Retired detective Cal Hooper moves to a remote village in rural Ireland. His plans are to fix up the dilapidated cottage he’s bought, to walk the mountains, to put his old police instincts to bed forever.
Then a local boy appeals to him for help. His brother is missing, and no one in the village, least of all the police, seems to care. And once again, Cal feels that restless itch.
Something is wrong in this community, and he must find out what, even if it brings trouble to his door.
Hi and welcome to my review of The Searcher! Huge thanks to Georgia Taylor @ Viking Books for the blog tour invite and the gorgeous proof copy!
I was quite a fan of the Dublin Murder Squad series but somehow I lost track of Tana French along the way. I am so pleased that I found my way back to her.
Forty-eight-year-old Chicago cop Cal Hooper’s had enough. The cold, the heat, the city, the stress of the job, he’s had it. So when we find him in The Searcher he’s just moved to rural Ireland. He’s fixing up the derelict farm he bought, getting to know the neighbours and the lay of the land, when he catches a kid lurking. Gradually they strike up an unlikely friendship, with Cal slowly but steadily gaining young Trey’s confidence, until Trey tells Cal about an older brother who went missing a few month ago. Their mam believes he’s done a runner but Trey isn’t buying that and who better to get to the bottom of things than an ex-cop? This disappearance is not the only mystery Cal is made aware of. Someone or something is killing off the sheep of his neighbours, ripping out their soft parts and leaving the bodies behind.
I came up with wild theories about both mysteries. If it had been another kind of book from another kind of author, I would have been convinced that the missing person had turned into some kind of vampire and was killing off sheep! As it stood, it did cross my mind, I discarded it right after, but that just goes to show what little idea I had of what was going on, I was clutching at straws.
Tana French novels have such a wonderful sense of place, and The Searcher is no exception. I’ve never been to the Irish countryside, yet I felt like I was there, walking across the fields, feeling the drizzle, hearing the bleating of a sheep. It’s certainly descriptive writing, but it’s never dull, what it does is suck the reader into the story, transport them to this world that is both fictional and real. One simply does not read a Tana French novel to race through it to the end, but to savour it, wallow in its prose, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the time you get to spend in the company of these characters.
This is a beautifully written slow-burning story that can’t be read as an off-the-peg thriller, just for the mystery shrouding its plot. It should be read first and foremost for its characters, for the mystery shrouding them, for their secrets to unravel, for their motives to lay bare. This is not an edge-of-your-seat/five-thrills-a-minute kind of story. But it doesn’t need to be to keep its reader invested and enthralled. If you’re in the market for a slow-burning, character-driven story, do check out The Searcher!