Book Review: Tana French’s Faithful Place

Posted June 13, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Tana French’s Faithful Place

Faithful Place


Tana French

suspense in Hardcover edition that was published by Viking Adult on July 13, 2010 and has 400 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include In the Woods

Third in the Dublin Murder Squad mystery series. This installment finds Frank Mackey forced back into his family’s loving arms.

Faithful Place was nominated in 2011 for the Macavity Award for Best Mystery Novel, the Anthony Award for Best Novel, and the Edgar Award for Best Novel. In 2010, it was nominated for Goodreads Choice.

My Take

If Faithful Place is typical of French’s writing, well, I gots me some readin’ to do! This was just brilliant.

I just adore French’s Francis Mackey. His concerns for his daughter, wanting to raise her without the mistakes of his parents, wanting her to understand the reality of the world and yet presenting his truths to her in a way that will be understandable to her. Unafraid to accept her anger when it will make her a better person. I love too listening in on his appreciation for a strong woman — I love that he prefers strength and appreciates Rose taking the lead. It’s an unpalatable truth he learns from his strong ex-wife as well. One that he takes into consideration. Don’t get me wrong. Mackey is not a weak-kneed poofter led by women; he’s simply strong enough in himself to respect strength in others whether they’re male or female. Notice I’m not saying that he necessarily appreciates it…*grin*…

Mackey is a realistic man, open to understanding the truths of himself, his job, and the people around him. Even when it comes to the negative, when he’s manipulating people into behaving and reacting the way he wants them to. I do love listening to him play Scorcher. I couldn’t have done it. I’d’a ripped his throat out for being such a condescending jerk.

“Secretly, I still get proud of the way Rosie and I loved each other. We had no one else to learn from — none of our parents were shining examples of relationship success — so we learned this from each other: when someone you love needs you to, you can get a hold of your five-alarm temper, get a hold of the shapeless things that scare you senseless, act like an adult instead of the Cro-Magnon teenager you are, you can do a million things you never saw coming.”

I’m very impressed with French’s handle on dialect. She’s very consistent in her choice of words and sentence structure.

This is a story of family dynamics: the anger, the memories, and the envy. Past and present that affects and has affected events. It’s easy to see with hindsight, and harrowing to read with this heartbreaking back-and-forth between present and past: Frank’s love for Rosie, his family interactions, and his current relationship with Olivia.

I did like how the ending resolved for his and Olivia’s possibilities and Jackie’s summary of how the family views Frank. And I can’t wait to read the first two books in this series so I can go on to the one that follows this — Broken Harbor — I’m hoping this series follows Frank as I want to know what happens next for him.

I liked Fingerprint Fifi; she’s a useful kinda gal.

Oh, oh, oh, I do not understand how Frank can forgive that stupid cow. The lies she spouts! The betrayals! Ya ask me, she deserves everything life hasn’t given her. I still don’t understand her need to hold back what she knows.

Jaysus, French had me running in circles and down to knowing who it was, even as she led me down another path, I just knew who had murdered Rosie. And I was so wrong.

The Story

The builders are in and tearing down Number 16, the house where kids met to smoke, drink, and snog. The place where Rosie and Francis were to meet that night if the weather had gone bad. The place where Rosie’s suitcase is found.

There are secrets on Faithful Place just as there are anywhere, but some secrets are more horrible to hear.

The Characters

Detective Francis Mackey is with the Undercover Squad in Dublin’s police department, the Guards. Divorced, he has negotiated a one-weekend-a-month visitation with his and Olivia‘s daughter, Holly, and he’s determined to raise her properly. Away from the blood he so hates. Dermo is the guy dating Olivia, and Francis has all the normal reactions to him.

Rosie Daly is the love of Francis’ life. A strong woman, she’s hatched a plan whereby she and Frank are running off, escaping their families, and carving out a life for themselves. Matt Daly, her da, has a personal feud with Frank’s da that spills over onto any Mackey; Tessie Daly is his wife. Nora Daly is her younger sister; she’s married now with kids.

Jackie is Francis’ youngest sister, and the only one in regular contact with him. She’s living with Gavin and is a hairdresser. Shay, the oldest, still works at the bike shop he left school to go to work at and lives upstairs from their parents. Carmel, the second oldest, is married to Trevor and has four kids including Darren, Donna, and Ashley. Kevin, five years younger than Francis, is footloose and fancy-free. Their da, Jimmy, a vicious alcoholic, has done something to his back, and their mammy, Josie, has a tongue like a chainsaw, willing to tear anyone to shreds. Learning more about her…she deserves the lousy life she’s led.

The neighbors and friends of Faithful Place
Sallie Hearne “who wasn’t exactly a hooker but had to support all those kids somehow”. Wiggy and Stevo were mates of Frank’s youth. Imelda Tierney (not married but with three kids), Julie Nolan, and Mandy Cullen (she’s married to Ger Brophy now with two kids) were Rosie’s mates. The Harrison sisters were old then; they were also the only ones with a telephone.

Cooper is the pathologist who appreciates a man who doesn’t bore him. Scorcher Kennedy is the atrophying Murder Squad detective with a compulsive need to one-up Mackey. He certainly has no clue about people. George is Francis’ understanding boss. Detective Stephen Moran is new to being a detective, and he’s working the Rosie Daly case as a floater.

The Cover and Title

The background of the cover is a close-up of the crazed painted siding of an old, neglected home with just a corner of the frame of a basement window. Leafy vines are creeping out from the corners.

The title is a neighborhood, Faithful Place, where momentous events have and will occur.