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“The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.”
― Voltaire

Faithful Place - Tana French An unexpected pleasure. While French is ostensibly writing murder mysteries, she is also writing thoughtful psychological profiles of a detective heavily involved in the case. In Faithful Place we dive into Undercover Detective Frank's history, following him as he is drawn back into drama from a home he left decades ago. A suitcase discovered in an abandoned house opens up a host of memories and leads to the discovery of a dead woman. He finds very little of his dysfunctional family has changed, and resolves to leave them behind once more as soon as the case is in competent hands. While the mystery pulls the reader in and subtly drives the plot, the focus is equally on character, relationships and setting. French is brilliant at capturing the mood of a place and time, wrapping it up in a small snow globe--and then shaking it up on the unfortunate lead character. It becomes evident that Frank is replicating many of his father's dysfunctional behaviors in his family interactions. Interestingly for me, I've been able to identify the murderer in both the books I've read. I've come to suspect this is deliberate on the part of French, giving the reader further insight into the lead's particular emotional short-sightedness, and building suspense around that fault line. It's an unusual and delicate narrative choice, but I think French handles it well without much loss of tension.I wondered somewhat at some of the descriptive choices, especially musical, that clearly anchor the story to a specific place and time. The family discussing a potential national economic disaster stands out as well. Somehow it felt jarring more than evocative, but those instances were rare. My most serious quibble comes from the narrative voice; I found myself not entirely believing in Frank's narrative from the perspective of a middle-aged, rough-edged undercover cop. Mostly, I found myself wondering at dichotomy between the sensitivity and nostalgia of his memories, the fact that he seemed emotionally stuck at eighteen after a tragic first love, and his isolated, ruthless existence as a undercover detective. Scenes with his informant in the investigating squad came closest to the manipulation and ruthlessness I expected after reading The Likeness. Overall, however, the writing and character development shines, and I will undoubtedly read French's next book.