Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Crime Fiction/Murder Mystery/Thriller
Series: Dublin Murder Squad
Format: Hardcover; 464 pages
Publisher: Viking; First Printing edition (October 4, 2016)
Author's Website: http://www.tanafrench.com/
Notes: I bought this one.
“The vic,” I say, tapping the photo of Aislinn with my marker. “Aislinn Murray, twenty-six, lived alone in Stoneybatter, worked as a receptionist at a firm selling bathroom supplies to businesses. No criminal record, no calls to us. Assaulted yesterday evening in her home: Cooper’s preliminary exam says she took a punch to the face and hit her head on the fireplace surround. Texts on her phone narrow down the time to between 7:13 and 8:09.” I move to Rory’s photo. “This guy here, Rory Fallon, he’s been seeing her for a couple of months. He was due at her house for dinner at eight o’clock.”At first it looked to be a classic case of boy beats girl. Aislinn Murray was getting ready for a date when something went terribly wrong. As detective Antoinette Conway and her partner, Stephen Moran, begin interviewing friends, neighbors, and the primary suspect, however, a different story slowly begins to emerge. With the media breathing down their neck for justice and pressure from their superiors to get the job done, Antoinette and Steve will have to chose between taking the easy way out or getting to the bottom of what really happened.
“If you want to kill someone, have enough respect for my time to make it someone, anyone, other than the most gobsmackingly obvious person in the world.”
Detective Antoinette Conway just got her wish.
I've read all of Ms. French's books, and this is the first one that didn't draw me in from the first chapter. Antoinette is a rather abrasive character. She's a women trying to make it in a predominantly male profession and she's struggling to find her place within it. She's convinced she's on her last legs with the murder squad, and that this case was given to her to drive the final nail into her proverbial coffin and her partner, Steve, will be collateral damage. All the pranks that have been played on her since she arrived in the Murder Squad have put a chip on her shoulder, and she's constantly on the defensive.
What I found quite interesting, as the story developed, was how similar Aislinn, the murder victim, was to Antoinette. I found quite a few parallels between the two, and I almost felt the two were mirror images of each other—both relative and opposite at the same time, and therein, in my humble opinion, lies the brilliance of the book. Both had grown up without their fathers during the critical years of their lives. Both had people keeping information about their fathers from them. Both had a hard time growing up. Both were underestimated because they were women. I think it’s safe to say both had tempers. Interestingly, however, they took two very different paths. Aislinn used her gender to her advantage while Antoinette had it used against her. One chose vengeance while the other chose to avenge others. By comparing the two, I could see how Antoinette’s life could have taken a very different path. I felt the way the book played out was the author's way of trying to make us see how thin the line there is between right and wrong and how easy it is to cross.
- 'You can knock down a genuine belief, if you load up with enough facts that contradict it; but a belief that’s built on nothing except who the person wants to be, nothing can crumble that.'
- 'I was doing exactly the same thing as Aislinn: getting lost so deep inside the story in my head, I couldn’t see past its walls to the outside world. I feel those walls shift and start to waver, with a rumble that shakes my bones from the inside out. I feel my face naked to the ice-flavored air that pours through the cracks and keeps coming. A great shiver is building in my back.'
- 'Every murderer says that to us, sooner or later. You weren’t there. You don’t understand. There’s a small dry chip of silence while no one points that out.'
Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. I loved the different nuances between Aislinn and Antoinette's personalities. While I guessed who dunnit early on, I enjoyed the twist that I didn't see coming. I wish the book would have explored how Antoinette dealt with the information she'd uncovered about what was behind the squad's attitude towards her. It felt like a subject that should have been broached. Additionally, I would have liked Antoinette's side of the story of what actually went down. She only hinted at it when she stated the person used enough truth to make their lie believable. I kept wondering what truly happened?