Faithful Place by Tana French (Dublin Murder Squad #3)

My #2 Favorite Read of 2013

 An Amazing 5 Stars from the Master of the Character Novel  

cover“You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it’s all right.”  ~Maya Angelou

Can you really leave your life behind. If you run from everything that held you back, can you go back home as a different person.  When you find yourself back from where you came, can you convince yourself that you left in the first place.  Faithful Place explores the tensions between leaving a life that you despise and the fears and beliefs that you can never be better than your upbringing.

Without a doubt, Faithful Place is the best of her first four novels.  She shows both growth in her writing and growth in her storytelling.  The story in taunt and emotional and is complete with bad decisions and selfish choices for which Tana French’s characters are known.

While this is technically book 3 in a series, you can read it with confidence if you have never read another Tana French Novel.  Frank Mackey is the only character that showed up in a previous book and there is no discussion or inference to previous characters or storylines.  This book can stand alone.

With the utmost respect to James Rollins,Ben Aaronovitch, Jack Whyte, Jim Butcher, I believe I have a new favorite author.  Three books into her series, I been touched, entertained, saddened and angered by her human, selfish, caring and broken characters.  Her novels are an experience to be savored.

Plot summary

Frank Mackey, the undercover officer who appeared in The Likeness is the main character in the current story.  Having left his family and hometown 22 years previous after being jilted by his young love, he is suddenly thrust back into his past when evidence surfaces that his girlfriend may not have left him and may have instead come to violent a end.  The story explores the disappearance and the emotion of reintegrating with a family that Frank had abandoned many years before.

The Good

Pretty Much Everything!

The novel is filled with “The Good”.  I do not believe that I have read a novel with more believable characters.  Time after time I found myself shaking my head and disagreeing with Frank and believing he was making the wrong or the selfish decision.  He rarely had the perfect words in the situation and his emotions would often overrule his better judgment.  This lead to a believable and human character.

Tana French will never be accused of writing a novel that wraps up a story as neatly as episode of the Brady Bunch.  Questions always remain and issues between characters remained unresolved.  Again, this leads to a believable story.

Unlike the previous novels in the series, the story moves at a much brisker pace while the plot plays a more integral role in the book as a whole.  This was a failing in the previous two books that brought my ratings down.  Faithful Place is complete novel in my opinion.

The Bad

There was nothing in the book that was bad enough to bring my rating down.  If I had any complaint it would be the manner in which the answer to the mystery was unveiled at the end of the story.  I certainly do not want to spoil the ending by revealing too much but I will say that although the ending used a tried and true plot device, it fit in the overall story and was true to the characters.

Audiobook Notes

Again, the narration in the Tana French Novels is superb, 5-Star narration.  Unfortunately, the narrator didn’t have the great singing voice of the narrator in The Likeness.

Content Advisories

It is difficult to find commentary on the sex/violence/language content of book if you are interested.  I make an effort to give you the information so you can make an informed decision before reading. *Disclaimer* I do not take note or count the occurrences of adult language as I read. I am simply giving approximations.

Scale 1 – Lowest     5 – Highest

Sex 2

There reference to sexual encounter from one of the characters past.  It is spoken of respectfully and there are no graphic descriptions.  There are a few other minor comments to sex in the book but nothing graphic.

Language 4

There is significantly more adult language than in the previous novels.  There is moderately high use of the f-word in the story.  The story revolves around a highly emotional and volatile Irish Family and adult language is used frequently in their conversations.  It is in many ways atmospheric but it may not be appropriate for younger readers or readers that prefer to avoid adult language.

Violence 3

There is significant descriptions of encounters with an abusive father.  The descriptions are moderately graphic are physical in nature.  There is a moderately graphic description of a murder and moderately graphic bloody fight.

Subsribe to Our Posts

If you enjoy our reviews, have each new review delivered straight to your inbox.

Recent Posts


Tim Written by:

Tim is a lawyer, sports fan, parent, husband and book lover. He runs his own legal practice and is the founder of The Literary Lawyer book blog and a contributing writer for Tim loves to share his love of reading by providing reviews to entertain as well as provide information to help you make an informed reading decision.