Tana French - Faithful Place (3 stars)

Tana French - Faithful Place

Otherwise gripping drama suffers from inconsistencies

As much a sprawling family drama as a crime novel, Tana French’s character-driven mystery has more of the life stuff – heart, family, class – than the average genre work. In following the trials of undercover Irish cop and estranged son, brother and lover, Frank Mackey, French chronicles the quietly broken-hearted man as he tries to uncover the mystery of his missing childhood sweetheart Rosie. When her suitcase is found, Mackey returns to Dublin where the plot slowly unfolds amongst weighty layers of fraught familial feuds and sibling rivalry.

Heavily reliant on a long roll-call of fully realised characters, French veers slightly from the point while inconsistencies of voice – especially with the gruff central persona – detract from an otherwise gripping plot. Similarly, just as Scotland’s crime writing streets often reek of stony clichés, one fears that French’s persistent references to old and new Dublin will jar with anyone well-versed in that city’s history.

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