The Witch Elm by Tana French


This is the second time I picked up Witcn Elm as I didn’t get very far into the story the first go round. Admittedly it was my frame of mind as I had been hoping Tana would continue with the Dublin Murder Squad. With my husband and I staying in so much these days we decided to have our own book club.  We ordered a few books from Thift Books and set to reading The Witch Elm together.  It was enjoyable keeping the same pace and discussing the plot.

As with any Tana French mystery the writing was excellent. I do wish the book description hadn’t given away so much of the story ahead of time.
It was already established one of our main characters, Toby Hennessey, was a successful handsome man who came from a good family and always seemed to be….lucky.  That is how he is described.

One evening he is awakened during a home invasion and is viciously assaulted, leaving him with devasting injuries.  He decides to spend time at Ivy House with his uncle Hugo as he recovers and also to help his uncle.  Hugo has his own medical issues so its an ideal situation for both parties. At some point during  a family visit a human skull is discovered in the 200 year old Witch elm in the garden.

All of the above is known from the book jacket.

Incidentally, Ivy House is the ancesteral home of Toby’s grandparents and now Hugo, a gathering place for all family members to visit and have Sunday lunch. A place Toby and his cousins Leon and Susanna spent summers growing up and having parties.
As always Tana French’s writing style has you fully involved.  I felt like I was in the shadows witnessing these conversations between the cousins Toby, Susanna and Leon and those with Hugo.

The small trivial parts of a conversation such as Susanna ragging on Leon for picking through a bowl of nuts. “Stop picking  through, other people like cashews too, and besides it’s disgusting. ” That sort of natural banter that makes the scene so real.

Was I surprised by the ending? Yes.  There was an incident with a detective and Toby near the end that didn’t ring true with me.

Tana French is an excellent author and I will preorder any book she’s about to have published.  I can’t say that about any other writers with the exception of Jane Harper and Robert Galbraith.

Now for a bit of fun!  The character desciptions were detailed enough that we had our own mental images and tried to imagine a cast to play them if this were a movie.  Below see the decsription of Toby – thick straight blonde hair, very blue eyes and an open boyish face.


I’m picturing Emily Blunt as Susanna, Charlie Hunnam as Toby and Tom Hiddleston as Leon.

Anthony Hopkins as Hugo Hennessey, Saoirse Ronan as Melissa and David Tennant as Detective Rafferty.

Did you read the book? If so did you like it or wish Tana would go back to writing Dublin Murder Squad?

Sharing with Joy for British Isles Friday


The Trespasser by Tana French: book 6 in the Dublin Murder Squad series

The next Tana French publication always has me chomping at the bit, eager to read the latest goings on in the Dublin Murder Squad.

I was fortunate enough to get The Trespasser from the library shortly after it released. Honestly, in spite of some slow parts, I devoured it over a weekend. Rather than hash out a reiteration of other reviews and synopsis of the plot I’ll get to the pros and cons.

So, the previous book introduced Antoinette Conway and slid Stephen Moran back on to the scene. Moran was in Faithful Place as a minor character and had a bigger role in The Secret Place. I like him and hope to read more about him. Conway on the other hand was not a character I could warm up to. I just didn’t like her in the previous book so, to be honest, I was disappointed she held such a starring role in this book.

Midway through the book I thought it dragged a little. Too much talk and theorizing about gang connections (this will make sense when you read it) but then we turned a corner. The carrot is always dangling about who may have been the murderer and the guesses range from

1) The one they are focusing on is so obvious, it can’t be them,

2) If they are focusing on one person so much that it can’t be them, maybe that’s what the author wants you think and indeed…it is them,

3) You’ll be blindsided by a big revelation about 40 pages from the end and there is the ah-ha moment, the big reveal.

 photo inconceive_zpsmbozjayn.jpg

She has done that, a big twist, so you can’t rule anything out. By the end of the book I think I understood Conway better but I hope she won’t be in any future books.  Please, Ms. French, have Conway retire. The twist at the end was good. Well written with many theories and heated discussions between the detectives.

In the latter half of the book Detective Moran uses the phrase “tickety-boo” and I immediately remembered Joy writing about this on one of the British Isles Friday posts.  I’d never heard the term before and then it pops up in this novel.

 photo 92cacc33-af9a-4a34-bde7-c0d7e197d683_zpsrfftijg2.jpg

Now I wait another 2 years for the next book in this series. That’s about how long it seems to take for publication. Personally I am hoping Cassie Maddox makes another appearance again.  Great character but….that was a different couple of books awhile back.

Do you read the Dublin Murder Squad series and if so, what is your favorite book in the lineup?

Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday


British Isles Friday – the latest Tana French novel

If you have been following me for a while you will know I eagerly await the latest Tana French novel. I finally have it!

 photo tana_zpsnnqan3t5.jpg

I got on the list early at the library and remained #5 for ages. Once it was released I grabbed my copy. I am just over 120 pages into the book so, no review yet. Since it’s #BriFri at Joy’s Book Blog I thought I would participate and share my current infatuation.

So far the lead detective, Antoinette Conway, isn’t my favorite. She was a bit too abrasive for me in the last book, The Secret Place, and again, still not my favorite.

Why can’t we have Frank Mackey back?!  I love him.  Of course Frank’s character is in the Undercover Unit but he has made some appearance in the Dublin Murder Squad series.

Bottom line, Tana French is a great writer, so descriptive and takes you into the scene, into the homes and lets you be the observer.  I can tell this still won’t top out as my favorite Tana book but I’m not bored by this murder investigation either.

More on this book later.

Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday