Detective Antoinette Conway is doubly unique on the Dublin murder squad: She’s the only mixed-race detective and the only woman. She’s taken a lot of flak in her two years on the squad, and the strain is beginning to show. Though her new partner, Steve Moran, seems to understand and respect her, Antoinette is nearing the end of her rope. At the end of another long night shift, she and Steve are handed a case that at first seems like a textbook domestic violence scenario. A young woman, Aislinn Murray, is found dead in her home after an anonymous tip reported that she hit her head in a fall. The fall turns out to have been caused by a punch, but obvious leads—such as Aislinn’s boyfriend—don’t fit.
The clues lead Conway and Moran in circles, from an encrypted file on Aislinn’s computer, to the strange behavior of her best friend, to the hints that there may have been more than one man in her life. Plus, Antoinette knows she’s seen Aislinn’s face before, but cannot recall when or where. With leads sprawling fruitlessly throughout Dublin, Antoinette begins to wonder: Is there someone close to the investigation who doesn’t want the case solved?
Tana French excels at placing dedicated and talented detectives under stress, testing them with the case that will strike their unique anxieties the hardest. Antoinette’s intelligence and skepticism are charming, but these traits gradually give way to a surly paranoia. Despite the first-person narration, French provides ample moments for the reader to acknowledge Antoinette’s fears but also question them. Soon, the question of whether Antoinette will survive the case professionally becomes as gripping as the mystery of who killed Aislinn. Though it may not pack the same emotional punch as other French titles, The Trespasser delivers a great detective team in Conway and Moran and a satisfyingly dramatic conclusion. This is an intense and engrossing installment in the Dublin Murder Squad series.