The Trespasser

lace curtain over a window
Tana French
5
Thursday, Mar 23, 2017

An anonymous call comes in to the Stonybatter police station, instead of the emergency line in Dublin. The caller says that a woman may have fallen and hurt inside her own home. When police arrive, all the doors are locked and they find Aislinn Murray dead, but not from a fall. The case gets passed on to the Murder Squad. Detectives Conway and Moran have the case handed to them by their boss, just as they are looking to clock out and go home. Antoinette Conway is the only woman on the squad, and isn't well liked, she's brusque, confrontational, and keeps to herself. She's immediately suspicious as to why she and her partner, Stephen Moran, are given the case and asked to pull a double shift since it doesn't seem to be a very big case. Another red flag goes up when their boss assigns Detective Breslin to "help out" on the case.

Conway struggles to understand her coworkers' motivations throughout; are they working against her, are they all trying to force her off the squad, is even her partner trying to distance himself from her and cozy up to the rest of the guys? She takes all kinds of crap from the rest of the squad and has to keep her defenses up, erecting a wall around herself in the process. Since coming to the Murder squad, someone has stolen a witness statement off of her desk, she's had her locker urinated in, items stolen, her email completely wiped out, and now a reporter keeps getting tipped off on all of her cases almost as soon as she does. She imagines herself as a lone warrior in her department, and that gets to her. Her understandable, yet deep suspicions of everyone makes it difficult for her to trust her partner and think clearly. What seems to be a fairly simple case of a boyfriend accidentally killing his girlfriend takes a turn as Conway and Moran learn more about Aislinn and the man she had just started seeing. While all the evidence points to Rory Fallon, Conway and Moran aren't quite sure a timid bookshop owner has it in him to hit Aislinn, let alone kill her. And then there are all these weird tidbits that just can't be ignored. Why did Aislinn have a password protected file in her computer of photos, when even her phone had no password protection? Why is Detective Breslin so hot to charge Rory and close the case even though they have no real evidence? Aislinn's friend mentions that she had been seeing another man, and her actions certainly support that theory, but who is he? And why was the relationship secret? Why was the entire house wiped down, removing every fingerprint?

Conway and Moran are two of my favorite characters from the Dublin Murder Squad series. While Conway is prickly and stand-offish, Moran is instantly likable and easy to trust. Moran is spinning all kinds of outlandish theories and even Conway gets swept up, even though she is usually much more skeptical and down to earth. I also love reading all the slang and wish there were a way to work sayings like "relax the kacks" into conversations without sounding like a goofy fangirl.

Hilary S.

Written by Hilary S.

Fun fact: I'm positive I'm a louder librarian than Mary S.