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Book DetailsISBN: 9780241459416
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Book Review: The Searcher: The mesmerising new thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Wych Elm by Tana French - Reviewed by Sarah (10 Nov 2020)
The Searcher is quite different from Tana French's more action-packed Dublin Murder Squad series. It's more of a slow-burn psychological drama/mystery, and is at least as much character- as plot-based. I really enjoyed reading it. Retired Chicago detective Calvin (Cal) Hooper has bought a run-down rural property near the (fictional) village of Ardnakelty in western Eire (Ireland), and is in the process of restoring it to a habitable state. He has begun to make acquaintance with several of the local farmers, and often enjoys a drink at the local public house. Ever the detective, Cal realises that someone's hanging around his property and covertly observing him, and one day he manages to flush out local 13-year-old, Trey Reddy, and slowly begins to gain the child's trust. It transpires that Trey's older brother, Brendan, disappeared without trace several months previously, and Trey is desperate for Cal's help in trying to find out what's happened to him. Has he simply left his poverty-stricken family behind, to seek work in Dublin or England, or has something more sinister befallen him? Reluctant at first, Cal is gradually dragged into the search for Brendan, despite frequent warnings from friends and strangers, some violent, to leave the matter alone. Tana French's writing evokes the beauty of the natural landscape of rural Ireland, as well as the day-to-day struggles faced by many who live there. The characters of Cal and Trey are well-developed and multi-faceted and there's a strong and varied cast of supporting characters. Underpinning the unfolding drama is Cal's sense of isolation and not knowing who to trust, as a newcomer to a place where everyone knows everyone else's business, often for generations back. Enmities and alliances run deep and are not always evident on the surface. I found the developing understanding between Cal and Trey, who have both become prickly "loners" for their own reasons, fascinating and heart-warming. The Searcher is an engrossing and beguiling novel, and well worth the read for those who enjoy a more literary style of character-driven crime drama or mystery. My thanks to the author, publisher Penguin UK and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this title.
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