The latest installment of the Dublin Murder Squad series focuses on detectives Antoinette Conway and Stephen Moran. The murder case they have been assigned is Aislinn Murray, a young woman who has been found dead in her home from head trauma. Aislinn was in a new romantic relationship and it was obvious that she had been in the middle of preparing a romantic dinner for her new boyfriend when she was killed. Her boyfriend denies responsibility advising the detectives that when he arrived at her home, there was no answer when he rang her doorbell and after waiting around for half an hour, left assuming that she was blowing him off. Her girlfriend advises that she doesn’t know why someone would want to hurt Aislinn but the detectives feel that she is withholding information. They also know the boyfriend is not telling them the whole truth and so begins the rollercoaster ride for the reader.
Antoinette and Stephen are both fairly new to the murder squad. Antoinette transferred in from Missing Persons about two years prior, however, her integration into the unit has not gone well. Subtle, and at times, aggressive harassment has occurred with no one in the squad taking responsibility leaving Antoinette unsure whether it is one person in the squad who dislikes her or whether the whole squad wants her gone. The harassment has varied from her locker being broken into and someone urinating on her personal items to her witness statements being tampered with resulting in her having to have the witness redo their statement. While Antoinette’s nature is naturally prickly and cranky, being the only woman in the unit leaves her isolated with little support other than her partner (with whom she has a good working relationship with).
At first glance, this case seems like a slam-dunk – the boyfriend must have killed her, but as the detectives dig further into Aislinn’s life they begin to question the real reason why she was killed. They even start to suspect that their unit may have been involved somehow.
Tana French is the queen of leaving the reader in suspense until the very end. You are not sure who the killer is and whether there really is something crooked going on within the squad or whether Antoinette’s paranoia is growing because of the harassment. This book left me guessing until the end and so far, is my favorite read of 2016. It is an excellent installment to her series.