Faithful Place (Dublin Murder Squad Series #3)
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Faithful Place (Dublin Murder Squad Series #3)

3.9 420
by Tana French

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From Tana French, “the most interesting, most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years” (The Washington Post), the bestseller called “the most stunning of her books”(The New York Times) and a finalist for the Edgar Award. Don't miss her newest, The Trespasser, now available.

Back in 1985, Frank


From Tana French, “the most interesting, most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years” (The Washington Post), the bestseller called “the most stunning of her books”(The New York Times) and a finalist for the Edgar Award. Don't miss her newest, The Trespasser, now available.

Back in 1985, Frank Mackey was a nineteen-year-old kid with a dream of escaping hisi family's cramped flat on Faithful Place and running away to London with his girl, Rosie Daly. But on the night they were supposed to leave, Rosie didn't show. Frank took it for granted that she'd dumped him-probably because of his alcoholic father, nutcase mother, and generally dysfunctional family. He never went home again. Neither did Rosie. Then, twenty-two years later, Rosie's suitcase shows up behind a fireplace in a derelict house on Faithful Place, and Frank, now a detective in the Dublin Undercover squad, is going home whether he likes it or not. 

Getting sucked in is a lot easier than getting out again. Frank finds himself straight back in the dark tangle of relationships he left behind. The cops working the case want him out of the way, in case loyalty to his family and community makes him a liability. Faithful Place wants him out because he's a detective now, and the Place has never liked cops. Frank just wants to find out what happened to Rosie Daly-and he's willing to do whatever it takes, to himself or anyone else, to get the job done.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
For the third novel in her Dublin Murder Squad mystery series, French focuses on Squad detective Frank Mackey (a secondary character in The Likeness) as its protagonist, a man faced with new evidence that his first love may have been murdered years ago instead of, as he's believed, deserting him for life in London. He's forced to revisit his old inner-city neighborhood and a dysfunctional family, from whom he's been estranged for 22 years. Tim Gerard Reynolds's task is to be true to the novel's Irish working-class roots, but also to capture Mackey's voice as he shifts between tough cop to confused son and bitter sibling struggling against the past. Not only does Reynolds meet that demand, he adds his own admirable touches to the wonderfully drawn denizens of Faithful Place. For Mackey's aging, abusive father, Reynolds uses a deep hoarse growl, for his ever-disapproving Ma a shrill harangue. Older brother Sean speaks with an arrogant edge, older sister Carmel with lofty uninterest, while younger siblings Kevin and Jackie have the upbeat voices of naïfs. A Viking hardcover (Reviews, May 31). (July)
Library Journal
In 1985, Frank Mackey and Rosie Daly were 19, in love, and planning to run away together from Ireland to start a new life in England. When Rosie failed to meet him, Frank stayed in his hometown of Dublin, estranged from his dysfunctional family. But 22 years later, Frank, now on the Dublin Police Undercover Squad and boss of Det. Cassie Maddox (from The Likeness), finds his history in upheaval when his colleagues unearth Rosie's remains in a dilapidated house in his old neighborhood, and he's pulled back into his family of four siblings and their alcoholic, wife-beating father. When his younger brother dies days later—accident, suicide, or murder?—in the yard of the same old house, Frank connives to stay in the loop of the investigation as he tries to put the pieces together and his nine-year-old daughter becomes a key player in the case. VERDICT With French's masterly portrayal of family dynamics and responsibility and her adept depiction of young love and parental devotion, fans are unlikely to miss Maddox, the protagonist of her first two New York Times best sellers (Into the Woods; The Likeness). Psychological suspense at its best. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/10.]—Michele Leber, Arlington, VA
Kirkus Reviews
An Irish undercover cop delves into his working-class past. When Frank Mackey left Faithful Place more than 20 years ago, he never imagined returning. Of course, he thought he'd be leaving with his childhood sweetheart Rosie Daly. When Rosie failed to show up at their meeting spot that fateful night, Frank was broken-hearted but decided to go it alone. He's moved on and hasn't looked back-until he receives an urgent call from his sister Jackie, demanding that he return to his childhood home. She's got the one thing in the world that could make him come back: information about Rosie, whose suitcase has been found in a vacant house. This new intelligence throws mysterious shadows on Frank's theories about Rosie's fate. Suddenly, what was once buried history starts coming to light, and Frank isn't quite prepared for the twists his life begins to take. Not only does everything seem to tie into his family of origin, but menacing fingers seem to be reaching out for his young daughter Holly. If only Frank's position as an undercover cop would give him some insight into the case. Instead, Scorcher, the lead investigator, has an eye out for Frank's interference and keeps him at an increasing distance as the investigation heats up. Though French (The Likeness, 2009, etc.) plies readers with dark and stormy cliches, the charming narrative will leave readers begging for a sequel.
Janet Maslin
…expertly rendered, gripping…The first thing that Ms. French does so well in Faithful Place is to inhabit fully a scrappy, shrewd, privately heartbroken middle-aged man. The second is to capture the Mackey family's long-brewing resentments in a way that's utterly realistic on many levels. Sibling rivalries, class conflicts, old grudges, adolescent flirtations and memories of childhood violence are all deftly embedded in this novel, as is the richly idiomatic Dublinese.
—The New York Times
Maureen Corrigan
The voice is what grabs you first. It belongs to our narrator, Frank Mackey, a police detective in Dublin…Frank's voice is so wry, bitter and just plain alive that when I finished Faithful Place and began writing this review, I had to think for a long blank minute about the name of the author. To do that, I first had to remember that Frank was created, not real. My naive lapse was a tribute to Tana French's extraordinary gifts, and her name should be writ large on every mystery lover's must-read list.
—The Washington Post
French's writing remains brilliant, and her dialogue is sharp, often lacerating, and sometimes mordantly funny. Faithful Place is her best book yet.
From the Publisher
“Tana French’s mysteries are like big old trees: the deeper their roots, the more luxurious the foliage they wave in your face.”
--Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
“French does something fresh with every novel, each one as powerful as the last but in a very different manner. Perhaps she has superpowers of her own? Whatever the source of her gift, it’s only growing more miraculous with every book.”
--Laura Miller,
“An expertly rendered, gripping new novel”
--Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“Irish writer Tana French hit the big time with her stunning cop-drama debut, “In the Woods,” and followed it with an equally brilliant book, “The Likeness.” Both demonstrated French’s gift for merging the best traits of the crime genre with the compassionate insights and nimble prose associated with “serious” literature. A third dazzler, “Faithful Place,” puts Detective Frank Mackey, a supporting actor from “The Likeness,” front and center.”
--The Seattle Times
“French’s emotionally searing third novel of the Dublin Murder Squad (after The Likeness) shows the Irish author getting better with each book.”
--Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
“[French] revisits, evocatively and lyrically, themes she's used before: love, loss, memory, murder, and life in modern Ireland. French's writing remains brilliant, and her dialogue is sharp, often lacerating, and sometimes mordantly funny. Faithful Place is her best book yet.”
--Booklist (starred review)
“The charming narrative will leave readers begging for a sequel.”
--Kirkus Reviews
“Powerful...An authentic Irish heartbreaker”
--The Star-Ledger (Newark)

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Dublin Murder Squad Series , #3
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt


My father once told me that the most important thing every man should know is what he would die for. If you don’t know that, he said, what are you worth? Nothing. You’re not a man at all. I was thirteen and he was three quarters of the way into a bottle of Gordon’s finest, but hey, good talk. As far as I recall, he was willing to die a) for Ireland, b) for his mother, who had been dead for ten years, and c) to get that bitch Maggie Thatcher.

All the same, at any moment of my life since that day, I could have told you straight off the bat exactly what I would die for. At first it was easy: my family, my girl, my home. Later, for a while, things got more complicated. These days they hold steady, and I like that; it feels like something a man can be proud of. I would die for, in no particular order, my city, my job, and my kid.

The kid is well behaved so far, the city is Dublin, and the job is on the Undercover Squad, so it may sound obvious which one I’m most likely to wind up dying for, but it’s been a while since work handed me anything scarier than a paperwork megaturd. The size of this country means a field agent’s shelf life is short; two ops, maybe four, and your risk of being spotted gets too high. I used up my nine lives a long time back. I stay behind the scenes, for now, and run operations of my own.

Here’s the real risk in Undercover, in the field and out: you create illusions for long enough, you start thinking you’re in control. It’s easy to slide into believing you’re the hypnotist here, the mirage master, the smart cookie who knows what’s real and how all the tricks are done. The fact is you’re still just another slack-jawed mark in the audience. No matter how good you are, this world is always going to be better at this game. It’s more cunning than you are, it’s faster and it’s a whole lot more ruthless. All you can do is try to keep up, know your weak spots and never stop expecting the sucker punch.

The second time my life geared up for the sucker punch, it was a Friday afternoon at the beginning of December. I had spent the day doing maintenance work on some of my current mirages—one of my boys, who would not be getting any cookies from Uncle Frank in his Christmas stocking, had got himself into a situation wherein, for complex reasons, he needed an elderly lady whom he could introduce to several low-level drug dealers as his granny—and I was heading over to my ex-wife’s place to pick up my kid for the weekend. Olivia and Holly live in a jaw-droppingly tasteful semi-d on a manicured cul-de-sac in Dalkey. Olivia’s daddy gave it to us for a wedding present. When we moved in, it had a name instead of a number. I got rid of that fast, but still, I should have copped right then that this marriage was never going to work. If my parents had known I was getting married, my ma would have gone deep into hock at the credit union, bought us a lovely floral living-room suite and been outraged if we took the plastic off the cushions.

Olivia kept herself bang in the middle of the doorway, in case I got ideas about coming in. “Holly’s almost ready,” she said.

Olivia, and I say this hand on heart with the proper balance of smugness and regret, is a stunner: tall, with a long elegant face, plenty of soft ashblond hair and the kind of discreet curves you don’t notice at first and then can’t stop noticing. That evening she was smoothed into an expensive black dress and delicate tights and her grandmother’s diamond necklace that only comes out on big occasions, and the Pope himself would have whipped off his skullcap to mop his brow. Me being a less classy guy than the Pope, I wolf whistled. “Big date?”

“We’re going for dinner.”

“Does ‘we’ involve Dermo again?”

Olivia is way too smart to let me yank her chain that easily. “His name’s Dermot, and yes, it does.”

I did impressed. “That’s four weekends running, am I right? Tell me something: is tonight the big night?”

Olivia called up the stairs, “Holly! Your father’s here!” While she had her back turned, I headed on past her into the hall. She was wearing Chanel No. 5, same as she has ever since we met.

Upstairs: “Daddy! I’m coming I’m coming I’m coming, I just have to . . .” and then a long intent stream of chatter, as Holly explained her complicated little head without caring whether anyone could hear her. I yelled, “You take your time, sweetheart!” on my way into the kitchen.

Olivia followed me. “Dermot will be here any minute,” she told me. I wasn’t clear on whether this was a threat or a plea.

I flipped open the fridge and had a look inside. “I don’t like the cut of that fella. He’s got no chin. I never trust a man with no chin.”

“Well, fortunately, your taste in men isn’t relevant here.”

“It is if you’re getting serious enough that he’ll be spending time around Holly. What’s his surname again?”

Once, back when we were heading for the split, Olivia slammed the fridge door on my head. I could tell she was thinking about doing it again. I stayed leaning over, to give her every opportunity, but she kept her cool. “Why do you want to know?”

“I’ll need to run him through the computer.” I pulled out a carton of orange juice and gave it a shake. “What’s this crap? When did you stop buying the good stuff?”

Olivia’s mouth—subtle nude lipstick—was starting to tighten. “You will not run Dermot through any computer, Frank.”

“Got no choice,” I told her cheerfully. “I have to make sure he’s not a kiddie-fiddler, haven’t I?”

“Sweet Lord, Frank! He is not—”

“Maybe not,” I acknowledged. “Probably not. But how can you be sure, Liv? Wouldn’t you rather be safe than sorry?” I uncapped the juice and took a swig.

“Holly!” Olivia called, louder. “Hurry up!”

“I can’t find my horse!” A bunch of thumps, overhead.

I told Olivia, “They target single mammies with lovely little kids. And it’s amazing how many of them don’t have chins. Have you never noticed that?”

“No, Frank, I haven’t. And I won’t have you using your job to intimidate—”

“Take a good look next time there’s a pedo on the telly. White van and no chin, I guarantee you. What does Dermo drive?”


I had another big gulp of juice, wiped off the spout with my sleeve and stuck the carton back in the fridge. “That tastes like cat’s piss. If I up the child support, will you buy decent juice?”

“If you tripled it,” Olivia said sweetly and coldly, glancing at her watch, “not that you could, it might just about cover one carton a week.” Kitty has claws, if you keep pulling her tail for long enough.

At this point Holly saved both of us from ourselves by shooting out of her room calling, “Daddydaddydaddy!” at the top of her lungs. I made it to the bottom of the stairs in time for her to take a flying leap at me like a little spinning firework, all gold cobweb hair and pink sparkly things, wrapping her legs round my waist and whacking me in the back with her schoolbag and a fuzzy pony called Clara that had seen better days.

“Hello, spider monkey,” I said, kissing the top of her head. She was light as a fairy. “How was your week?”

“Very busy and I’m not a spider monkey,” she told me severely, nose to nose. “What’s a spider monkey?”

Holly is nine and the fine-boned, easy-bruised spit of her mother’s family—us Mackeys are sturdy and thick-skinned and thick-haired, built for hard work in Dublin weather—all except for her eyes. The first time I ever saw her she looked up at me with my own eyes, great wide bright-blue eyes that hit me like a Taser zap, and they still make my heart flip over every time. Olivia can scrape off my surname like an out-of-date address label, load up the fridge with juice I don’t like and invite Dermo the Pedo to fill my side of the bed, but there’s not a thing she can do about those eyes.

I told Holly, “It’s a magic fairy monkey that lives in an enchanted wood.” She gave me a look that was perfectly balanced between Wow and Nice try. “What has you so busy?”

She slid off me and landed on the floor with a thump. “Chloe and Sarah and me are going to have a band. I drew you a picture in school because we made up a dance and can I have white boots? And Sarah wrote a song and . . .” For a second there Olivia and I almost smiled at each other, across her head, before Olivia caught herself and checked her watch again.

In the drive we crossed paths with my friend Dermo, who—as I know for a fact, because I snagged his plate number the first time he and Olivia went out to dinner—is an impeccably law-abiding guy who has never even parked his Audi on a double yellow, and who can’t help looking like he lives life on the verge of a massive belch. “Evening,” he said, giving me an electrocuted nod. I think Dermo may be scared of me. “Holly.”

“What do you call him?” I asked Holly, when I had fastened her into her booster seat and Olivia, perfect as Grace Kelly, was kissing Dermo’s cheek in the doorway.

Holly rearranged Clara’s mane and shrugged. “Mum says to call him Uncle Dermot.”

“And do you?”

“No. Out loud I don’t call him anything. In my head I call him Squidface.” She checked in the rearview mirror, to see if I was going to give out about that. Her chin was all ready to turn stubborn.

I started to laugh. “Beautiful,” I told her. “That’s my girl,” and I did a handbrake turn to make Olivia and Squidface jump.

Since Olivia got sense and kicked me out, I live on the quays, in a massive apartment block built in the nineties by, apparently, David Lynch. The carpets are so deep that I’ve never heard a footstep, but even at four in the morning you can feel the hum of five hundred minds buzzing on every side of you: people dreaming, hoping, worrying, planning, thinking. I grew up in a tenement house, so you would think I’d be good with the factory-farm lifestyle, but this is different. I don’t know these people; I never even see these people. I have no idea how or when they get in and out of the place. For all I know they never leave, just stay barricaded in their apartments, thinking Even in my sleep I’ve got one ear tuned to that buzz, ready to leap out of bed and defend my territory if I need to.

The decor in my personal corner of Twin Peaks is divorcé chic, by which I mean that, four years on, it still looks like the moving van hasn’t arrived yet. The exception is Holly’s room, which is loaded with every fluffy pastel object known to man. The day we went looking for furniture together, I had finally managed to wrestle one weekend a month out of Olivia, and I wanted to buy Holly everything on three floors of the shopping center. A part of me had believed I’d never see her again.

“What are we doing tomorrow?” she wanted to know, as we headed up the padded corridor. She was trailing Clara on the carpet by one leg. Last I’d looked, she would have screamed bloody murder at the thought of that horse touching the floor. Blink and you miss something.

“Remember that kite I got you? Finish all your homework tonight, and if it’s not raining I’ll bring you to the Phoenix Park and teach you to fly it.”

“Can Sarah come?”

“We’ll ring her mum after dinner.” Holly’s mates’ parents love me. Nothing feels more responsible than having a detective take your kid to the park.

“Dinner! Can we get pizza?”

“Sure,” I said. Olivia lives an additive-free, organic, high-fiber life; if I don’t do a little counterbalancing, the kid will grow up twice as healthy as all her mates and feel left out. “Why not?” and then I unlocked the door and got my first hint that Holly and I weren’t getting any pizza tonight. The voice-mail light on my phone was going apeshit. Five missed calls. Work rings me on my mobile, field agents and confidential informants ring me on my other mobile, the lads know they’ll see me in the pub when they see me, and Olivia sends me text messages when she has to. That left family, which meant my kid sister Jackie, seeing as she was the only one I’d talked to in a couple of decades. Five calls probably meant one of our parents was dying.

I told Holly, “Here,” and held out my laptop. “You take that to your room and annoy your mates on IM. I’ll be in to you in a few minutes.”

Holly, who knows well that she isn’t allowed to go online in private till she’s twenty-one, gave me a skeptical look. “If you want a cigarette, Daddy,” she told me, very maturely, “you can just go out on the balcony. I know you smoke.”

I steered her towards her room with a hand on her back. “Oh, yeah? What makes you think that?” At any other time I would have been seriously curious. I’ve never smoked in front of Holly, and Olivia wouldn’t have told her. We made her mind, the two of us; the idea of it containing things we didn’t put there still blows me away.

“I just know,” Holly said, dumping Clara and her bag on her bed and looking lofty. The kid’ll make a detective yet. “And you shouldn’t. Sister Mary Therese says it turns all your insides black.”

“Sister Mary Therese is dead right. Smart woman.” I switched on the laptop and hooked up the broadband line. “There you go. I’ve to make a phone call. Don’t be buying any diamonds on eBay.”

Holly asked, “Are you going to ring your girlfriend?”

She looked tiny and way too wise, standing there in her white padded coat that came halfway down her skinny legs, wide eyes trying not to look scared. “No,” I said. “No, sweetheart. I don’t have a girlfriend.”


“I swear. I’m not planning on getting one anytime soon, either. In a few years maybe you can pick one out for me. How’s that?”

“I want Mum to be your girlfriend.”

“Yeah,” I said. “I know.” I put my hand on her head for a second; her hair felt like petals. Then I closed her door behind me and went back to the living room to find out who had died.

It was Jackie on the voice mail, all right, and she was going like an express train. Bad sign: Jackie brakes for good news (“You’ll never guess what happened. Go on, have guess”) and floors the pedal for bad. This was Formula 1 stuff . “Ah, Jaysus, Francis, would you ever pick up your bleeding phone, I need to talk to you, I’m not just ringing you for the laugh, do I ever? Now before you go getting a fright, it’s not Mammy, God forbid, she’s grand, a bit shook up but sure aren’t we all, she was having palpitations there at first but she had a sit-down and Carmel gave her a drink of brandy and she’s grand now, aren’t you, Mam? Thank God Carmel was there, she does call round most Fridays after the shopping, she rang me and Kevin to come down. Shay said not to be ringing you, what’s the point, he said, but I told him to feck off for himself, it’s only fair, so if you’re at home would you ever pick up this phone and talk to me? Francis! I swear to God—” The message space ran out with a beep.

Carmel and Kevin and Shay, oh my. It sounded very much like the entire family had descended on my parents’ place. My da; it had to be. “Daddy!” Holly yelled, from her room. “How many cigarettes do you smoke every day?”

The voice-mail lady told me to press buttons; I followed orders. “Who says I smoke?”

“I need to know! Twenty?”

For a start. “Maybe.”

Jackie again: “Bleeding machines, I wasn’t finished! Come here, I should’ve said right away, it’s not Da either, he’s the same as ever, no one’s dead or hurt or nothing, or anyway we’re all grand. Kevin’s a bit upset but I think that’s because he’s worried about how you’ll take it, he’s awful fond of you, you know, he still is. Now it might be nothing, Francis, I don’t want you losing the head, right, it could all be a joke, someone messing, that’s what we thought at first, although pretty shite joke if you ask me, excuse my language—”

“Daddy! How much exercise do you get?”

What the hell? “I’m a secret ballet dancer.”

“Noooo, seriously! How much?”

“Not enough.”

“—and sure, none of us have a clue what to be doing with it an’ anyway, so would you ever ring me as soon as you get this? Please, Francis. I’ll have my mobile in my hand, now.”

Click, beep, voice-mail babe. Looking back, I should have figured it out by that point, or at least I should have got the general idea. “Daddy? How much fruit and vegetables do you eat?”


“You do not!”


The next three messages were more of the same, at half-hour intervals. By the last one, Jackie had reached the point where only small dogs could hear her.


“Give me a sec, sweetie.”

I took my mobile out on the balcony, above the dark river and the greasy orange lights and the running snarl of the traffic jams, and phoned Jackie. She answered on the first ring. “Francis? Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I’ve been going mental! Where were you?”

She had slowed down to about eighty miles an hour. “Picking up Holly. What the hell, Jackie?”

Background noise. Even after all that time, I knew the quick bite of Shay’s voice straight away. One note of my ma caught me right in the throat.

“Ah, God, Francis . . . Would you sit down for me, now? Or get yourself a glass of brandy, something like that?”

“Jackie, if you don’t tell me what’s going on, I swear I’m going to come over there and strangle you.”

“Hang on, hold your horses . . .” A door closing. “Now,” Jackie said, into sudden quiet. “Right. D’you remember I was telling you a while back, some fella’s after buying up the three houses at the top of the Place? To turn into apartments?”


“He’s not doing the apartments after all, now everyone’s after getting all worried about property prices; he’s leaving the houses a while and see what happens. So he got the builders in to take out the fireplaces and the moldings and that, to sell—there’s people pay good money for those yokes, did you know that? mentallers—and they started today, on the one up on the corner. D’you remember, the derelict one?”

“Number Sixteen.”

“That’s the one. They were taking out the fireplaces, and up behind one of them they found a suitcase.”

Dramatic pause. Drugs? Guns? Cash? Jimmy Hoff a? “Fuck’s sake, Jackie. What?”

“It’s Rosie Daly’s, Francis. It’s her case.”

All the layers of traffic noise vanished, snapped right off . That orange glow across the sky turned feral and hungry as forest fire, blinding, out of control.

“No,” I said, “it’s not. I don’t know where the hell you got that, but it’s a load of my arse.”

“Ah, now, Francis—”

Concern and sympathy were pouring off her voice. If she’d been there, I think I would have punched her lights out. “‘Ah, now, Francis,’ nothing. You and Ma have yourselves worked up into some hysterical frenzy over sweet fuck-all, and now you want me to play along—”

“Listen to me, I know you’re—”

“Unless this is all some stunt to get me over there. Is that it, Jackie? Are you aiming for some big family reconciliation? Because I’m warning you now, this isn’t the fucking Hallmark Channel and that kind of game isn’t going to end well.”

“You big gobshite, you,” Jackie snapped. “Get a hold of yourself. What do you think I am? There’s a shirt in that case, a purple paisley yoke, Carmel recognizes it—”

I’d seen it on Rosie a hundred times, knew what the buttons felt like under my fingers. “Yeah, from every girl in this town in the eighties. Carmel’d recognize Elvis walking down Grafton Street for a bit of gossip. I thought you had better sense, but apparently—”

“—and there’s a birth cert wrapped inside it. Rose Bernadette Daly.” Which more or less killed that line of conversation. I found my smokes, leaned my elbows on the railing and took the longest drag of my life.

“Sorry,” Jackie said, softer. “For biting your head off . Francis?”


“Are you all right?”

“Yeah. Listen to me, Jackie. Do the Dalys know?”

“They’re not in. Nora moved out to Blanchardstown, I think it was, a few years back; Mr. Daly and Mrs. Daly go over to her on Friday nights, to see the baba. Mammy thinks she has the number somewhere, but—”

“Have you called the Guards?”

“Only you, sure.”

“Who else knows about this?”

“The builders, only. A couple of Polish young fellas, they are. When they finished up for the day they went across to Number Fifteen, to ask was there anyone they could give the case back to, but Number Fifteen’s students now, so they sent the Polish fellas down to Ma and Da.”

“And Ma hasn’t told the whole road? Are you sure?”

“The Place isn’t the same as you remember it. Half of it’s students and yuppies, these days; we wouldn’t even know their names. The Cullens are still here, and the Nolans and some of the Hearnes, but Mammy didn’t want to say anything to them till she’d told the Dalys. It wouldn’t be right.”

“Good. Where’s the case now?”

“It’s in the front room. Should the builders not have moved it? They had to get on with their work—”

“It’s grand. Don’t touch it any more unless you have to. I’ll be over as fast as I can.”

A second of silence. Then: “Francis. I don’t want to be thinking anything terrible, God bless us, but does this not mean that Rosie . . .”

“We don’t know anything yet,” I said. “Just sit tight, don’t talk to anyone, and wait for me.”

I hung up and took a quick look into the apartment behind me. Holly’s door was still shut. I finished my smoke in one more marathon drag, tossed the butt over the railing, lit another and rang Olivia.

She didn’t even say hello. “No, Frank. Not this time. Not a chance.”

“I don’t have a choice, Liv.”

“You begged for every weekend. Begged. If you didn’t want them—”

“I do want them. This is an emergency.”

“It always is. The squad can survive without you for two days, Frank. No matter what you’d like to think, you’re not indispensable.”

To anyone more than a foot away, her voice would have sounded light and chatty, but she was furious. Tinkling cutlery, arch hoots of laughter; something that sounded like, God help us, a fountain. “It’s not work this time,” I said. “It’s family.”

“It is, of course. Would this have anything to do with the fact that I’m on my fourth date with Dermot?”

“Liv, I would happily do a lot to wreck your fourth date with Dermot, but I’d never give up time with Holly. You know me better than that.”

A short, suspicious pause. “What kind of family emergency?”

“I don’t know yet. Jackie rang me in hysterics, from my parents’ place; I can’t work out the details. I need to get over there fast.”

Another pause. Then Olivia said, on a long tired breath, “Right. We’re in the Coterie. Drop her down.”

The Coterie has a TV-based chef and gets hand-jobbed in a lot of weekend supplements. It badly needs firebombing. “Thanks, Olivia. Seriously I’ll pick her up later tonight, if I can, or tomorrow morning. I’ll ring you.”

“You do that,” Olivia said. “If you can, of course,” and she hung up. I threw my smoke away and went inside to finish pissing off the women in my life.

Holly was sitting cross-legged on her bed, with the computer on her lap and a worried look on her face. “Sweetheart,” I said, “we’ve got a problem.” She pointed at the laptop. “Daddy, look.”

The screen said, in big purple letters surrounded by an awful lot of flashing graphics, you will die at the age of 52. The kid looked really upset. I sat down on the bed behind her and pulled her and the computer onto my lap. “What’s all this?”

“Sarah found this quiz online and I did it for you and it said this. You’re forty-one.”

Oh, Jesus, not now. “Chickadee, it’s the internet. Anyone can put anything on there. That doesn’t make it real.”

“It says! They figured it all out!”

Olivia was going to love me if I gave Holly back in tears. “Let me show you something,” I said. I reached around her, got rid of my death sentence, opened up a Word document and typed in, you are a space alien. You are reading this on the planet bongo. “Now. Is that true?”

Holly managed a watery giggle. “Course not.”

I turned it purple and gave it a fancy font. “How about now?”


“How about if I got the computer to ask you a bunch of questions before it said that? Would it be true then?”

For a second I thought I’d got through, but then those narrow shoulders went rigid. “You said a problem.”

“Yeah. We’re going to have to change our plans just a little bit.”

“I have to go back to Mum’s,” Holly said, to the laptop. “Don’t I?”

“Yep, sweetie. I’m really, really sorry. I’ll come get you the second I can.”

“Does work need you again?”

That again felt worse than anything Olivia could dish out. “No,” I said, leaning sideways so I could see Holly’s face. “It’s nothing to do with work. Work can take a long walk off a short pier, am I right?” That got a faint smile. “You know your auntie Jackie? She’s got a big problem, and she needs me to sort it out for her right now.”

“Can’t I come with you?”

Both Jackie and Olivia have tried hinting, occasionally, that Holly should get to know her dad’s family. Sinister suitcases aside, over my dead body does Holly dip a toe in the bubbling cauldron of crazy that is the Mackeys at their finest. “Not this time. Once I’ve fixed everything, we’ll bring Auntie Jackie for an ice cream somewhere, will we? To cheer us all up?”

“Yeah,” Holly said, on a tired little breath exactly like Olivia’s. “That’d be fun,” and she disentangled herself from my lap and started putting her stuff back into her schoolbag.

In the car Holly kept up a running conversation with Clara, in a subdued little voice too quiet for me to hear. At every red light I looked at her in the rearview mirror and swore to myself that I’d make it up to her: get hold of the Dalys’ phone number, dump the damn suitcase on their doorstep and have Holly back at El Rancho Lyncho by bedtime. I already knew it wasn’t going to work out that way. That road and that suitcase had been waiting for me to come back for a long time. Now that they’d got their hooks in, what they had saved up for me was going to take a lot more than one evening.

The note had the bare minimum of teen-queen melodrama; she was always good that way, was Rosie. I know this is going to be a shock and I’m sorry but please don’t be feeling like I messed you around on purpose, I never wanted to do that. Only I’ve thought about it really hard, this is the only way I’ll ever have a decent chance at the kind of life I want. I just wish I could do it and not hurt you/upset you/disappoint you. It would be great if you could wish me luck in my new life in England!! but if you can’t I understand.

I swear I’ll come back someday. Till then, loads and loads and loads of love,


In between the moment when she left that note on the floor of Number 16, in the room where we had our first kiss, and the moment when she went to heave her suitcase over some wall and get the hell out of Dodge, something had happened.

What People are Saying About This

Linda Fairstein
Tana French is back with a brilliant thriller in Faithful Place. Hard-edged and smart, like the scene-stealing detective at the center of this haunting novel, the book is a stunning tale of love and betrayal. (Linda Fairstein, New York Times bestselling author of Hell Gate and Lethal Legacy)
Sophie Hannah
[Faithful Place] is a truly amazing novel—so brilliant on dysfunctional family dynamics, with characters so real that you can hardly believe someone's made them up. I hope she's busy writing her next one! (Sophie Hannah, author of The Wrong Mother and Little Face)
Sara Paretsky
A pitch-perfect narrative voice and a family dynamic that will ring true to anyone who's come from a sprawling, disorganized household. (Sara Paretsky, author of Hardball)
From the Publisher

"[French] revisits, evocatively and lyrically, themes she's used before: love, loss, memory, murder, and life in modern Ireland. French's writing remains brilliant, and her dialogue is sharp, often lacerating, and sometimes mordantly funny. Faithful Place is her best book yet."
-Booklist (starred)

"The charming narrative will leave readers begging for a sequel."
-Kirkus Reviews

"Part Raymond Chandler, part Roddy Doyle, crime fiction's rising star takes it into mesmerizing new territory . . . French's hypnotic storytelling remains in full force in this novel . . . Faithful Place is wrenching to a degree that detective fiction rarely achieves . . . French does something fresh with every novel, each one as powerful as the last but in a very different manner. Perhaps she has superpowers of her own? Whatever the source of her gift, it's only growing more miraculous with every book."

Meet the Author

Tana French is also the author of In the WoodsThe LikenessFaithful PlaceBroken Harbor, The Secret Place and The Trespasser. Her books have won awards including the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, and Barry awards, the Los Angeles Times Award for Best Mystery/Thriller, and the Irish Book Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Dublin with her family.

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Faithful Place 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 420 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The good news is that I couldn't put this book down; it's a real page-turner. The bad news: I'll probably have to wait another year, at least, for her next book. Count me a fan for life. I won't restate the story here; others have done that. I'll comment on the actual writing: The crisp style and brilliant dialogue capture the family relationships and pitfalls thereof in an amazingly accurate and pointed way. The Irish facility with expressive language and humor makes the dialogue absolutely sparkle. The police/crime aspect of the book is secondary to the character novel. Terrific job, Ms French - can't wait for your next one!
theReader278 More than 1 year ago
Another fantastic book by Tana French. If you loved In the Woods, you will love this one too.
nancymitchell More than 1 year ago
This book is an absolute pleasure to read. In this story, Frank Mackay returns home after a twenty year absence in order to solve the disappearance of an old flame. This is another emotionally gripping, who-dun-it that will leave you spellbound. Excellent!!
bridget3420 More than 1 year ago
Frank and Rosie are head-over-heels in love. They make a plan to meet one night to run off together. Frank waits and waits for Rosie but she never shows up. He forces himself to move on but he never forgets Rosie. Years later, when Frank is working as a detective, he gets a shocking phone call from his sister. A suitcase has been found and it's Rosie. Shortly after this discovery, Rosie's body turns up. Frank is determined to find out what happened to the love of his life. I loved this book! It's a fantastic work of fiction by an extraordinary author. The way Tana weaves the whole story together is amazing. I can't wait to see what else she has in store for her fans.
sweetpeaSP More than 1 year ago
We discover more about Frank Mackey from French's IN THE WOODS, his divorce, his daughter and his dysfunctional family. This is an exciting tale of secrets, betrayals and hope. Past and present meet in Ireland where Mackey, a middle-aged, rough and tumble Irish cop, tries to solve the 20 year old cold case murder of his former girlfriend. This is a murder mystery but the killer is revealed early on, if the reader catches it, so it is not so much in who did it but in why. There's humor, but it's a little dark, never-the-less, it helps to lift the books spirit. Mackey's feelings for Rosie have been a huge roadblock in his life that prevented him from having a normal relationship with people. The reader will mourn Rosie and feel sorry for Mackey. Really good!! Other good ones: EXPLOSION IN PARIS THE ONE THAT I WANT TIME OF MY LIFE
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another Tana French Must read!! This book was great, a real page-turner. I stayed up all night reading it! The characters are people you can relate to. This book has the ability to funny and touching at the same time. I highly reccomend French's other two books too, The Likeness and In The Woods. Can't wait for her next book!!
Johnette More than 1 year ago
I've read all three of Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad books and I can only hope that she doesn't ever stop writing. I can't wait for the next book. Unfortunately, No. 3 just came out so I'll have to do some waiting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
French's stories tend to be gritty, and reality can be hard to find, which is what I love about her. Faithful Place has wonderfully sharp dialog and characters, but I missed the sense of not really knowing what was going on. I felt like I had too much information, and thus some of the charm of the mystery was gone. One of her best qualities as a writer is the ability to leave open ended thoughts in the reader's mind, so that they think about it for months afterward, and I missed that in this story. Its still a great read.
Lynie More than 1 year ago
Set in Dublin, young sweethearts Frank Mackey and Rosie Daly plan to run away to England. They want a better life for themselves and Rosie's father hates the Mackeys, forbidding her to have anything to do with Frank. When Rosie doesn't show up on the night they plan to leave, Frank begins his own journey believing that Rosie has dumped him. Flash forward twenty-two years; Frank is working as an undercover detective when he receives a call from his sister that Rosie's suitcase has been found. He's quickly embroiled in trying to find out what happened to Rosie as well as confronting the very destructive and dysfunctional family he left so many years ago. Nicely written, but with a predictable ending, you could do worse than spend a hot summer afternoon unravelling the mystery of FAITHFUL PLACE. Lynn Kimmerle
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tana French is a tremendous writer with an uncanny, almost cinematic, ear for dialogue. Having spent time in Ireland, I can close my eyes and almost hear these characters. While the entire Dublin Murder Squad series is terrific ("The Likeness" being the other real standout), this is, by far, the best. Whip-smart, crack pacing and while you may be able to figure out 'whodunit'--(it took me awhile however) it doesn't stop the sheer pleasure of the read. Vivid descriptions of Dublin and contemporary Ireland, and quite honestly, for all his faults, Frank, is a man I sincerely hope French revisits. He's mesmerizing--and since he also appears in "The Likeness" new French readers can back up and get to know him sooner. I cannot wait for "Broken Harbor."
Leigh Putnam More than 1 year ago
This story is not as detailed or sensory as the current popular crime stories about the character Lizbeth Salander and I'm not sure this book should be expected to have that kind of stylistic elan. None the less, this book has unique qualities for this genre. An NPR guest pegged it right when she said it would be a good 'Book Club' selection. It's worth would be enhanced by the questions and observations of others. Again, this book is above average. And sometimes above average is good enough.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the third book in the Dublin Murder Squad series. I am now about half way into the fourth one. I had a little bit of a rough time trying to keep up with the first one. It kind of went all over the place, but each one has gotten more compelling and more well written. She has found the groove. Enjoyable!
1kerfuffle More than 1 year ago
This book fell slightly short of my expectations. The writing is beautiful as ever and the attention to detail and character depth pulls you into a rich world. However, the murder mystery that hooks your attention is quickly overshadowed by the nuances of Detective Frank Mackey's family life. I was never very perplexed by the mystery - I correctly guessed who the culprit was almost immediately. The novel continuously seemed to over-exhaust uninteresting leads or questions that never truly puzzled me. Like all of French's books, FAITHFUL PLACE features incredibly well-developed characters. I may have enjoyed this one more had I approached it as a family drama instead of a mystery thriller.
Go4Jugular More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed Tana French's preceding novels but this surpasses even those excellent stories. Though the characters are flawed, sometimes deeply so, the way they are developed and revealed makes for an exceptionally engaging and interesting read. Dialogue and dialect vividly establish the setting; it feels like you can actually hear the Irish accent (even better if you indulge in the Guinness your inner voice is asking for). The Likeness required a substantial suspension of disbelief for one of its central plot points; this novel gradually reveals mysteries more realistically, but still so enticingly that it's near-impossible to put down once you've started. If this were baseball, In the Woods was a triple, The Likeness was a home run - Faithful Place is a grand slam!
kayandallie More than 1 year ago
The story was as good as usual but the main character was so negative and cynical that I could never like him or really believe that anyone who acted like he did could be at all successful in love or job. Reading his diatribes over and over got tiresome and I was just as happy when the book ended and he could go off and be miserable by himself without my having to read about it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
great story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the book, then bought the audiobook! The story is vivid, heartbreaking, humorous, and never borking. As a plus, the narrator on the audiobook had a perfect Frank Mackey Dublin brough. I can only hope that Tana French writes another novel, soon ! ( I enjoyed the others, spas well! )
fred5962 More than 1 year ago
This book was so suspenseful and misdirected that I had to read all other three of Tana French's books. You won't be able to put this book down until you reach the end.
Bridgegirlgr More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this authors writing style. Her words made me understand some things about my own family. Will definetly read more of her books.
stephanie8228 More than 1 year ago
I originally bought this book when it came out, and something else must have caught my eye and I never finished it. I picked it up again before Broken Harbor came out and once I did I did not stop. I really enjoy Tana's series and look forward to reading Broken Harbor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Altho the writing was still great, the story was just not up to par w/her last two novels, which I thought were phenomenal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an o.k. book. Was not what had expected, but still enjoyed reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Didnt think this one would be great but of course it was.
steveforbertfan More than 1 year ago
This is the best police procedural I have ever read. The characters were so vividly drawn, it was all around a very good read.