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Faithful Place    by Tana French order for
Faithful Place
by Tana French
Order:  USA  Can
Viking, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Tana French, author of the superlative Irish mysteries In the Woods and The Likeness, now brings readers another outstanding and totally gripping read in Faithful Place, starring undercover cop Francis Mackey who had a supervisory role in The Likeness.

Frank had long fled his childhood home and family to build himself a new and separate life. But as Faithful Place opens, a call from his younger sister Jackie (the one family member he had contacted again after a long separation) forces him to return and re-examine his working class roots. In 1985, when Frank was nineteen, he and lovely Rosie Daly had planned to flee their dysfunctional (Frank's being significantly worse than Rosie's) families and reinvent themselves in England. When Rosie never showed up at their meeting place, but left a note instead, the devastated Frank went away on his own, convinced that she was rejecting him because of his father's drunken - also obnoxious and very public - behavior the night before.

When Rosie's body is found, still in Faithful Place, which she had never left, Frank is determined to stay close to the investigation, despite being warned off by his Murder Squad colleague, Mick 'Scorcher' Kennedy. After he left home, Frank signed up for cop college and found his metier as an Undercover officer. He married upper class Olivia, but is now divorced, though he adores his nine-year-old daughter Holly and spends time with her as often as he can. Now he's forced to re-enter the world he had long ago shed. His older brother Shay remains resentful and combative, while his younger brother Kevin clings to Frank just like he used to. As Frank reels from the shifting of his world view, and grieves for the love he lost, Kevin tries to tell him something.

When a new death supplants the original tragedy, Scorcher Kennedy sees it as a way to close his case - but Frank disagrees and will do whatever it takes to find out what really happened, then and now. He suborns a young officer in Kennedy's squad to keep him in the loop, keeps digging through the detritus of his past, and finds more there than he was prepared for. It's ultimately young Holly who helps him uncover the killer - and her involvement brings him closer to an understanding with his ex than ever before. Don't start Faithful Place unless you have plenty of time to keep reading - it's very, very hard to put down!

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