The Trespasser – Tana French

This was an impulse buy from the local Steimatzky’s (bookstore) that turned out to be a surprisingly good read.

Detective Antoinette Conway is part of the Dublin Murder Squad, and she hates it. Primarily, she’s being harassed by some – if not most – of her colleagues. Think college hazing with a bit more spite. The poor girl is at war in her daily work, and it’s a wonder she continues to stick it out.

Then, she is assigned a new case that seems like it’s open and shut, and so should take away some of the tension. A young girl is found dead in her home, the table set for a dinner for two. It has to be the boyfriend. But what are these nagging suspicions Antoinette has, and where does she recognize the deceased from?

The book is dark and desperate in places because that’s the spot that the heroine occupies, as she tries to work out her angst and find a way out of the troubles. Inevitably, she is under pressure to wrap up the case quickly. It doesn’t help she appears to be being stalked, and she is not sure if she can trust her partner.

About half way through, I would have said the only material weakness in the book is that the central character is the only one with real depth. But the second half piled up more on other characters, to the extent there was quite a crowd of them at the end.

The plot is straightforward enough with no real depth, but the atmosphere and the writing is splendid. The tension is real, and the world is all too believable.

I was less than impressed to find this is part of a series – and not the first. I plan on starting again at the beginning. (I do wish publishers would make this more explicit on the cover.)

Good crime fiction, with a spicy, clever female lead character. What’s not to like?