Penguin| 5 November 2020| 400 pages| Review copy| 5*
I enjoyed The Searcher very much. For the most part this standalone mystery novel moves quite slowly, but it held my attention right from the beginning. It certainly isn’t a book to rush through, rather it’s one to savour. The main characters are Cal Hooper and thirteen-year old Trey Reddy living in Ardnakelty, a remote Irish village. After twenty five years in the Chicago police force, Cal has recently moved to the village, wanting to build a new life after his divorce. He is a loner and wants a quiet life in which nothing much happens. But he finds himself getting involved in the search for Brendan, Trey’s older brother who had gone missing from home.
Cal is a methodical man, slowly doing up his run-down cottage and getting to know the locals – his neighbour Marty, Noreen who runs the village shop, her sister Lena and above all, Trey. I liked the slow build up to the mystery, and I loved Tana French’s beautiful descriptions of the Irish rural landscape. It’s the sort of book I find so easy to read and lose myself in, able to visualise the landscape and feel as if I’m actually there with the characters, watching what is happening.
But this is no ‘cosy’ crime fiction novel. Trey is like a dog with a bone and won’t let Cal give up when it looks as though they will never discover why Brendan left and what had happened to him. I realised after a while what could have happened to Brendan, but I hadn’t foreseen the twists and turns in this book, one of which really surprised me. The ending is terrific. The tension builds and builds as Cal and Trey find themselves in danger. Above all, it is about family relationships, responsibility and friendship. It is atmospheric, spellbinding, and compelling reading. Tana French is a great storyteller.
Many thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for my review copy.