When detective Antoinette Conway was little, her mother invented tall tales about who her father was and why he wasn't there, hoping to distract her from the unsavory, mundane truth. It didn't work. Now Conway, the sole woman on the Dublin Murder Squad, has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to nonsense. Her impatience is a defense mechanism, of course, one that will be constantly tested in Tana French's brooding sixth novel, The Trespasser
French followers will remember Conway as Detective Stephen Moran's bitter and somewhat inscrutable partner in The Secret Place, which was told from his perspective. Still a team and co-outcasts in their department, the duo is summoned to investigate what looks like a straightforward case of domestic violence–a woman found dead after a lovers' quarrel. During the investigation, Conway must navigate her colleagues' suspicious behavior and her own paranoia that everyone, her partner included, intends not to just undermine but to ruin her. Conway's self-sabotage is hard to witness–her treatment at the hands of an all-male squad is even harder.
French has always found a marvelous balance between the crimes at the heart of her novels and the personal and interpersonal lives of her detectives. In The Trespasser, that balance tips: Instead of venturing outward into the gritty details of the murder, as she did by taking Detective Cassie Maddox dangerously undercover in The Likeness. French turns inward, focusing first on the claustrophobic climate of her protagonist 's workplace (lots of tough guys fueled by caffeine,) then going even deeper into the complex tangle of Conway's mind.
Ultimately, the murder itself is supporting player to Conway's incandescent and justifiable anger and the trenchant language through which she expresses it. The menace at the heart of The Trespasser is not the criminal himself, but the poisonous attitudes of a misogynistic culture, which can leave even the fiercest woman mortally wounded.