‚That’s what I came looking for,‘ he says. ‚A small place. A small town in a small country. It seemed like that would be easier to make sense of. Guess I might’ve had that wrong.‘
Cal Hooper, former detective with the Chicago police, left the States for a small village in Ireland. He bought an old run-down house that he is now repairing to make it a liveable place. For a couple of days already, he has felt somehow observed but couldn’t see anybody, when suddenly a small boy appears. At first, Trey is shy and does not speak and only reluctantly comes closer. It takes some time for him to open up and reveal why he has come to Cal. His older brother Brendan has gone missing and nobody seems to be concerned or willing to do something about it. Trey is convinced that Brendan did not just pack his bag and leave to find his luck in Dublin, something really bad must have happened to him. Cal has come to like the shy boy who is eager to learn about repairing old furniture and has become a pleasant company, therefore, he agrees to use his experience as a cop and ask some questions. It does not take long for Cal to realise that his new home is all but an idyllic and peaceful place.
Tana French’s novel combines a mystery about a missing teenager with a heart-wrenching story about two lonely people who by chance find each other. It also shows a reality which nobody wants to see, a place which is out of the focus of any institutions and where some kind of parallel law has been established nobody dares to interfere with. The people, quite sadly, do not play an important role in this concept. Neglected youngsters either adapt or risk their lives.
The biggest star of the novel, at least for me, is surely Trey. A courageous small kid, about 12 years old, who obviously lacks all education but has the heart in the right place and definitely an understanding of right and wrong. Even though well known in the small village, he does not know anybody to turn to and has to address a total stranger to find help. Everything connected to him is touching deeply and it is heart-breaking to see how Cal manages to gain his trust and build a friendship.
The mystery part of the novel advances slowly but then accelerates and turns into a suspenseful crime story. The whole plot lives on the atmosphere and the characters who are brilliantly created and make it a great read.