I wouldn't write about them either! How about you, is there anything you wouldn't write about?

Tana: The one huge ethical issue, for me, is making sure that I give murder and murder victims the weight they deserve. I don't ever want to write something where the victim is simply a prop that's necessary in order for the story to get under way. Murder, taking another human being's life, is so earth-shatteringly huge: it doesn't just take one life, it affects everyone who comes into contact with it--families, friends, detectives working on the case, people who knew the killer.... I feel like using something so immense as a throwaway plot point would be unethical and cheap. I've got a responsibility to show that immensity, as far as possible.

Tana French

I can't see myself ever writing about child abuse, but that's partly because it became so common in mystery books for a while there--either child abuse was the big secret that was revealed at the end, or else it was the killer's reason/excuse for murder. It got cheap. Apart from that, though, I'm not sure I can see myself avoiding a subject (not permanently, anyway) simply because it wrecks my head too badly. One of the reasons I write crime is in a attempt to understand things that I simply can't get my head around--how one human being can kill another, or deliberately damage another (like the sociopath in one of the books). So I tend to come back to the things that horrify me most, trying to understand them by writing about them.

People ask me a lot where I get the ideas for my plots, but someone recently asked me for the first time where I get the ideas for my characters. I thought that was a very cool question, so I’m passing it on. Where do yours come from?

Sophie: I agree with you absolutely about giving the crime the weight it deserves. Which is why I write books that some readers find upsetting. People should be upset about crime! The good thing about crime fiction (usually!) is that it attempts to deal with the worst things that can happen in a way that is uplifting--either because justice is done in the end, or because the light of understanding is shed upon the darkest corners of the human psyche. Even if all you do is understand why a monster behaves monstrously, it helps. I almost think understanding something does more good than fighting against it.

To answer your question, my characters come from the plot idea, always. I always start with an intriguing or mysterious situation, and then I work out how that plot starting point could develop. Usually, in order for it to develop as well as it can, it requires a certain kind of character. For example, in my novel The Dead Lie Down (published as The Other Half Lives in the UK), the opening mystery is that a man appears to be confessing to the murder of a woman who isn't dead. His girlfriend, to whom he confesses, knows that this woman isn't dead--and she's the one who keeps pursuing this until she finds out the truth. I needed her, therefore, to be the sort of person who wouldn't say, "Hang on a minute, you're a nutter, I'm off to find a sane boyfriend." So I thought, "What sort of woman would stay with a man she believed to be deluded?" And that was how the character of Ruth, the heroine, came into being--I gave her a past trauma that explained why she would cling to this man that loves her, even though he's driving her crazy and talking apparent nonsense. So I suppose what I'm saying is, plot comes first for me, and character follows shortly afterwards. Which comes first for you?

Tana: I'm with you on understanding it--I don't think it's possible to fight against evil unless you understand it or at least work to understand it. Otherwise, you're shooting in the dark. There's also the fact that I think the root of all real evil is lack of empathy--the inability to believe at any deep level that other people, people who are different from you, are still real. If I don't accept that people who do evil are real, if I see them as two-dimensional and don't at least accept the possibility of empathizing (not sympathizing, obviously) with their motivations and drives, then I take a step towards evil myself.

Plot and character--I work the other way around: I start with the character of the narrator and with a very basic premise, and then I dive in and hope to God there's a plot in there somewhere. With Faithful Place (my third book) I started out with the image of a battered old suitcase I'd seen thrown away outside a Georgian house that was being gutted--it made me start wondering where it had been found, and what if someone had hidden it there and meant to come back for it and never got the chance.... I had that, and the character of Frank Mackey--he showed up in The Likeness, as Cassie's undercover boss, the guy who'll do absolutely anything, to himself or anyone else, to get his man. I started thinking about the two things together--what if it was Frank's first love who had hidden that suitcase, what if they had been about to run away together, what if he always thought she had dumped him, and what if the suitcase resurfaced...

Sophie: I read a really interesting book recently about human evil. It's called People of the Lie, and it's by M. Scott Peck. Its subtitle is "Towards an Understanding of Human Evil." It's a superb book, and Peck's theory is that evil people are not necessarily those who do great harm, but those who cannot face the reality of their own faults, who have to lie to themselves and pretend they are always good, always in the right--thus making everyone wrong and worse. Peck believes that it's those who constantly lie to themselves about their own undiluted goodness, and sweep all the evidence of their moral flaws under the carpet of their own consciousness, who are truly evil. He sees the lying as a crucial part of the evil. So he would see someone who says, "Yeah, so I killed her? So what?" as less evil than the person who says, "I killed her because she's bad and I'm good, and so it was right to kill her." A lot of "baddies" do harm and don't care--which is obviously terrible, but Peck would say the people who do harm and believe it's good are worse--so people like Hitler, Saddam Hussein. Gordon Brown...just kidding!

Tana: Ooh. Interesting. The idea that evil isn't only in the action itself, but in the distortion of the surrounding reality, the destruction not just of people but of truth. ("We just sexed up the dossier...") That definitely ties in with mystery writing, where everything spins around the deep human impulse towards truth--the whole arc of the books is the movement towards truth, through various obstacles.

Sophie: Do you have a favorite of your books, and, if so, is that the same one as the one you think is the best? I can never decide which of mine I like best--I like them all in different ways, and I think they're all best and worst in different ways!

Tana: I'll probably always have a soft spot for In the Woods, simply because that was the first one and that was the one where, in some ways, I was taking the biggest risk--I put so much time and work and heart into it, I actually turned down acting work to finish it (if you know any actors, you know that turning down work is a HUGE deal, actors are the only people who always want to be working more)--and it was all just on hope, without any reason to think that this book would ever go anywhere except under my bed. I can't be objective enough to have any clue which one's the best, though. I don't think it helps that (maybe because of the different narrators) they're all very different in stuff like pace and tone. Apples and oranges. With the first two, by the time I'd finished all the copy-edits and proof-reads etc, I never wanted to see the bloody book again. That lasted till I saw the advance copies and was so stunned by the fact that this was a real book that I stopped hating the sight of it very fast! With Faithful Place, though, I've finished the proof-reads, haven't seen advance copies yet, and I still don't hate it. I'm hoping this is a good sign. Are there stages in the process when you like/hate yours?

Sophie: My favorite of yours would have to be In the Woods, but I think the best one is Faithful Place. Which means I should like it best, right? But there was one particular thing in In the Woods that I loved--Rob and Cassie's relationship and the way he ended up behaving. I've never come across such a good analysis in any other book of the way commitment-phobic men behave! I love my books when I have the idea, when I write the first hundred pages, and then again when they're in book form with their nice covers on! I hate them between page 100 and when they're finished--because that's when I'm laboring over them, and wondering whether I can make them fulfill the promise of the initial idea--and the end isn't in sight yet, so I feel weary. How important are titles to you? I can't start writing until I've got the title--it's a central part of the inspiration. My American titles are generally different, but I love them--I love all my titles. I hate thriller titles that just sound generic, like Dead Kill or something like that!

Tana: My favorite of yours is probably Hurting Distance because I love the fact that it doesn't focus on a murder. When rape comes up in mystery books, it's usually as an adjunct to the "real" crime of murder, rather than being the crime itself. I also think, without giving away too much, the angle on evil in that one is different from anything I've ever seen explored anywhere else. My favorite of your titles is A Room Swept White, though. I'm truly awful at titles--Faithful Place is the only one I came up with myself, I'm not even going to tell you what the first two books were called when they were living on my computer. I hate the generic wordplay-type titles too, but what I come up with if I'm left to my own devices isn't much better.


Tana French is the bestselling author of In the Woods, which won the Edgar, Barry, Macavity, and Anthony awards, and of The Likeness. She grew up in Ireland, Italy, Malawi, and the United States, and trained as an actor at Trinity College, Dublin. She lives in Dublin with her husband and daughter.

Sophie Hannah is an award-winning poet and crime fiction writer whose novels are international bestsellers.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. French's emotionally searing third novel of the Dublin murder squad (after The Likeness) shows the Irish author getting better with each book. In 1985, 19-yearold Frank Mackey and his girlfriend, Rosie Daly, made secret plans to elope to England and start a new life together far away from their families, particularly the hard-drinking Mackeys. But when Rosie doesn't meet Frank the night they're meant to leave and he finds a note, Frank assumes she's left him behind. For 22 years, Frank, who becomes an undercover cop, stays away from Faithful Place, his childhood Dublin neighborhood. When his younger sister, Jackie, calls to tell him that someone found Rosie's suitcase hidden in an abandoned house, Frank reluctantly returns. Now everything he thought he knew is turned upside down: did Rosie really leave that night, or did someone stop her before she could? French, who briefly introduced Mackey in The Likeness, is adept at seamlessly blending suspenseful whodunit elements with Frank's familial demons.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 613 KB
  • Print Length: 449 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (July 13, 2010)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003NX764O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,948 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
440 of 457 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tana French at Her Best! July 13, 2010
Format:Hardcover
The emotions in Tana French's new book Faithful Place: A Novel explode on the page and inside the reader. I felt tackled by this book. As soon as I started reading it, I was grabbed and held hostage. All my senses were caught up in the narrative. I had difficulty coming up for air even though I knew it was necessary once in a while. I lived this book 24/7 until I had finished it. That's Tana French for you.

The story begins with Frank Mackey, 19 years old, waiting for his true love, Rosie Daly, to meet him. They have plans to run away from their dysfunctional homes and neighborhood in Dublin to make a new life together in England. They are totally and fiercely in love as only first loves can be. Rosie never shows up. Frank waits until morning and then proceeds alone, never knowing what happened to Rosie but thinking, deep down, that she'd changed her mind and decided not to go with him. He doesn't make it as far as England but he does manage to start a new life for himself in Dublin.

Ever since that time, Frank keeps hoping that he'll hear from Rosie. No one in her family, nor any of her friends know where she is and no one has heard from her. Frank hears nary a word, ever.

Faithful Place, the neighborhood he's leaving, is close to Trinity College but is a world away. People in `The Place' "stank of stale nicotine and stale Guinness, with a saucy little top-note of gin". People held grudges and if they were not on the dole, they worked at the Guiness plant or at odd jobs. Those who worked regularly had nothing to show for it. You knew everyone and heard conversations and arguments going on from windows and in the streets.
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102 of 116 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you haven't read Tana French's In the Woods and The Likeness: A Novel, then now is definitely the time to start acquainting yourself with this great author. With every new novel (and this is her third one) Tana French is showing signs of a creative growth that are nothing short of remarkable. I have been eagerly awaiting the release of her Faithful Place: A Novel and I'm happy to report that this novel will not disappoint either French's fans or her new readers who are only now discovering her work.

Tana French's writing is beautiful. She has a way of describing modern-day Ireland that will leave you completely enamored of this fascinating country. In my opinion, nobody creates more powerful descriptions of today's Dublin than this writer. French's sentences are always beautifully constructed, the characters are incredibly well-crafted, and the plot lines are engrossing.

The best thing about Tana French for me is her capacity to create a very unique first-person perspective in every one of her novels. Each book is narrated in a voice that is very unique and absolutely unforgettable. Faithful Place: A Novel is very different in terms of its first-person narrator from French's previous two novels. Her fans are used to this author creating very endearing, complex characters whom you cannot fail to admire. In this new novel, however, we encounter a very different kind of character. Francis Mackey is not an extremely attractive character, to say the least.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The titular words are a quote from the novel. It begins with the recollections of Francis "Frank" Mackey about a pivotal event when he was nineteen. Late one December night he slipped out of his miserable Dublin home for a rendezvous with his lover, Rosie Daly. They planned to elope, leaving for London. But she never showed, and Frank never saw her again. He found a note from her which seemed to indicate that she was dumping him and leaving alone. Likely, she had crossed into England and never looked back, cutting off contact with her own unhappy family and her cold, tyrannical father.

Twenty-two years have passed; Frank has married and divorced. Now, he's an undercover detective for "the Guard," the Dublin police. The very suitcase surfaces that Rosie took with her that fateful December night, and it's fully packed. This leads Frank to hunt for Rosie. What follows is a most suspenseful crime story. It's also a brilliant study of family dynamics.

Frank has a large family with large problems. That's why he had been willing to run away to London. He hates his abusive father, and has very few warm feelings for his mother and older brother. It seems Frank is surrounded by hard-drinking people who get mean(er) when they're drunk. They are profane and violent. Crude and rude. And hanging over it all is a dreary culture of poverty.

Author Tana French is a master wordsmith. She has great insight into what makes humans tick, both on the dark and bright side. She looks at the Mackey family and the other key characters up close and personal. She has Frank tell the story himself, and Frank casts grave doubts on his own character. The reader wonders if Frank has indeed been driven insane by his own twisted family.

Most highly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars little noir
Interesting scenes of a mans painful childhood. I could identify with a lot of the dynamics and culture. Will stay with me.
Published 1 day ago by JerseyGran
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Found it very interesting much more than I expected.
Published 1 day ago by IRIS SELBERG
4.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book!
With each book, I am more amazed by Tana French's talent. I have read some of the negative reviews and can only glean from them that they are from readers that prefer straight up... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Sierra
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm after not loving this one.
I usually love her books, but this one is a bit of a snore, as it's very repetitive. She is a master of character development, but I think she went a little overboard with Francis... Read more
Published 19 days ago by M F Pierce
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Best so far in the series.... And I've enjoyed the series. Charecters were jumping of the page.
Published 20 days ago by Jill E. McIlroy
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Well written book for the genre. Gives you a real sense of the place and people she is writing about
Published 21 days ago by Gilbert Rodier
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended mystery
Tana French writes about homicide detectives in Dublin. It's not exactly a serial, but you see the same characters appear in more than one of her books. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Pamela H.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The book was in great condition when I received it.
Published 27 days ago by Debbie Schlueter
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written but...
I can say I enjoyed the likeness and loved into the woods. I was looking forward to learn more about Frank and hope to hear more about him in the next book.
Published 28 days ago by jetaime mayve
5.0 out of 5 stars I have read all of her current books and recommend them to my friends...
I can not wait for Tana French's new book. I have read all of her current books and recommend them to my friends looking for a great read. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
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More About the Author

Tana French grew up in Ireland, the US, Italy and Malawi. She trained as an actress at Trinity College Dublin and has worked in theatre, film and voiceover. She is the author of In the Woods (2007), The Likeness (2008) and Faithful Place (2010). Her books have won Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, Barry and ICVA Clarion awards and have been finalists for LA Times and Strand Magazine awards. She lives in Dublin with her husband and daughter.

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