In the latest from the author of The Witch Elm, a Chicago cop named Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a bucolic Irish village would be the perfect escape from his old life. But when a local kid whose brother has gone missing arm-twists him into investigating, Cal uncovers layers of darkness beneath his picturesque retreat.
... the great power of this suspense story comes from its slow, measured pacing and the intensifying evil of its atmosphere ... French’s writing...is eerie and nuanced. Indeed, even though her Dublin Murder Squad series and her other stand-alone mystery, The Witch Elm, have been uniformly excellent, this hushed suspense tale about thwarted dreams of escape may be her best yet. Like the John Ford film it pays homage to, The Searcher is its own kind of masterpiece.
... an audacious departure for this immensely talented author ... there’s a lot at work in The Searcher, even if its story sounds simple ... One of this book’s many pleasures is French’s way of building Cal and Trey’s bond ... These scenes are keenly observed, with a strong sense of place, and unfailingly entertaining. They’re also ominous, given what we know about the close-knit, gossipy nature of the town ... Nobody beats French when it comes to writing pub scenes fraught with tension ... This is why you read Tana French: for the nuances that go into an ambush like this, and for her ability to immerse you in the moment completely. As you read this scene, the sidelong glances and daggers in the small talk come flying off the page ... Where does The Searcher” stand in the lineup of French’s books? It’s an outlier: not her most accessible but not to be missed. It’s unusually contemplative and visual, as if she literally needed this breath of fresh air. It steps back to examine the policing powers she has traditionally taken for granted. And it’s her foray into the natural world, which is so welcome right now. It’s also slower than some of her other books. But as Cal says in the folksy western voice he often affects here, 'All’s you can do is your best.'
... meanders its way into a mystery with a deliberate patience ... It’s this nuance, a signature of French’s writing, that makes this novel more than just a mystery; it’s also an exploration of rural poverty and the closely intertwined lives of people who are just trying to scratch out a living ... What sets The Searcher apart from French’s earlier novels is its depiction of how deeply intertwined the residents of the village are—with young people leaving the area, farms struggling and poverty and drug use plaguing the area, each person is somehow dependent on his or her neighbors for survival. This is not a place where Cal can bury his head in the sand. Evocative and lyrical, The Searcher is a mystery worth reading slowly to savor every perfectly rendered detail.