#BookBeginnings The Searcher by Tana French

Let’s explore The Searcher by Tana French for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!



The Searcher* by Tana French

(*Amazon Affiliate link)


Summary:  Former Chicago police detective Cal Hooper moves to a quiet, rural Irish village after retires, where he plans to fix up a run-down house and do a lot of fishing. Before long, however, he is drawn into investigating the disappearance of a local teenager who no one misses except his family — particularly his sibling, Trey. Can Cal unravel the truth among the tangle of village secrets ?

First Sentence:

When Cal comes out of the house, the rooks have got hold of something. Six of them are clustered on the back lawn, amid the long wet grass and the yellow-flowered weeds, jabbing and hopping.


Tana French’s novels have been described as literary suspense. Literary works can be defined in part by beautifully written descriptions, and French’s description of the rooks’ behavior in the beginning of Chapter One gives me chills. If you know birds, it rings true, but it also works to set the tone and establish setting, among other things.


The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.


Leftover raindrops tick in the hedges; small birds hop and peck in the grass. Cal saws, measures, chisels out dadoes and grooves, and gives Trey the fine sandpaper when he’s done with the coarse one. He can feel the kid glancing at him, the same way he was glancing at the kid, assessing.


It was harder to notice in the first quote, but the novel is written in the present tense. However, nothing in a Tana French novel is simple. She plays verb tense like a first chair violinist plays classical music.

Overall, the literary flavor might not appeal to readers of genre suspense and mystery who prefer a tightly-written plot. Tana French’s novels tend to wander through  the woods, allowing you to soak up the atmosphere.  Wanderng can be enjoyable if you know what to expect and that’s what you want to do, but maddening if not.

What do you think? Do you like literary fiction? Have you read any novels by Tana French? Would you read this one?


A rook is a type of crow (Public domain photo from Wikimedia)


  1. Anne@HeadFullofBooks

    Thanks for the photo. I wondered what a rook was. My book this week is Saving My Enemy

  2. Laurel-Rain Snow

    I have been planning to read her novels, and have the first one: In the Woods. I kept putting it off, and as more books were added to the series, I felt too far behind to even begin!

    But…I might just have to leap into that first one, at least. Thanks for sharing and for visiting my blog.

  3. Freda Mans-Labianca

    I’ve heard good things about this book. I hope you enjoy it! Happy weekend!

  4. Catherine @ Book Club Librarian

    I’ve been wanting to read this one–and often walk past it in my library’s new reads display. One of these days . . .

  5. Lauren @ Always Me

    I need to read more of this author! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  6. Literary Feline

    I have only read In the Woods by French and I loved it. I have some of her other books here to read but haven’t managed to pick them up. I enjoy literary fiction and literary mysteries. I definitely have to be in a certain mood for them. Thank you for sharing! I hope you have a great weekend!

  7. Yvonne (@Fiction_Books)

    I haven’t read any books by this author, despite having a couple on my physical bookshelves. They look like such ‘chunkster’ reads, that I tend to avoid them.

    I don’t really know why, as I do enjoy good descriptive writing and I don’t really mind if a story wanders off the plot a little.

    I might give one of them a try, although maybe not this one just yet, as I recently finished a book where ravens featured quite a lot, so I have had my share of being freaked out by big, black birds!

    We also back on to a copse of large trees, which are full of crow’s nests. The noise is phenomenal and they will attack anything which looks like a threat to them, including the squirrels and cats!!

    Thanks for sharing and have a good weekend 🙂

  8. Ashley S.

    I’m intrigued! I want more. Thanks for sharing! Hope you have a great weekend! 🙂

  9. Karen

    You know I am a Tana French fan and have read all her other books. Be sure and let us know how you like this one!

    • Roberta

      Unlike some of the others, it did have a believable, mostly satisfying ending. I also liked that the protagonist was American, a stand in for readers who might not be familiar with that area of Ireland. I’d say go for it.

  10. Karen

    I have it on reserve at the library, but there’s quite a long wait for it. I’m glad you liked it, though!

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