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The Trespasser: A Novel Hardcover – October 4, 2016
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An Amazon Best Book of October 2016: Detectives Steve Moran and Antoinette Conway are now partners on the Murder Squad. They’ve been handed a case that at first looks like every other low-energy domestic they’ve ever been given--but during a routine interview, the murdered woman’s friend drops a clue that leads them to suspect this could be bigger than they had imagined. Much bigger. Contentious squad room politics add to their frustration as the detectives are led in conflicting directions by red herrings, dead ends, and warped perceptions. The Trespasser kept me happily discombobulated, guessing at an ending that I didn’t see coming. And that is what makes Tana French one of the best thriller writers out there. --Seira Wilson, The Amazon Book Review
“A tour de force…When you read Ms. French—and she has become required reading for anyone who appreciates tough, unflinching intelligence and ingenious plotting—make only one assumption: All of your initial assumptions are wrong.”
—Janet Maslin, The New York Times*
"Tana French is the most interesting, most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years."
—The Washington Post
"[Tana French] inspires cultic devotion in readers…most crime fiction is diverting; French's is consuming."
—The New Yorker
“Atmospheric and unputdownable.”
"A fierce examination of the chasm between how women choose to present themselves before the world and the more complicated truth underneath--and not to mention a total page-turner."
“Beautifully crafted . . . may be her best yet.”
“This is the kind of book you’ll want to dig into with all the lights on.”
—Cup of Jo
“There's nothing standard about French's approach to crime fiction, which plays the form much like a jazz musician improvising on a standard. Even when the outlines of the mystery seem familiar…she finds a way to get at enriching themes and powerful emotional truths in fresh and surprising ways.”
“As in all of the author's work, meaning lurks beneath every quip and glance. French not only spins a twisty cop tale, she also encases it in meticulous prose, creating a read that is as elegant as it is dark."
Praise for Tana French
“To say Tana French is one of the great thriller writers is really too limiting. Rather she’s simply this: a truly great writer.”
“Terrific—terrifying, amazing, and the prose is incandescent.”
“French is a poet of mood and a master builder of plots.”
—Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post
“One of the most distinct and exciting new voices in crime writing.”
—The Wall Street Journal
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Top Customer Reviews
The novel is about partners Antoinette and Stephen who are handed a case that appears easy enough to solve - a lover's tiff gone wrong. While that is the basis of the novel, there are actually several different storylines and so many moving parts to this story that you wonder how it will all weave together. French is particularly adept at writing a story that, while having many twists and turns, never comes at you like a punch in the gut. In fact, as developments occur in the novel, a part of you is left wondering how she managed to pull the wool over your eye enough that it was still a surprise, yet not such a surprise that you had to reread the novel to look for clues as to how you missed it. For this reason, there is no other author in my arsenal that I feel even comes close to her skill level as an author.
Another reason that Tana French is so gifted is because she is always able to create the most complex characters. Her characters are so raw, so deep, that you feel as if you know them. You experience every shift in their case with them; you quicken your breath when they quicken theirs; you need a moment to step away from the novel when things don’t go as planned. You want to reach through the book and tell your characters, BE CAREFUL! when you feel they’re taking unnecessary risks. French is an absolute genius at creating these real life characters whose presence in your life becomes bigger than just fiction.
I have to mention that there is a scene towards the end of the book that I read with a quickening breath and my nerves felt fried. It was as if I was there myself and the suspense leading up to the moment absolutely took my breath away. I’ve only ever experienced such emotions during real life cases I was following on the telly, or documentaries, etc.
Please do yourself a favor and read all of Tana French’s books, if you have not already. Don’t start with this one but begin with her first and then continue. The reason being is because while all of them are amazing, her writing style truly develops as she writes and therefore each one becomes better than the last.
I tried to read this book as slowly as I could, to make it last as long as I could, but I never stood a chance. I would like to thank Tana French for the joy of being able to experience yet another novel that left me speechless.
At first glance, this case seems like a cut and dried domestic situation; why else would Conway and Moran get it? But the perceptive Antoinette senses unusual interest by the squad’s chief and the assignment of a senior detective to “help” them. And then there is the pressure to wrap up the case with the first convenient suspect.
As typical for this author, she is inside the heads of her investigators as they uncover obscure, yet important, details of the victim’s past. However, they have to keep a lot of it to themselves not knowing what sort of agenda is at play within the Murder Squad.
In some ways, this is a messy story. The Murder Squad muddle is front and center and carries over into a not entirely satisfactory ending. Nonetheless, all of the author’s books are very complex and interesting and this one is no exception.
Conway suspects that if she doesn't solve this one, she is out of the Murder squad. It's her first big case as lead detective, but, for the most part, she has been razzed and dumped on--the only female on the Dublin Murder Squad, and she's also forceful and assertive, something that doesn't go over well with some of the other detectives. She feels that this case could set things right for her. Conway's worries about her job is part of the book's suspense.
As French often does, the question of family and relationships factor in to the motif and the murder case at hand, although at a remove that is handled with care. In the prologue, Conway is remembering how her mother spun quite some yarns about Antoinette’s absent father (an Egyptian prince! A Brazilian guitarist!), so that she never learned the truth about him. This recalled the theme about fathers in THE LIKENESS, and the pain that a daughter suffers in the fallout. In THE TRESPASSER, French explores this, and also casts characters that are willing to mold their lives around the fantasies of others.
Tana Fans (including myself) do not want a review with a blow-by-blow of what happens—the anticipation and coming into it cold bring the warmth to our viscera as the pages turn and we get deeper and more fully into the story. In this, we are thoroughly in Conway’s head, and her thoughts, feelings, and actions are all happening NOW and in the present or immediate past. Usually, it works, but it also has some limiting features, such as weighing it down with exposition. I missed the atmospherics that French has done so well in the past. And there was no opportunity to infer because Conway generally beat me to the punch. Too, we know that Conway is a reliable narrator; she may have a few momentary thinking errors, or doubts, but we are privy to those. The tension, essentially, isn’t commanding. But we care about Conway, and her partnership with Moran, and we come to care about the victim, through other characters.
If you are a Tana French aficionado, this is a must-read. If this is your first visit to the author, go back and read IN THE WOODS, also, for a memorable and eerie murder mystery. THE TRESPASSER may not be French’s best effort, but the provocative theme will register and resonate with anyone who is inclined to live inside the stories of others. The sense of possibility that both salvages and traps you--the frenzy for the story and all its prospects. How hard it is to beat the fantasy, to make yourself into a revision. It's lonely, exciting, impossible, and defining.