Book Review: The Trespasser

A New Twist in the Old Genre 

However, French is not shy to move characters from one book to another evoking the feeling of a seeming possibility of connection between them. Far from it, a crime novelist, Dublin-based French, is consistently meticulous with a high degree of precision and detail in her various books. The Trespasser has beyond perfect characterization with a mix of humor, tenacity, and a touch of human complexity, which makes her characters all too likable even when they should not be. The novel is sixth in a series of crime stories which, although intentionally unrelated, have a vague connection that provokes a reader to seek her previous compilations. French weaves intrigue and suspense in The Trespasser through acknowledging the inherent systemic huddles that Detective Conway must bypass in order to solve a murder. 

Short Story  

The Trespasser is narrated from the lens of detective Antoinette Conway who is part of a murder squad. The novel is set in contemporary Dublin and features, Conway, a lone female law enforcer who is plunged into an invigorating journey trying to solve a domestic murder case which is anything but routine. A rookie detective, Conway partners with Steve Moran who is yet another member of the Dublin Murder Squad. While the two are assigned a milestone case, they are saddled by a colleague, detective Breslin, who oversteps his role and wants to micro-manage their every step. 

The story centers on the death of Aislinn Gwendolyn Murray who is found dead in her living room. On first encounter, Conway and Moran notice that Aislinn has suffered a heavy punch to the jaw which sends her falling against the fireplace and cracking her skull. Conway’s first reaction is that she has seen Aislinn before which intensifies the detective’s desire to recount her experiences prior to the murder. Finally, Conway remembers that Aislinn had come seeking news about her father who had disappeared. Unwelcoming to her weepy approach, Conway sends Aislinn on her way.  

As the investigation ensues, Conway is determined that someone in her department wants to undermine her progress with the case. Other characters, Lucy Riordan (the deceased’s girlfriend), and Rory Fallon (Aislinn’s new boyfriend) come into play. Steve and Conway interrogate Lucy after which they find out that the is evasive about the data between Aislinn and Fallon. There is a string of suspicious activity as Lucy is thought to know more than what she is actually revealing. 

Aislinn, determined to find the truth about her father, disguises herself and seduces the detective assigned to her father’s case, a McCann. It is later revealed that Aislinn’s father ran away with another woman, but Aislinn is enraged by the fact that McCann does not want to reveal this information. The case takes a drastic turn as McCann punches Aislinn sending her to her death following an altercation about the end of their relationship.

Critical Analysis  

During the course of her investigation, Conway believes that Breslin does not have good intentions regarding the progress she and Steve are making on the case. To some degree, French presents her readers with a situation where a woman is engulfed in her own thoughts leading to accurate conclusions about the reality surrounding Aislinn’s case. It is quite interesting how Conway is concentrated on finding the killer, but as she does so, she reveals the domineering effect of her work upon her wellbeing. 

Being a woman and non-white, Conway presents qualities, that in normal circumstances, would render her vulnerable to the whims of bullish white male detectives. Actually, Breslin does make an attempt to suppress the evidence that Conway and Moran gather implicating McCann. Embodying an outside status, Conway is adamant in her resolve to find Aislinn’s killer even if it means breaking ranks and being at loggerheads with her colleagues. Breslin tries to sway the two detectives by putting Rory on the limelight as the prime suspect. However, his egotistical character ends being the cause of his own downfall. 

The crime scene is painted by a table for two and burnt dinner in the oven signaling a potential case of a heated argument between lovers resulting in the death of Aislinn. Breslin is quick to jump on this train of thought strongly accusing Rory of the murder. However, his wit falls short of his expectations as Conway and Moran are always a step ahead. French is creative in her approach to make a murder scene tell more than one story and that the seeming possibility that Rory could have killed Aislinn, cannot be withdrawn. 

The use of suspense and a sense of creativity simply tells the reader that the case is satisfyingly complicated. Aislinn’s entanglement in a previous police investigation creates a web of possibilities which Conway and Moran cannot overlook. The focus on the detectives and their experiences make this particular novel an engulfing read. 

Final Thoughts

The complicated nature of the case invites the reader to strap on their seatbelt and follow Conway and Moran on their journey to discovering Aislinn’s murder. In the course of the investigation, French presents personal struggles revealing an outsider’s experience in a historically male-dominated profession. French’s scenes are largely about dialogue which reveal more about the context. Even as one reads through the novel, he or she is likely to switch to detective-mode trying to solve Aislinn’s murder even before the story ends. The story is not only well-plotted, but also that its characters are memorable, thereby making it an interesting read. 

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