Reading dates: 16 December 2018 – 10 January 2019
This is a fine, well-rounded thriller. Tana French cares for all the elements that make up a good novel: language, character (especially the narrator) and plot. She crests every single one of them with flair and attention. The plot is unexpected and, like most crime in real life, takes you somewhere you don’t want to go to but is still credible. Motives are strong in her story and the psychological aspects of the characters’ decision making are well thought out. She writes well and often the descriptions of landscapes and settings are evocative and poetic. She gets the kind of despair in words Ellroy gets in the Black Dahlia and she also reminds me of my favourite Denise Mina, in her descriptions of Glasgow at night. This is high praise from me! My criterion for 5 stars is the certainty that I will re-read it, and I don’t have this feeling with this book (as I want to read the next, and the next). Re-reading is not the default wish after finishing a crime novel, I must say, so I wonder if my criterion is working against the genre itself — although I do want to re-read The Black Dahlia and Garnethill. If it wasn’t for that, I would have given her all the stars.