Today dear readers I am on the blog tour for The Searcher (Published 5th November 2020) By Tana French. A big thank you to the publishers Viking Books for my copy to review and also for the invite, always appreciated.
Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a remote Irish village would be the perfect escape. After twenty-five years in the Chicago police force, and a bruising divorce, he just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens.
But then a local kid comes looking for his help. His brother has gone missing, and no one, least of all the police, seems to care. Cal wants nothing to do with any kind of investigation, but somehow he can’t make himself walk away.
Soon Cal will discover that even in the most idyllic small town, secrets lie hidden, people aren’t always what they seem, and trouble can come calling at his door.
Our greatest living mystery writer weaves a masterful tale of breath- taking beauty and suspense, asking how we decide what’s right and wrong in a world where neither is simple, and what we risk if we fail.
About The Author
Tana French is the Sunday Times and New York Times-bestselling author of In the Woods, The Likeness, Faithful Place, Broken Harbour, The Secret Place, The Trespasser and The Wych Elm. Her books have won awards including the Edgar, Anthony, Barry and Macavity awards, the LA Times Book Prize for Best Mystery/Thriller and the Irish Book Award for Best Crime Fiction. She grew up in Ireland, Italy, the US and Malawi, and trained as an actor at Trinity College Dublin. She lives in Dublin with her family.
The narrative follows Cal Hooper who has recently moved from Chicago after 25 years on the police force to the remote Irish village of Ardnakelty in hopes of building a new quiet life. However a local kid has other plans and comes seeking help in the disappearance of his brother Brendon. Wanting not to get mixed up in the investigation Cal attempts to turn a blind eye, but his curiosity and years spent on the job pull him in. Once Cal starts digging he finds it hard to stop until the truth is uncovered. What first appeared to be the perfect escape soon sucks him back in to his old world of deceit, lies and secrets refusing to stay buried.
From the moment I began reading, French captured my attention with vivid, striking imagery. She sets the tone deliciously. There’s a bleak ambience that continues to follow you and the characters throughout the narrative. It sends chills down the spine and gives you goosebumps. French hooks you instantly and you feel compelled to read on, soaking up the atmosphere and the possibilities of where the narrative could take you. I will never look at a rook the same way; clever but sinister birds.
At first glance Cal begins to quickly adjust to his new way of life. He still often thinks of his ex wife, Donna and has no intentions of starting a new romance despite the insistence of matchmaker Noreen who runs the local shop. He still keeps in contact with his daughter Alyssa but wishes he was closer to her. They have pleasant conversation over the phone with nothing of importance being actually said. Cal distracts himself by spending his days working on the house, stripping the wallpaper, mending a sturdy desk alongside fishing and waiting for his firearm licence. He also notices how much healthier and fitter he has become by walking everywhere and enjoying the fresh country air. When he first arrived he wasn’t looking for golf buddies but unfortunately it doesn’t work out that way. His nearest neighbour Mart becomes quickly acquainted and nosey about Cal’s intentions. Cal attempts to keep to himself, not wanting the village to know he used to be a cop and he starts to feel they have accepted him. However he can’t shake the feeling that he is being watched. The onlooker turns out to be Trey, a thirteen year-old kid who is desperate for Cal’s help in finding his missing older brother Brendon.
It strikes Cal as strange that everyone has brushed off the disappearance of Brendon and whenever his name is mentioned a look of fear flashes across their face. No one appears to know anything and put it down to a young boy wanting to leave home. But Cal’s cop instincts tell him otherwise and when sheep start being gruesomely killed, he knows that the village is hiding something. Cal moved from Chicago to get away from crime but it seems to follow him like a feral creature. He soon realises that out here, in the country he is on his own. He has no resources to help and has to rely on himself to solve this one. Word quickly gets around the village that Cal has been asking questions and is warned to stop. But knowing what we know about Cal, that’s not going to happen and the danger intensifies.
Reading Cal as a character is interesting. The more you learn about him, the more you understand why he can’t walk away from Trey’s request. Cal has a code and is addicted to fixing things. He doesn’t dive straight into Brendon’s disappearance but works on building a relationship with Trey. He encourages him to help with work on the house, handing him bits of wood to sand and eventually teaching him how to shoot. They form a strong bond and just when Cal thinks Trey is the only one being straight with him, he discovers how blind he has been.
I adore French’s writing style as she sets the tone for a crime and mystery story alongside a western where the new guy rides into a small town and stirs up trouble. The third person narrative worked well alongside this as the readers were treated in a similar fashion to Cal, an outsider, watching and waiting for the inevitable to happen.
French writes beautiful imagery that was breathtaking to read. She incorporates the landscape and natural surroundings into the narrative that bring on their own eerie and unsettling atmosphere. It also adds to the reality of how isolated Ardnakelty is with miles of a mountainous skyline and green patchwork fields. Plenty of places to hide a body and no one for miles around to hear you scream. I also found that the atmosphere played upon the characters’ emotions. It brought a darker and unnerving feeling that keeps you looking over your shoulder.
I give The Searcher By Tana French a Five out of Five paw rating.
I LOVED it! I could not get enough. This book is filled with plenty of twists and turns that keep you hanging on for dear life. You begin to watch where you step in fear of getting stuck in a bog with no way out. The shocks and revelations build and build the tension; I was a nervous, nail-biting wreck. I just had to find out what happened to Brendon. And WOW dear reader. I was not expecting that.
Don’t forget to follow the rest of the blog tour, dates below, enjoy.
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