“The Trespasser,” Tana French’s latest Dublin Murder Squad mystery, is not as terrifying as “Broken Harbor” (2013), which took place in a half-finished house after the economy collapsed. Nor is it as imaginative as “The Secret Place” (2014), which centered on a private girls’ school.
No, “The Trespasser” will mess with your head in a whole different way. The narrator, Detective Antoinette Conway, is full-out paranoid. And the thing we don’t know is: Should she be? (Just because she’s paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get her.)
She knows the guys in Murder don’t like her — she’s a woman, and a mixed-race woman at that. They steal her reports, spit in her coffee, urinate in her locker. (Or some of them do. Or one of them does. Or all of them do.)
When she is made lead investigator on what appears to be a cut-and-dried domestic killing, are the other guys in Murder leaning on her because she’s slow? Or because they have something to hide? Can she trust the witnesses? Can she trust her partner? Can she trust her boss?
Perhaps a bit too much exposition takes place in conversation: French relies on long interviews with witnesses and suspects. But she also keeps things moving at a snappy pace, and even when you figure out who did it, you still have no idea how Conway is going to prove it.
Everyone in this book has a story, and all of the stories are untrue — the dead woman, her boyfriend, all of the witnesses, even the cops. “The Trespasser” is a rich examination of how we tell ourselves stories in order to get through life. And it’s a gripping whodunit, too.
Laurie Hertzel is the Star Tribune’s senior editor for books.
By: Tana French.
Publisher: Viking, 449 pages, $27.