Author: Tana French
Publication Date: 7/13/10
Blurb (GR): Back in 1985, Frank Mackey was nineteen, growing up poor in Dublin's inner city, and living crammed into a small flat with his family on Faithful Place. But he had his sights set on a lot more. He and Rosie Daly were all ready to run away to London together, get married, get good jobs, break away from factory work and poverty and their old lives.
But on the winter night when they were supposed to leave, Rosie didn't show. Frank took it for granted that she'd dumped him-probably because of his alcoholic father, nutcase mother, and generally dysfunctional family. He never went home again.
Neither did Rosie. Everyone thought she had gone to England on her own and was over there living a shiny new life. Then, twenty-two years later, Rosie's suitcase shows up behind a fireplace in a derelict house on Faithful Place, and Frank is going home whether he likes it or not.
Getting sucked in is a lot easier than getting out again. Frank finds himself straight back in the dark tangle of relationships he left behind. The cops working the case want him out of the way, in case loyalty to his family and community makes him a liability. Faithful Place wants him out because he's a detective now, and the Place has never liked cops. Frank just wants to find out what happened to Rosie Daly-and he's willing to do whatever it takes, to himself or anyone else, to get the job done.
It might be a strange thing to say about a murder mystery/psychological thriller, but Faithful Place is a very romantic book.
You see, Frank Mackey here investigates the disappearance of his first love who he for over 20 years thought dumped him and ran away to England. The whole narrative is laced with Frank's memories of Rosie and their teenage romance. I didn't quite expect it, but the story gave me goosebumps like only a very few teen novels about first love ever did. This is probably the main reason why Faithful Place is my favorite of Tana French's novels, at least for now.
The other reason is Frank. I love his voice, he is funny and sarcastic and can bullshit people into doing just about anything. He is also vulnerable and fragile and damaged. Who doesn't like reading about a man like that?
And then there is Frank's family. They are a group of sad cases and yet, strangely, they all are lovable and relatable in some strange way, even the worst of them.
Finally, my last "plus" - out of all 3 books in the series, Faithful Place is the most "Irish." It gives a very honest and often harsh view of the working class living in Ireland. Not quite the picture you get after reading Fever books.
On the other hand, the mystery in this novel is probably the most straight-forward and obvious. I knew (well, guessed right) the perp probably by the middle.
It doesn't take away, however, from the fact that Faithful Place is, if not a strong mystery, a very personal, very nostalgic, very tender story...