Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Eight compelling crime novels about people haunted by their pasts

Harry Dolan's latest novel is The Good Killer.

At CrimeReads he tagged eight compelling crime "stories of people who can’t escape their histories, no matter how much they may want to," including:
Tana French, Faithful Place

The narrator of Tana French’s third novel is Frank Mackey, a tough undercover cop who grew up in a large family in a poor neighborhood of Dublin. It’s the kind of place you hope to get away from, and at nineteen Frank planned to do just that: he arranged to run off with his sweetheart, Rosie Daly, and start a new life with her in London. But on the night they were meant to depart, Rosie stood him up, leaving only a note behind. Assuming she’d gone on to London alone, Frank never spoke to her again. Flash forward two decades and Frank has made his escape from his childhood home and built a career with the Dublin police. He has an ex-wife and a young daughter, and his only contact with his parents and siblings is through his sister Jackie. She’s the one who gives him the news that a suitcase has been found behind a fireplace in an abandoned house on their old street—the very place where Frank was supposed to meet Rosie all those years ago. When Frank sees the suitcase he recognizes it at once as Rosie’s, and soon after, he discovers Rosie’s body buried under the floor of the basement in the same house. Given Frank’s connection with the victim, his superiors want to keep him far away from the case, but Frank can’t let things lie. Before long he’s drawn back into old family relationships: with his disapproving mother and alcoholic father, and with the brothers and sisters who stayed behind in the old neighborhood. French illuminates these relationships with the sharp dialogue and subtle characterizations that have become her trademark, and she provides a solution to the mystery of Rosie’s death that is both satisfying and devastating.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue