The Searcher – by Tana French

I believe this will be my last review of 2022, and book number 60 for the year – exactly doubling my reading goal. It was a great book to finish the year on. I’ve had The Searcher on my TBR list for a while. I loved the Dublin Murder Squad books as a whole and needed more Tana French to read when I finished them. I didn’t jump right into it, knowing that the familiar characters wouldn’t be a part of the story. I needed to allow space between the series and this one. I’m glad I did that, otherwise I probably would have been disappointed. Not that it was a bad book. It was just different.

Cal is retired from the Chicago police force looking for a change (escape?) while fixing up an old run down house in rural Ireland. He leaves behind a failed marriage, a strained relationship with his adult daughter, and the stress from his job and big city life. Adjusting to small town life in an entirely new country has some serious learning curves for Cal. Along the way he manages to learn a few things about himself. Character development at its finest here.

Speaking of characters, I believe they were all well written. It took a while for Cal to grow on me, but I believe that was intentional. He isn’t the most open of people at first. The neighbors are all very colorful and enjoyable. And then there’s The Kid. Once I met Trey, I was instantly sucked into the story. The relationship that grows between Cal and Trey is beautiful. And that’s where my heart melted for Cal. His true character came shining through.

This book touches on some deep themes such as family, commitment, and personal moral codes. It’s really much deeper than it first appears.

And so I’m left trying to decide how to rate The Searcher. It lies somewhere between three and four stars for me. The slow beginning and the length of time it took to get to the heart of the story drags it down. If I was the type to DNF early on, I don’t think I ever would have finished this one. But then the last half of the book saved it. I’m going to be thinking about Cal and Trey for quite some time, so I believe The Searcher has earned four heart string tugging stars from me.

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