by Tana French
In this latest installment by Tana French, Det. Antoinette Conway and her partner, Det. Stephen Moran of the Dublin Murder Squad take center stage. Handed what on its surface appears to be a textbook domestic abuse-turned-murder case to deal with, Det. Conway and Det. Moran quickly realize that all is not as it appears. Battling sexism in the squad adds to the complexity of trying to solve a murder case. Gathering evidence and interviewing parties with different connections to the murder victim lead Conway and Moran on what ends up being a wild goose chase – possibly intentionally. In the end, who killed Aislinn Murray and why threatens to blow the Dublin Murder Squad apart.
I’ve been a devoted reader of Tana French since her first novel, In the Woods, was published a few years back. Some of her novels I’ve liked more than others (the above-mentioned In the Woods, as well as The Likeness and Faithful Place, stand out). The Trespasser is a superb whodunnit, but I was put off by Det. Antoinette Conway’s character. She’s written as a little too tough-as-nails to be believable or likable. While I appreciate French’s representation of sexism in the workplace, Conway feels like a bit of an overcompensation – an over-the-top cisgender, heterosexual anti-female. I was also put off by Conway’s use of “retard” and “fucktard” in the story. Come on, Ms. French. Do we really have to continue to use slurs against marginalized people in an effort to be edgy?
Worth reading if you like police procedurals/murder mysteries, but with caveats.