“The Searcher”: A novel you feel in deep recesses of your bones, kind of like changes in the weather.
“The Searcher” is a character driven novel, first and foremost. The characters are brilliantly plotted, and written to absolute perfection. They are rich, dynamic, difficult and stubborn. Having undergone life’s trials and tribulations, they are strong, resilient and unrelenting. Some are good, kind and hard working, others not so much. In this novel, the characters are what drew me into the story immediately.
This novel is a slow burn wherein the story builds and builds. Then there are the gorgeous descriptions of the vivid landscape, the weather (yes, the weather), home remodeling, and of course, the characters, always the characters. Let’s not forget the element of suspense and the unofficial investigation that ensues involving two unforgettable characters and the relationship that evolves between them.
Cal Hooper is a former Detective with the Chicago PD who moves to Ardnakelty, a small town in West Ireland to start over. His plans from here on out are to fix up his new home, fish, hunt, rest and relax.
When thirteen year old Trey begins terrorizing his homestead, Cal realizes that Trey has an ulterior motive. Several months ago, Trey’s older brother Brendan went missing and no one in the village has done anything about it. Now that Cal has arrived in town, Trey wants Cal’s help in finding out what happened.
Cal is driven, hard working, funny, kind, intuitive and smart. Trey is assertive, attentive, inquisitive, scared, sweet, poverty-stricken and wise. More than anything, Trey wants to find his brother and he knows that Cal is his best bet. At first, Cal agrees to investigate, simply because Trey won’t let up and then it becomes clear that there may in fact be something to Trey’s story. The camaraderie that develops between the two is sheer brilliance. Cal becomes a friend, and perhaps a father figure to Trey and it is the relationship between them that makes this novel wholly special.
The investigation into what happened to Trey’s brother, while a huge part of this story, took second place for me. The armchair detective in me realized at the outset what happened to Brendan and who was responsible, though it in no way took away from my enjoyment of this book. I loved the characterizations, the development of all of the characters’ relationships and the investigation that took place. I felt every ounce of this story and I savored it.
In short, I adored “The Searcher” for exactly what it was: a character driven plot which included a suspenseful storyline.
Tana French is a prolific author and remains one of my favorites. I love her writing style and I am a huge fan of her characters. Someday, I would love to see her return to the Dublin Murder series and the characters of a) Rob Ryan (I need to see what has happened to his character after all of this time!) and b) Stephen Moran (who I still have a huge crush on (even though I’m twice his age)).
For those of you who love brilliantly plotted character driven suspense novels, read Tana French, I promise you will be rewarded.