French, Tana - 'Faithful Place'
Twenty-two years ago a teenage Frank Mackey was waiting, as prearranged, for his love Rose Daly to meet him, so that they could run away to England together. She never showed up but a note he found in a derelict house frequented by the local youngsters, stated that she's going to England alone. Frank never returned to the family home. He is now a detective in Dublin specialising in undercover work. Divorced, with a nine-year-old daughter, he has never revisited his dysfunctional family in Faithful Place. He, however, does keep in touch with his youngest sister. His father is a violent drunk who clashes with his mother, who in turn expects her five children to rally around her. When a suitcase is found in the derelict house, inside a chimney breast, it seems likely to belong to Rose. Frank has to put his family grievances aside and return home to investigate.
FAITHFUL PLACE is a powerful novel about family, poverty, rivalries and surviving and is the third book from an exciting new author. She currently lives in Dublin but has lived in Italy, the USA and Malawi. Each book takes a character from one and moves them to take centre stage in the next. Frank played a role in the second novel, THE LIKENESS, whereas her fourth novel, BROKEN HARBOUR out in March 2012, is to be led by the murder detective from FAITHFUL PLACE.
FAITHFUL PLACE is well written and plotted, with lots of local character and dialogue as you would expect from an Irish author. She portrays the tight family communities, with the Catholic Church trying to dictate how they live. Occasionally you have to suspend belief but overall this is an excellent book and highly recommended. I look forward to the next one, and will seek out the first two in this loose series.
Geoff Jones, England