Book review: The Searcher by Tana French

I love Tana French’s writing – her descriptions are beautiful and her characters are multi-dimensional and always feel real. However, she’s also incredibly versatile which means you never quite know what you’re going to get with her books.

Retired US police officer Cal Hooper moves to a remote village in rural Ireland where he plans to refurbish a ramshackle cottage and enjoy the peaceful surroundings, “watching the owls and letting the rest of the world take care of itself”. But when a local kid Trey asks for his help to find Trey’s missing brother, Cal finds himself getting drawn in.

It’s hard to beat The Wych Elm or the first Dublin murder squad mystery, but this is a very different story so it’s best to put preconceptions aside and judge it on its own. The title calls to mind a Western and the author has described this book as an Irish Western which makes sense – a tough but principled individualist newcomer trying to restore justice in a hostile environment, set against a sweeping, rugged landscape. It’s interesting to see how Cal tackles this mystery without all the advantages he’s been used to in the police squad.

I enjoyed the book which feels like the introduction to a series. I was intrigued by Cal and felt I got to know him but that there’s more to discover in future books. The dialogue as usual felt real and was full of warmth, and I loved the building of trust and friendship between the two main characters.

Although the story unfolds at a slow pace with too much animal shooting and skinning for a vegetarian like me, it has a wonderful sense of place. I could visualise the remote setting and lines like “The air was rich as fruitcake” kept me reading.

If you enjoy a beautifully observed, character-driven detective mystery, The Searcher is well worth a read.

The Searcher is published by Penguin. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a copy with no obligation to review.

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2 thoughts on “Book review: The Searcher by Tana French

  1. thank you for your interesting review. New author for me. Always good to be introduced to new books – especially at this time. Hope you are keeping safe. We returned from Italy late Monday night. Now quarantining for two weeks. Stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

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