A slow-burning, atmospheric mystery set in the Irish countryside about a burnt-out, world and bone-weary cop from Chicago who relocates to a remote Irish village.
Freshly divorced (and unable to wrap his head around what went wrong), Cal’s moved to the West of Ireland because it looked beautiful on the internet. It looks even more beautiful in person, though his new home is very much a fixer-upper. At forty-eight, Cal Hooper is on the young side of retired but moves as though the spark’s gone out of him. He misses his wife and adult daughter, both now half a world away. There’s no fiery pace to Cal, and this, too, is mirrored in the story’s movement, which is a slow burn throughout the novel.
It’s the appearance of 13-year-old Trey in Cal’s backyard that pulls Cal from what at times feels like depression, giving him nudges of momentum. Trey’s brother Brendan has gone missing, and because Brendan is a Reddy, no one cares. And because Trey heard Cal’s an ex-cop (the village grapevine is alive and well), there’s a determination here to get Cal to take on the case. It’s almost impossible, though, to get Cal to abandon his status quo (his desire for peace and quiet), but Trey is the fire to Cal’s valium temperament, and each undoubtedly has something the other needs.
For those seeking high-octane thrills, you’ll need to look elsewhere. The Searcher is pure atmosphere, pure mystery, set at a languid pace. French’s writing is extraordinary, and she effortlessly establishes the Irish landscape as a full-fledged character. Cal’s internal development gets equal billing to the external mystery, and the final payoff is well worth it.
Book: The Searcher
Publication Date: November 5th, 2020
Penguin Random House kindly sent me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion, rating, or the content of my review.