Title: Faithful Place
Author: Tana French
Release Date: July 13, 2010
Rating: 3 out of 5
Frank Mackey, an undercover detective on Dublin’s police force, has been living with the ghosts of his past for a long time. When his sister contacts him and informs him that one of them has reasserted itself, he can’t help but be intrigued. In 1985, the love of his (very young) life, Rosie, abandoned Frank the night they were supposed to run away together. But now it’s looking like the situation may have been more complicated than it seemed, and Frank is drawn back to his family as he tries to discover the truth behind Rosie’s disappearance.
I really enjoyed Tana French’s two previous books In the Woods and The Likeness, so I was waiting for her third novel Faithful Place with breathless anticipation. All I knew about it when I picked it up was that it was yet another mystery novel set in Ireland, and this time it focused on Frank Mackey, a minor character from French’s other books.
Unfortunately, Faithful Place wasn’t quite as engaging as I’d hoped, and as a result, it didn’t really live up to my expectations. It was definitely a competently written novel, and if it was by almost any other author, I probably would have liked it. But because I have such admiration for Tana French and think so highly of her other books, I expected more of this one.
Frank Mackey was definitely a difficult character to like. He was very rough around the edges and didn’t really respect anyone. Frank also chose to do things his own way, rather than trying to work with those around him. Normally, I don’t mind that in a lead character, but throughout the novel I got the distinct sense that Frank thought he was better than everyone else. Additionally, he wasn’t afraid to use (and abuse) people in order to get the answers he wanted.
The mystery in Faithful Place was interesting, but not captivating. I figured out the culprit about halfway through the book, and though that didn’t really diminish my enjoyment of it, I was very surprised at the end that I’d actually deciphered almost everything correctly. French wrote an intriguing mystery, but most of the secondary characters were unlikeable as well, with the notable exception of Frank’s ex-wife, Olivia.
Overall, Faithful Place was a disappointment. After loving Cassie from The Likeness so much, it was difficult to read a book where I was so ambivalent towards the main character. However, Tana French is still a top-tier mystery author for me and I’ll definitely be reading her next book.