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Faithful Place (French)

Faithful Place  (Dublin Murder Squad Series #3)
Tana French, 2010
Penguin Group USA
436 pp.
ISBN-13: 9780143119494


Summary
Back in 1985, Frank Mackey was nineteen, growing up poor in Dublin's inner city, and living crammed into a small flat with his family on Faithful Place. But he had his sights set on a lot more. He and Rosie Daly were all ready to run away to London together, get married, get good jobs, break away from factory work and poverty and their old lives.

But on the winter night when 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. Everyone thought she had gone to England on her own and was over there living a shiny new life. Then, twenty-two years later, Rosie's suitcase shows up behind a fireplace in a derelict house on Faithful Place, and Frank 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. (From the publisher.)

This is the third novel of the Dublin murder squad series. The other two are In the Woods (2007) and The Likeness (2008).



Author Bio
Birth—1973
Where—Vermont, USA
Education—B.A., Trinity College (Dublin)
Awards—Edgar Award, Macavity Award, Barry Award
Currently—lives in Dublin, Ireland


Tana French is an Irish novelist and theatrical actress. Her debut novel In the Woods (2007), a psychological mystery, won the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, and Barry awards for best first novel. She is a liaison of the Purple Heart Theatre Company and also works in film and voiceover.

French was born in the U.S. to Elena Hvostoff-Lombardi and David French. Her father was an economist working in resource management for the developing world, and the family lived in numerous countries around the globe, including Ireland, Italy, the US, and Malawi.

French attended Trinity College, Dublin, where she was trained in acting. She ultimately settled in Ireland. Since 1990 she has lived in Dublin, which she considers home, although she also retains citizenship in the U.S. and Italy. French is married and has a daughter with her husband.

Dublin Murder Squad series
In the Woods - 2007
The Likeness - 2008
Faithful Place - 2010
Broken Harbor - 2012
The Secret Places - 2014
(Bio adapted from Wikipedia. Retrieved 9/2/2014.)



Book Reviews 
[E]xpertly 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.
Janet Maslin - New York Times


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.
Maureen Corrigan - Washington Post


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.
Publishers Weekly


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. —Michele Leber, Arlington, VA
Library Journal


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.
Kirkus Reviews



Discussion Questions 
1. How does religion appear to have influenced the families who live in Faithful Place? Why do you think Frank Mackey has rejected religion?

2. Why do you think that teenagers like Frank and Rosie-the ones who try to get away-appear to be the exception rather than the rule in the Mackeys' neighborhood?

3, Are Olivia and Jackie right or wrong to have taken Holly to visit Frank's family without his knowledge or consent? Why?

4, What meanings, ironic or otherwise, can be derived from the title Faithful Place? How do those meanings resonate through the novel?

5. Frank tells us early in the novel that he would die for his kid (p. 3). Yet there are lesser things he chooses not to do, such as being civil to her mother and shielding her from having to testify in a murder trial. How well does Frank understand his feelings toward Holly? What are his blind spots where their relationship is concerned?

6. Why does Frank become so upset over Holly's infatuation with pseudo-celebrity Celia Bailey (pp. 151-154)? Is his reaction pure, over-the-top exaggeration, or does he have a point?

7. Tana French makes extensive use of flashbacks to develop Rosie as a character and to flesh out Frank's motivations. How would the novel be different if it were narrated in a strictly chronological fashion?

8. Shay insists that he and Frank are morally no different, and Frank is outraged by the suggestion. Is Shay right?

9. Frank would appear to have every right to blame his family for much of the chaos in his life. To what extent, however, do you think his finger pointing is an evasion of responsibilities that he would be wiser to accept?

10. What feelings do the characters in the novel have regarding the decade of the eighties? How does growing up in the eighties seem to have affected Frank, his siblings, and his friends?

11. Does the Irish setting of Faithful Place contribute significantly to the telling of the story, or do you find that French's novel to be about humanity on a more universal level?

12. How does Frank's emotional involvement in the cases of Rosie's and Kevin's deaths affect his ability to function as a detective? Is it always a hindrance to him, or are there ways in which it improves and deepens his insights?

13. Imagine that you are trying to persuade Holly to testify against Shay. What arguments or other tactics would you use? Do you think they would succeed?

14. Does Frank Mackey change over the course of the novel? What, if anything, does he learn?

15. Near the end of Faithful Place, Frank and Olivia seem to have begun to move tentatively toward a reconciliation. What do you think is the likelihood of their succeeding, and why?
(Questions issued by publisher.)

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