Tana French is one of my favorite authors. I buy her books as soon as they come out, practically shaking in anticipation when I get home because I can’t wait to read her newest offering. “The Searcher” was no exception, although this was the first time I didn’t finish reading one of her books in one weekend. I read it over several months, taking breaks along the way when my interest in the story waned.
“The Searcher” takes place in the rural Irish countryside. American Cal, a retired police officer, has relocated to Ireland for the pretty views and solitude. It mostly works at first as he fixes up the house he bought and gets to know the townspeople.
A young boy, Trey, starts hanging around the house. Cal really wants the kid to get lost, but ends up letting him help fix a desk as Cal’s interest in what the kid actually wants peaks.
Turns out Trey is actually a girl wearing oversized hand-me-downs and she wants to know what happened to her brother who has gone missing. Cal’s ever watchful neighbors give him warnings, subtle at first. Soon, though, the warnings become violent and Cal is forced into a situation that could get both him and the kid killed. So much for solitude in the Irish countryside.
This story is an Irish western combined with crime mystery. The characters, including Cal and Trey, are morally ambiguous at best. The lines between right and wrong are blurred, as they often are in western type stories. This book isn’t my favorite of French’s novels. I think it might be my least favorite, even worse than “Faithful Place” which also left me having to read it in pieces because it didn’t keep me interested.
I’m still a Tana French super fan and I look forward to her next novel. I just hope the characters have a better moral compass than they do in “The Searcher”.