Faithful Place is Full of Twists and Turns
Teenage first love, murder, sibling rivalry, references to 80s rock and before-he-was-crazy Mel Gibson all clinched it for me when unfolding the thick and intriguing plot of Faithful Place by Tana French. Sure, it took me about 50-pages to get into the swing of things, but once I got there, I was hooked for the long haul.
Most of us want to forget the 80s, but French takes us back to those days filled with teased hair and pegged stone-washed jeans as quick as it takes to pop a cassette into a tape deck. It obviously didn’t matter if it was Ireland or the middle of Wisconsin, those of us living large during the mid 80’s knew how to rock out to funky bands and get smashed on crappy booze. Tana French knows how to set a scene and build characters until you swear they are your next-door neighbors.
In walks Rosie, the girl all the guys wish they could have, who is smart but a bit brash, and absolutely crazy in love with Frank. Of course, Rosie’s parents object to the budding romance. And Frank’s? Well, that’s a whole other story. So what else can the young lovers do? They plan the perfect midnight getaway. But, for one, the vanishing act doesn’t end the way it was planned.
Flash-forward to the present in which our young Romeo is now Dublin Undercover, divorced, and has long-since removed himself from his abusive family. Sure, he hasn’t admitted it, but he’s been working that night over and over and over in his head trying to figure out what went wrong. Feeling like the jilted lover, he never expects what happens next.
While weaving a killer plot, French knows how to dig deep into that gut feeling of emotion. She pops these amazing soul-searching paragraphs smack dab between some crass language and a couple of murders. You genuinely connect with the characters -- even when they are the ones behaving badly. Written from Frank’s point of view, French spins images that chill to the core:
“I couldn’t think of a single other thing that would wipe my mind clean of that image, the nightmare made of slimy brown bones curled into its burrow, trickles of earth falling onto it with a sound like scurrying feet.”
I won’t deny having some inklings along the way how things might turn out while reading Faithful Place, but it didn’t stop me from hanging on every word. Sure, there were lots of twists and turns I wasn’t expecting, but, for the most part, it was a well-written crime drama, with, for me, a predictable ending.
Does that mean I didn’t enjoy Faithful Place?
I couldn’t put it down.
I can see how Tana French has created a loyal following for herself and am planning on picking up her two previous books. She’s an expert on writing powerfully sharp, exciting, and fast-paced drama full of gritty-but-beautiful language and relatable characters.