The Trespasser

The Trespasser
A novel by Tana French. 2016.
 
Tana French works her magic again. The sixth instalment in her Dublin Murder squad series belongs to detective Antoinette Conway. As the only woman in the squad she is the target for daily jibes and jokes. On the surface it appears to be a chuckling, light-hearted disrespect but the behaviour has settled into an oppressive environment of chronic harassment.
 
The disrespect is fuel for Conway. She’s a fighter and a winner and she tells herself she doesn’t mind that she has to work twice as hard as anyone else to gain a modicum of respect – that’s how she’d work anyway. That’s been her perspective ever since her father walked out on the family. It’s no world for whiners. If you’re knocked down, don’t cry–get up, work hard and win. But everyday she’s smiling through a new jibe, joke or prank without end and in truth its threatening to overwhelm her. She’s got a job offer for private security and though it feels like failure to consider it, it’s starting to look more than tempting.
 
Her only ally is her partner, nice guy murder rookie Steven Moran (first introduced as a well meaning snitch in Faithful Place, then as the narrator of The Secret Place, which featured Conway as his own reluctant helper).
 
Conway and Moran investigate what appears to be a simple domestic murder, except Conway knows she’s met this victim before. Almost all the evidence points to the victim’s hapless new boyfriend. Following the wee little bit that doesn’t leads them to speculate about the integrity of the murder squad itself—and as Conway finds herself struggling to separate dark new levels of paranoia from legitimate inquiry her own history comes back to haunt her.
 
The Dublin Murder squad is a series of books that features a different narrator each time out. French writes each volume from a notably different point of view: voice, worldview, motivation, backstory. She’s brilliant at creating a clever, provocative murder scenario and matching it to an interesting detective in a way that pushes all of that detective’s buttons. Her detectives don’t remain static observers capable of taking us through book after book of murder cases. We join them for the pivotal investigation of their lives and their account of the twists and turns of the investigation, is also a confrontation with their past and present selves, and a harrowing journey of self-examination.