The Searcher

Rating: 3 out of 5.

American ex-cop Cal moves to a run-down property in rural Ireland and busies himself with renovating, hunting, and fishing. He is hoping for a quiet life but becomes invested in the personal story of local kid Trey. Trey, having heard a retired detective has arrived, bugs Cal until he reluctantly agrees to help find Trey’s missing sibling Brendon. What follows is a slightly tedious account of outsider Cal bumbling his way through encounters with colourful locals to try and locate Brendon. When his neighbour start to close ranks, Cal becomes both frustrated and suspicious.   

I’ve been a fan of French since I read In The Woods, she is a fantastic crime fiction writer; so I was disappointed that I did not enjoy this novel as much as I thought I would.  

It was hard to feel invested in the slightly cartoon-like descriptions of some of the local characters, like Cal’s neighbour Mart and local shopkeeper Noreen. It felt a little trite. Yes, Mart’s character did turn out a little deeper than he initially appeared, but by the time that was revealed the damage was already done.  

French is great at building intrigue and the book is well paced. Some of the pub scenes are very entertaining, and the relationship that develops between Cal and Trey was both sad and touching. But by the time the mystery was solved, I was kind of over it all and it seemed an anti-climax.