Damn. How does she do it? Tana French just keeps turning out these books, and I keep loving them. She keeps her cast of characters centered on Dublin's Murder Squad, and yet every story ends up being completely different. It would be a worthwhile endeavor to go back through all her books and look at how the characters see each other, then how we see them when they take center stage and we see what make them tick.
That's one of the themes of this book. French is looking at how we perceive ourselves, how we think others perceive us, and how those others actually do perceive us. She's also looking at the stories we tell ourselves and each other, the personal myths we build up, the tales that motivate us for better or for worse. Which is essentially a metaphor for all of her books.
The set-up is fairly straightforward. Narrator Antoinette Conway and her partner Steve Moran are assigned to investigate what appears to be a cut-and-dried murder case of a young woman who was probably accidentally murdered by her boyfriend. Of course, in French's world, nothing is quite as it seems. But also in French's world, the mystery is of secondary interest to the main characters. These are character-driven stories, and Antoinette Conway is one of French's best so far, a jaded, burned-out murder detective with a serious chip on her shoulder and attitude to spare. She's wound so tightly that being in her head can be exhausting, but in a good way, especially as the case twists and turns and makes her doubt everything around her, including herself.
This is a fairly talky novel. That worked for me; I'm betting that many murders are investigated this way, through talk and research, with very few wild car chases and shoot-outs. I felt like I was "in" on it. I can see why some people might find it slow, but I had trouble putting it down.
And now I'm so, so very ready for her next book.