Book Review: Faithful Place by Tana French

Faithful PlaceTitle: Faithful Place
Author: Tana French
Published: 2010
Publisher: Penguin Group
Pages: 416
From: Barnes and Noble

It’s hard to imagine giving up someone you love, but Frank Mackey managed to do just that in Tana French’s third novel, Faithful Place. The novel, published in 2010, focuses on the undercover cop from her novel The Likeness, and takes a good, hard look at his past and the difference between living the highlife and living somewhere you’ll never leave.

Faithful Place is the street Frank Mackey lived on as a kid, before he and his girl Rosie decided to run away when they turned 18. But, Rosie didn’t show up, and Frank spent the rest of his life hoping, after he left and went to school, after he became a cop, after he got married and after he had a little girl. Then, one day, her suitcase appeared behind a chimney, and Frank is pulled right back in the place he never thought he would ever truly leave.

French does it again in this novel. She manages to make the characters seem so real by their thoughts and actions, and using a thick, gritty prose that pulls you in. I love this about French’s writing; it is addictive, like the drugs Mackey sends his under covers in for.

The one thing I’m starting to notice, however, is that it’s becoming difficult for French to change voice easily. Like in her second novel The Likeness, there was something about Maddox’s voice that didn’t rub right with me, and the same goes with this one. While I enjoy reading what Mackey thinks, does and says, there’s something about his style and voice that throws me. Maybe it’s because I keep holding In the Woods so high in esteem, or it could be because French has difficulty forming true voices for different characters in the same profession and work together. Either way, the voices are very close to the previous characters that it can throw the reader.

However, overall the mystery is slightly unusual, like French’s previous cases, and this one is even closer to home for Mackey. Personal and unofficial, which are another couple reasons why this novel was good in a different way than her previous ones.

This makes me excited to crack open French’s fourth and most current murder mystery Broken Harbor, which focuses on Scorcher, a character out of Faithful Place. I hope it’s as good as her debut.

Tana French has four other novels, In the Woods, The Likeness,Broken Harbor and The Secret Place. All her novels can be purchased at Barnes and Noble online and in-stores, or on

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