By Tana French
Hodder & Stoughton, 2010
“The course of Frank Mackey’s life was set by one defining moment when he was nineteen. The moment his girlfriend, Rosie Daly, failed to turn up for their rendezvous in Faithful Place, failed to run away with him to London as they had planned.
Frank never heard from, or of, her again.
Twenty years on, Frank is still in Dublin, working as an undercover cop. He’s cut all ties with his dysfunctional family. Until his sister calls to say that Rosie’s suitcase has been found…”
Frank Mackey is what I would call an anti-hero. Having cut all ties with his dysfunctional family, he works hard, drinks hard, has an ex-wife whom he still loves and a child he adores. He tries to be honest but is, on the other hand, ruthless to a fault. And when it appears his first love had been murdered instead of dumping him 20 years earlier, he also throws away the rule book. He takes time off and goes back to his old life.
Nothing has changed. And just when Frank thinks he can’t take any more of his crazy family, his brother Kevin is murdered. To make matters worse the murder squad blames his brother for Rosie’s murder and decides that Kevin killed himself by taking a header out of a window in the same abandoned house where he had supposedly killed her.
Frank knows the investigators have it wrong and he sets out to find the local he knows has killed his brother. But what he finds threatens to be his undoing. Frank feels the whole world breaking apart and he doesn’t know what to do—at first.
It is at this point the novel finally begins to move and take on the feel of a thriller. Prior to Frank’s discovery Faithful Place is a rather plodding sort of mystery. Dealing more with relationships and the creation of characters who are real and interesting, Tana French gets too involved with the little world she’s building, making the novel more of a character study than a mystery or a crime novel. Faithful Place is definitely not the thriller one would expect from French.
Copyright © 2014 Clayton Clifford Bye
The Gone Away World
Alfred A Knopp, 2008
Gonzo William Lubitch and his unnamed best friend and alter ego are important members of the Haulage & HazMat Emergency Civil Fr[/BR}eebooting Company of Exmoor County (Corporate HQ the Nameless Bar, Sally J. Culpepper, presiding). When a giant fire at the Jorgmund pipe threatens to destroy what little is left of the old world, they are the go to people. But something sinister is going on. Gonzo’s friend has good instincts and he’s uneasy. When his suspicions come true and the company is almost killed off, Gonzo and his friend end up standing in a torrent of FOX, the stuff that keeps the world from being unmade but that has severe side-effects when dumped on an ordinary human, if you can call Gonzo and his friend ordinary.
The result is unimaginable and changes the superheros forever. To understand all that happens before and after the Jorgmund pipe fire, the author takes us on a psychedelic journey through the life of Gonzo’s friend—who is the narrator of the story. We see him grow up, find an unusual career, fall in love and meet some very strange people along the way.
Then it all ends in the greatest nightmare possible. Gonzo turns on his friend, steals his wife, shoots him full of heavy calibre bullets and kicks him out of a moving vehicle. This is the beginning of the end of The Gone Away World, and if you haven’t been electrified by the brilliant, if unorthodox, storytelling of Nick Harkaway, then you aren’t a true lover of speculative fiction.
The novel is epic, mind bending and brilliant in its development. And the ending is well worth the wait.
Copyright © Clayton Clifford Bye
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