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The Searcher
Cover of The Searcher
The Searcher
A Novel
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A New York Times, NPR and New York Post Best Book of 2020
"This hushed suspense tale about thwarted dreams of escape may be her best one yet . . . Its own kind of masterpiece." —Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post
"A new Tana French is always cause for celebration . . . Read it once for the plot; read it again for the beauty and subtlety of French's writing." —Sarah Lyall, The New York Times

Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a bucolic Irish village would be the perfect escape. After twenty-five years in the Chicago police force and a bruising divorce, he just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens. But when a local kid whose brother has gone missing arm-twists him into investigating, Cal uncovers layers of darkness beneath his picturesque retreat, and starts to realize that even small towns shelter dangerous secrets.
"One of the greatest crime novelists writing today" (Vox) weaves a masterful, atmospheric tale of suspense, asking how to tell right from wrong in a world where neither is simple, and what we stake on that decision.
A New York Times, NPR and New York Post Best Book of 2020
"This hushed suspense tale about thwarted dreams of escape may be her best one yet . . . Its own kind of masterpiece." —Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post
"A new Tana French is always cause for celebration . . . Read it once for the plot; read it again for the beauty and subtlety of French's writing." —Sarah Lyall, The New York Times

Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a bucolic Irish village would be the perfect escape. After twenty-five years in the Chicago police force and a bruising divorce, he just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens. But when a local kid whose brother has gone missing arm-twists him into investigating, Cal uncovers layers of darkness beneath his picturesque retreat, and starts to realize that even small towns shelter dangerous secrets.
"One of the greatest crime novelists writing today" (Vox) weaves a masterful, atmospheric tale of suspense, asking how to tell right from wrong in a world where neither is simple, and what we stake on that decision.
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Excerpts-
  • From the cover

    One

    When Cal comes out of the house, the rooks have got hold of something. Six of them are clustered on the back lawn, amid the long wet grass and the yellow-flowered weeds, jabbing and hopping. Whatever the thing is, it's on the small side and still moving.

    Cal sets down his garbage bag of wallpaper. He considers getting his hunting knife and putting the creature out of its suffering, but the rooks have been here a lot longer than he has. It would be pretty impertinent of him to waltz in and start interfering with their ways. Instead he eases himself down to sit on the mossy step next to the trash bag.

    He likes the rooks. He read somewhere that they're smart as hell; they can get to know you, bring you presents even. For three months now he's been trying to butter them up with scraps left on the big stump towards the bottom of the garden. They watch him trudge up and down through the grass, from the ivy-loaded oak where they have their colony, and as soon as he's a safe distance away they swoop down to squabble and comment raucously over the scraps; but they keep a cynical eye on Cal, and if he tries to move closer they're gone, back into the oak to jeer down at him and drop twigs on his head. Yesterday afternoon he was in his living room, stripping away the mildewed wallpaper, and a sleek mid-sized rook landed on the sill of the open window, yelled what was obviously an insult, and then flapped off laughing.

    The thing on the lawn twists wildly, shaking the long grass. A big daddy rook jumps closer, aims one neat ferocious stab of his beak, and the thing goes still.

    Rabbit, maybe. Cal has seen them out there in the early mornings, nibbling and dashing in the dew. Their holes are somewhere in his back field, down by the broad copse of hazels and rowans. Once his firearm license comes through, he's planning to see if he remembers what his grandpa taught him about skinning game, and if the mule-tempered broadband will deign to find him a recipe for rabbit stew. The rooks crowd in, pecking hard and bracing their feet to jerk out bites of flesh, more of them zooming down from the tree to jostle in on the action.

    Cal watches them for a while, stretching out his legs and rolling one shoulder in circles. Working on the house is using muscles he'd forgotten he had. He finds new aches every morning, although some of that is likely from sleeping on a cheap mattress on the floor. Cal is too old and too big for that, but there's no point in bringing good furniture into the dust and damp and mold. He'll buy that stuff once he has the house in shape, and once he figures out where you buy it-all that was Donna's department. Meanwhile, he doesn't mind the aches. They satisfy him; along with the blisters and thickening calluses, they're solid, earned proof of what his life is now.

    It's headed into the long cool September stretch of evening, but cloudy enough that there's no trace of a sunset. The sky, dappled in subtle gradations of gray, goes on forever; so do the fields, coded in shades of green by their different uses, divided up by sprawling hedges, dry-stone walls and the odd narrow back road. Away to the north, a line of low mountains rolls along the horizon. Cal's eyes are still getting used to looking this far, after all those years of city blocks. Landscape is one of the few things he knows of where the reality doesn't let you down. The West of Ireland looked beautiful on the internet; from right smack in the middle of it, it looks even better. The air is rich as fruitcake, like you should do more with it than just breathe it; bite off a big mouthful, maybe, or rub handfuls of it over your...

About the Author-
  • Tana French is the author of seven previous books, including In the Woods, The Likeness, and The Witch Elm. Her novels have sold over three million copies and won numerous 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.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from August 31, 2020
    After 25 years as a Chicago cop, Cal Hooper, the protagonist of this superb standalone from Edgar winner French (The Witch Elm), decided he needed a change. So he moved to a village in the West of Ireland, “no bigger than the little end of nothing,” where people leave their doors unlocked. After three months, his prosaic new life ends when he’s sought out by 12-year-old Trey Reddy, who has learned of Hooper’s former profession. Trey fears something bad has happened to his 19-year-old brother, Brendan, who hasn’t been seen in about six months. Because their mother, Sheila, is convinced Brendan took off on his own, Trey hasn’t gone to the police, though the boy’s certain his brother wouldn’t have done that. Despite Hooper’s cynicism (“Anyone could do anything,” he thinks), he agrees to look into the matter, starting with questioning Sheila. The more Hooper digs, the more he finds that his new community conceals dark secrets. Insightful characterizations, even of minor figures, and a devastating reveal help make this a standout. Crime fiction fans won’t want to miss this one. Agent, Darley Anderson, Darley Anderson Literary, TV and Film Agency.

  • AudioFile Magazine Roger Clark's American-Irish-British background makes him uniquely qualified to narrate Tana French's tense story of a Chicago cop who is trying to solve a mystery far outside his jurisdiction. Divorced and weary with police work, Cal wants nothing more than a quiet retirement in the Irish countryside, fishing and renovating an old cottage. But against his will, he's drawn into the disappearance of a local youth and soon discovers that his quiet retreat holds many secrets and hidden dangers. French's powerful resolution is slow to build, unfolding in long stretches of dialogue, which Clark manages with particular ease and conviction. Fans who've been anticipating French's next audiobook will not be disappointed. She's at the top of her form here and in Clark has one of her most adept and effective narrators. D.A.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award � AudioFile 2020, Portland, Maine
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