Today I’m very excited to share my review for Tana French’s new novel, The Searcher. I’m a big fan of hers – read on to learn more about the book and find out what I thought…
Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a remote Irish village would be the perfect escape. After twenty-five years in the Chicago police force, and a bruising divorce, he just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens.
But then a local kid comes looking for his help. His brother has gone missing, and no one, least of all the police, seems to care. Cal wants nothing to do with any kind of investigation, but somehow he can’t make himself walk away.
Soon Cal will discover that even in the most idyllic small town, secrets lie hidden, people aren’t always what they seem, and trouble can come calling at his door.
Our greatest living mystery writer weaves a masterful tale of breath-taking beauty and suspense, asking how we decide what’s right and wrong in a world where neither is simple, and what we risk if we fail.
The Searcher is an intense, slow burner of a novel which does have elements of mystery and crime in, but this wasn’t the main crux of the novel. The story centers on Cal’s life in rural Ireland having moved from America; the way he becomes entangled with teenager Trey, who he helps to look for his missing older brother, is a vehicle for their friendship but the mystery side of the story wasn’t what drew me in, which is unusual for me! I was far more captivated by Cal and Trey’s bond.
The story took a good 30% to draw me in as it starts off quite slow. I definitely found I was gripped much quicker when reading her other novels – particularly the Dublin Murder Squad series that I’m such a big fan of. This novel is significantly different from those so can’t really be compared fairly – the atmosphere and setting of the story really took me to that remote Irish village and I enjoyed reading about the interesting characters – Cal, Lena, Mart, Noreen, Trey, and others. I felt like I was right there with them, among the wild landscape and gritty everyday lives, where things are much more rough and ready than city life.
Various important topics are addressed in The Searcher. We hear Cal’s memories and thoughts of his previous life in Chicago working as a cop, and the police brutality which eventually caused him to step away from the job, as well as issues such as homophobia and classism. Trey is from a poor family and often speaks of how his family are judged by others because of this; the locals comment so often on families that are seen as trouble or rough, and this illustrates how embedded these judgements are.
I also liked that, where there could have been romance, French kept the story realistic and understated; the female character in question is a really strong woman who I immediately liked and she certainly isn’t falling into Cal’s arms – in fact we don’t see any real romance take place, despite other people in the village adding the pressure. Still we hear other characters say ridiculous things to Cal warning him about speaking to multiple women in case they start fighting over him, etc, which further shows the gossipy nature of the village. It also highlights how people are so fixated on relationships and women wanting to find partners.
I really enjoyed The Searcher novel and would recommend it to anyone looking for an atmospheric, multi-layered read.
Many thanks to Viking Books for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review, and inviting me onto the blog tour.
The Searcher is released in the UK on Thursday 5 November – pre-order or buy a copy on Amazon, A Great Read or Waterstones.
About the author
Tana French is the New York Times bestselling author of In the Woods, The Likeness, Faithful Place, Broken Harbor, The Secret Place, The Trespasser, The Witch Elm and The Searcher.
Her books have won awards including the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity and Barry Awards, the Los Angeles Times Award for Best Mystery/Thriller, and the Irish Book Award for Crime Fiction.
Tana lives in Dublin with her family.