I’ve been slow to read Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad books, not because I didn’t think I’d enjoy them but because I really didn’t want a new series to read. But since I’ve finished the Patrick O’Brian books, that’s less of an issue right now. And I’ve been in a mood for good crime (hence my recent reads of some classic Ruth Rendells). So now seemed as good a time as any to give the series a try. And I liked this book very much!
The story brings together two of my favorite crime fiction tropes — cold cases and memory loss — and combines it with an enjoyably dark murder mystery. The central mystery is the murder of Katy Devlin, a 12-year-old girl whose body was found in an archaeological dig being conducted in preparation for the construction of a new highway.
Complicating the story is the fact that, decades earlier, two children disappeared near the site of Katy’s murder. And a further complication is that the detective on Katy’s case, Rob Ryan, was with the two children at the time of their disappearance. He remembers almost nothing about it, and his parents sent him to England shortly after. Now back in Ireland, he’s going by his middle name, has an English accent, and has kept his connection to that long-ago crime a secret from everyone but his partner, Cassie Maddox.
The book follows the investigation of the murder and its possible connection to the disappearance, a piece of the investigation that of course is difficult for Rob. And Rob himself makes some ridiculous choices along the way, and these choices put Cassie in a personal and professional bind. The two are close friends as well as partners, and their relationship becomes as important as the crime story. There’s one part of their story that I found rather clunky, but I was overall as interested in them as I was in the mystery.
My only complaint is that the book did drag a tiny bit toward the middle, but right about the time I started to get impatient, big questions started to get answered, and these raised more questions, as well as some significant fallout.
Overall, this was an immensely satisfying book. I liked the messiness of it, and the way it wove together so many interesting threads. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series!