...it’s time to recognize that French’s work renders absurd the lingering distinction between genre and literary fiction ... with her anger, intelligence and toughness, [Conway] emerges as French’s finest character yet ... Many fine writers have written well about police work but I don’t recall any novel that digs more deeply into police culture, the tricks of the trade, the ugly side and the heroics, too, than French does here ... it’s time for more of the people who review books and award prizes to rethink the cliches about genres and recognize the excellence — the literary excellence — of her work.
...a tour de force ... The Trespasser is brisk but not breathless. It would be a pity if Ms. French raced through such beautifully conceived and executed material ... [French] has become required reading for anyone who appreciates tough, unflinching intelligence and ingenious plotting.
Most crime fiction is diverting; French’s is consuming ... French has figured out how to expand the series’ scope without abandoning the intensity of its focus ... Antoinette and Stephen get saddled with a third detective, a fatuous, patronizing showboater whom French deploys to delicious comic effect ... [most fictional] detectives investigate crimes, but French’s pursue mysteries, the kind that can never be completely solved, although we all spend a life’s worth of days in the trying.
It’s impossible to get tired of Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad novels ... [Conway] is hard-edged and hot-tempered, smart and ambitious, with a biting sense of humor and a strong, distinctive voice — French always gets full points for style, but Conway may be her best narrator yet ... the book is pure pleasure, a fine-grained but fast-paced police procedural. French is one of the best thinkers and best plotters in the business, and she sells narrative control as a motivating force just as strong and concrete as love or greed.
[French] demonstrates again that she’s unusually skilled at interrogation scenes, keeping readers off-guard and thoroughly entertained ... By employing the first-person present tense, French is able to build a sense of gripping immediacy and emphasize how everything looks through Conway’s skeptical eyes ... The Trespasser seems talkier than some of the earlier books, taking more time than necessary to nail down every single plot point. But there’s a sense of genuine satisfaction in the way French concludes this book, neatly but with a dangerous edge. Sharp, earthy and astute in its presentation of criminal psychology, The Trespasser is another winner from French, an exciting page-turner with thematic heft, a novel of vengeance and reinvention that succeeds on multiple levels.
...detective Antoinette Conway, manages to fizz with contempt for the world around her, bristle with toughness and sink regularly into poetic gloom all at the same time ... French also pulls it out of the bag here with some of the best back and forth interrogation scenes out there ... While The Trespasser isn’t quite up to the intense brilliance of The Secret Place, it is still a gnarly, absorbing read, and a finely tuned slice of wintry gloom from one of the best thriller writers we have.
French incessantly pushes the plot of The Trespasser forward with absorbing dialogue and shifty villains. When the investigation hits walls, relationships grow and morph, making the work as much about internal conflicts as external. Antoinette narrates with a rich, raw voice. Her sarcasm combined with a wry, hard-edged view on life may weary readers, but keep reading, because as in all of the author’s work, meaning lurks beneath every quip and glance. French not only spins a twisty cop tale, she also encases it in meticulous prose, creating a read that is as elegant as it is dark.
Neither French nor her hard-edged, gloriously rough-speaking detective are in any hurry to put the pieces of these narratives together. The book, sometimes to a fault, largely consists of long, discursive dialogue scenes. The crime is approached from every conceivable angle ... The Trespasser is not without its stock characters...But there's nothing standard about French's approach to crime fiction, which plays the form much like a jazz musician improvising on a standard. Even when the outlines of the mystery seem familiar, as they do in The Trespasser, she finds a way to get at enriching themes and powerful emotional truths in fresh and surprising ways.
French perfectly captures how someone’s perceptions of adversity can cause him or her to 'lose the plot.' What distinguishes her from contemporaries is her emphasis on the ordinary; her heroes and villains aren’t creepy serial killers or psychopaths. They are the sorts of people most of us have encountered in work settings, but with the curtains to the darker, secret parts of their psyches pulled back ... If occasionally more self-conscious than the rest of 'Dublin Murder Squad,' the novel also reads like its zenith — a culmination of the thinking that must have gone into earlier books. It shouldn’t be missed.
These narratives, particularly the scenarios that Conway and Moran toss back and forth, are the real subject of The Trespasser. In a forensic thousand-and-one nights (compressed into four days, from early Sunday morning through Wednesday), Conway and Moran tell each other the story of the crime over and over again ... Despite the procedural format and the puzzle of the crime, The Trespasser is not a systematic, clockwork journey toward a final revelation or resolution. What French achieves in the end is a moment of clarity for Conway and the reader, when the stories finally reach a momentary balance and coherence that may be the closest we can get to truth or peace.
Perhaps a bit too much exposition takes place in conversation: French relies on long interviews with witnesses and suspects. But she also keeps things moving at a snappy pace, and even when you figure out who did it, you still have no idea how Conway is going to prove it ... The Trespasser” is a rich examination of how we tell ourselves stories in order to get through life. And it’s a gripping whodunit, too.
The author digs and peels and scrapes at raw wounds, finding the vulnerabilities of almost everyone before her tale is told ... Without breaking a sweat – then again, how could she in rainy, wintry Dublin? – French pulls her narrative threads tighter and tighter. In a dizzying, claustrophobic finale that manages to turn a small staff meeting into a nerve-wracking event, The Trespasser comes to a conclusion that satisfies because of its melancholy lack of finality.
[The Trespasser] is engaging, and as we have come to expect from this author, filled with striking prose, but her plot and her prose are more labored here. Neither the writing nor the story seem to flow with naturalness or ease ... The tale itself is compelling, and the solution is quite interesting — morally and intellectually. Getting there, however, is so slow and laden with minutiae, that by the time we learn who did the deed, it doesn’t seem to matter quite as much as we might have been led to expect.