I’ve heard a lot of good about Tana French’s mysteries, so when I found a copy of The Trespasser in the Friends of the Library sale in October, I decided I could splurge the fifty cents on the book to see if I would join the ranks of her followers.
In The Trespasser, Antoinette Conway is a detective on the murder squad, but as a newer transfer from missing persons, she’s getting a lot of flack from the other members of the squad. The only person she seems to get along with is her partner, Stephan Moran. Antoinette is rough around the edges, and she’s ready to prove that she’s good at her job. When a murder case is finally presented to her and Moran, she’s determined to find the murderer- even when the case proves to be more complex than the rest of her squad thinks.
The body of Aislinn Murray was found resting on the corner of her fireplace hearth, with markings that looked like she was punched and landed there. The apartment was set with food in the oven, the dining table set for a cozy dinner for two. Antoinette and Stephan expect it to be a cut and dry domestic dispute, but then Antoinette realizes she’s met this girl before, back when she was still in missing persons. Upon examining the scene, they find that there’s very little evidence of anyone beside Aislinn in the apartment- but there had to have been someone else because the oven had been turned off after Aislinn was dead. As the case starts to get interesting, other members on the murder squad start to interfere. Antoinette keeps a close eye, certain to not let them underestimate her- especially when she finds out that their main suspect is not the murderer.
Eventually, all is revealed, but it’s a super slow burn before the end fireworks. I really enjoyed French’s diction (and the way she incorporated Irish words), as the writing itself felt very elaborate. However, I didn’t care for Antoinette as a main character, and how she was constantly stewing over how everyone was against her. I felt she was just very negative, though she was otherwise very sharp and intelligent. This also made it difficult to focus on the murder case. I was surprised by the reveal of who did it, but only until that point, I was pretty bored with the whole thing and certainly struggled with the slow pace. I thought about DNF’ing it many times, but then something would get me to keep reading just to find out how everything wraps up.
Overall, I think I’ll give French another chance, but that I wouldn’t recommend The Trespasser unless you’re into the super slow murder mysteries with a tough as nails female lead.