Top positive review
A haunting, beautiful masterpiece.
Reviewed in the United States on October 10, 2016
The worst part of any Tana French novel, for me, is finishing and coming to the sad realization that it will be another couple years before I am able to experience another novel that leaves the same impression on me. In fact, if anyone has any recommendations as to authors who you feel are reminiscent of French's style of writing, pass them on! I have yet to come across one.
The novel is about partners Antoinette and Stephen who are handed a case that appears easy enough to solve - a lover's tiff gone wrong. While that is the basis of the novel, there are actually several different storylines and so many moving parts to this story that you wonder how it will all weave together. French is particularly adept at writing a story that, while having many twists and turns, never comes at you like a punch in the gut. In fact, as developments occur in the novel, a part of you is left wondering how she managed to pull the wool over your eye enough that it was still a surprise, yet not such a surprise that you had to reread the novel to look for clues as to how you missed it. For this reason, there is no other author in my arsenal that I feel even comes close to her skill level as an author.
Another reason that Tana French is so gifted is because she is always able to create the most complex characters. Her characters are so raw, so deep, that you feel as if you know them. You experience every shift in their case with them; you quicken your breath when they quicken theirs; you need a moment to step away from the novel when things don’t go as planned. You want to reach through the book and tell your characters, BE CAREFUL! when you feel they’re taking unnecessary risks. French is an absolute genius at creating these real life characters whose presence in your life becomes bigger than just fiction.
I have to mention that there is a scene towards the end of the book that I read with a quickening breath and my nerves felt fried. It was as if I was there myself and the suspense leading up to the moment absolutely took my breath away. I’ve only ever experienced such emotions during real life cases I was following on the telly, or documentaries, etc.
Please do yourself a favor and read all of Tana French’s books, if you have not already. Don’t start with this one but begin with her first and then continue. The reason being is because while all of them are amazing, her writing style truly develops as she writes and therefore each one becomes better than the last.
I tried to read this book as slowly as I could, to make it last as long as I could, but I never stood a chance. I would like to thank Tana French for the joy of being able to experience yet another novel that left me speechless.