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Faithful Place by Tana French

Third book in French's "Dublin Murder Squad" series.

I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Tana French is a New York Times best-selling author of two earlier “Dublin Murder Squad” series. Faithful Place is her third. She grew up in Ireland, Italy, Malawi, and the US. She also trained as an actor at Trinity College, Dublin, where she currently lives.

The story begins. ‘Back in nineteen-eighty-five, Frank Mackey was nineteen, growing up poor in Dublin’s inner city and living crammed into a small flat with his family on Faithful Place.  But he had his sights set on a lot more. He and his girl, Rosie Daly, were all set to run away to London together, get married, get good jobs, and breakaway from factory work and poverty and their old lives.’ // ‘On the winter night when they were supposed to leave, Rosie didn’t show. Frank took for granted she left him. He never went home again. […] Twenty-two years later, Rosie’s suitcase shows up behind a fireplace in a derelict house on Faithful Place.  Frank returns home.’

“Here’s the real risk in Undercover, in the field and out: you create illusions for long enough, you start thinking you’re in control. It’s easy to slide into believing you’re the hypnotist here, the mirage master, the smart cookie who knows what’s real and how all the tricks are done. The fact is you’re still just another slack-jawed mark in the audience. No matter how good you are, this world is always going to be better at this game. It’s more cunning than you are, it’s faster and it’s a whole lot more ruthless. All you can do is try to keep up, know your weak spots and never stop expecting the sucker punch” (3-4)

Chapter Three. “I have a camel-type approach to sleep: I stock up when I get the chance, but I can go for a long time if something else needs doing. I spent that night staring at the dark lump of the suitcase under the window, listening to Da snore and getting my head in order, ready for the next day. // The possibilities were tangled up like spaghetti, but two stuck out. One was the line I’d fed my family, a minor variation on the same old theme. Rosie had decided to fly solo, so she stashed the suitcase early, for a quick getaway with less chance of being snarled by her family or by me; when she went back to pick it up and drop off the note, she had to go through the back gardens, because I was watching the road” (37).

Frank is quite clever—but is he clever enough? Tana French has created an exceptionally stunning story in Faithful Place to work out the answers. 5 Stars!

Likely Stories is a production of KWBU.  I’m Jim McKeown.  Join me again next time for Likely Stories, and happy reading!