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)