A stranger in Ireland

The Searcher by Tana French

Publication Date: October 6, 2020

Summary from GoodReads:

Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a remote Irish village would be the perfect escape. After twenty-five years in the Chicago police force, and a bruising divorce, he just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens.

But then a local kid comes looking for his help. His brother has gone missing, and no one, least of all the police, seems to care. Cal wants nothing to do with any kind of investigation, but somehow he can’t make himself walk away.

Soon Cal will discover that even in the most idyllic small town, secrets lie hidden, people aren’t always what they seem, and trouble can come calling at his door.

Our greatest living mystery writer weaves a masterful tale of breath-taking beauty and suspense, asking how we decide what’s right and wrong in a world where neither is simple, and what we risk if we fail.

ARC provided by Penguin Group publishers via NetGalley for an honest review.


I think this is the first book by Tana French that I have read, but it definitely won’t be the last. Her writing is wonderful, at times I almost felt like I was in Ireland! The characters were relatable and realistic which is sometimes hard to find in mysteries. The mystery itself wasn’t a big one, the story focused on the characters and what it is like to live in a small town where honesty and integrity are valued as well as traditions.

I really enjoyed Cal’s character. From the summary I expected him to be older, but he is only in his late 40’s. He left the Chicago PD for various reasons which are explained and explored over the course of the book, as well as his reasons for moving to Ireland. He just wanted to be alone and leave policing behind him. But he finds that when he is presented with a problem, he just can’t seem to let it go. I really liked how he approached and thought about Trey. I liked that he thought about how it would look to have a preteen hanging around his place and took precautions to make sure people knew that he only had good intentions towards the child. I also liked his relationships with the various neighbors and the people in town and that he was aware how small towns work.

Although the story is well paced, it might seem slow, because there isn’t a whole lot of action. No high speed chases or shoot outs here. Just good old fashion police work, talking to people and asking the right questions. The atmospheric writing and Cal’s musings about life and his neighbors is what will keep you wanting to pick this book up. The mystery was good, there were times where I was second guessing what really happened to Trey’s brother, but the big reveal wasn’t a huge surprise. There was one small twist, that I did not see coming at all which was fun. Not super important to the mystery, but a good surprise none the less.

This is a slow burn mystery with some nice, quirky characters and wonderful writing and dialog. It will be a great book to curl up with some rainy, fall afternoon.

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