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.
I really liked Mackey as a character, and stories of people “going home again” can always be intriguing, especially when they don’t fit in all those years later. Mackey’s childhood has a real Angela’s Ashes feel to it, and as a reader you’re thankful he got out while he could. The mystery isn’t so mysterious; I pretty much had the outcome pegged early on. But, that doesn’t mean the story still isn’t interesting and entertaining. French can really create deep, flawed characters, and I like that about her. I also like the Dublin setting of all her books. While this one probably falls third, behind The Likeness and then In the Woods, it’s a close race among all three of her books. Classic mysteries with action, great detail, a little gore and main characters you can really root for.