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The Searcher

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  46,568 ratings  ·  5,055 reviews
Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a remote 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 then a local kid comes looking for his help. His brother has gone missing, and no one, least of all the police,
Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published November 5th 2020 by Penguin (first published October 6th 2020)
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Kelly Totally a book you should just sit back and savor. Not your fast-paced thriller type stuff, but so enthralling once you start to get to know the chara…moreTotally a book you should just sit back and savor. Not your fast-paced thriller type stuff, but so enthralling once you start to get to know the characters(less)
Jerry Balzano Those of us who are male and have read her stuff think she's pretty amazing too. And she writes her male and female characters with what seems to me e…moreThose of us who are male and have read her stuff think she's pretty amazing too. And she writes her male and female characters with what seems to me equal grace and style.(less)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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 ·  46,568 ratings  ·  5,055 reviews

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Emily May
Sep 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cal feels like he ought to stand on a street corner handing out warnings, little pieces of paper that just say: Anyone could do anything.

Goodreads tells me I was reading this latest Tana French book for twelve days, though I'd say a good ten of those days was getting through just the first hundred pages. The Searcher was another slow-starter from French, in my opinion. Neither this book nor The Witch Elm have grabbed me as fully as her Dublin Murder Squad books always did.

That being said, on
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)

It pains me to give a Tana French novel 3 stars, this was one of my most anticipated reads of 2020. I loved the Dublin murder mysteries and even the slow burn of The Witch Elm, but this one just didn’t do it for me. A 3 from me doesn't mean it's a bad book, just not one that I loved!

In looking back I realize that she does write male voices often but I think the choice of a retired ex-cop from Chicago perhaps just didn’t ring true to me. I live in Wisconsin but visit Chicago fr
Nilufer Ozmekik
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another outstanding, moving example of Tana French’s epic writing! With her remarkable skills she can create intense, realistic, dark, raw, rash portray of rural western Irish and let you have a memorable, breathtaking, journey!

This small town is the real protagonist of the story. As you start your reading, you learn to listen its own people’s struggles, sadness, demanding, hard life choices and accept the dynamics between the relationships. The town was like living, breathing, functioning organ
Meredith ( on Semi-Hiatus until February)
“The dark is busy around here.”

The Searcher
is a character-driven mystery about a former cop whose quest to find peace in a small Irish town leads him into danger.

Cal Hooper, a 48-year-old former cop from Chicago, moves to a small village in Ireland to start over. Struggling to come to terms with the demise of the marriage and end of his career, Cal throws himself into repairing his ramshackle cottage. His days are fairly prosaic until 13-year-old Trey shows up with a mystery for Cal to solve,
“I got weary,” Cal says. “Bone-weary.” He did. Every morning got to be like waking up with the flu, knowing he had to trek miles up a mountain.”

Unhurried. Measured and unhurried are the first words that came to my mind when I was thinking how to describe Tana French’s newest book, The Searcher. Not slow - although I’m sure you’ll hear that - but precisely and deliberately unhurried.

I am not a huge fan of describing books in terms of other books or other authors, but I can’t think of a better
Sep 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, netgalley
Tana French's latest slow burn of a standalone novel is rather different fare from her usual, set in a fictional West Ireland small town, Ardnakelty, a place where the reality bears little resemblance to the idyllic rural community where nothing much happens. American Cal Hooper is a burned out and disillusioned man, retiring from Chicago PD after seeing too many of the problematic issues that readers will be familiar with, given the contemporary focus on American policing and the continuing pro ...more
Melissa ~ Bantering Books
Be sure to visit Bantering Books to read all my latest reviews.

Review first published by Mystery and Suspense Magazine on 11/29/20.

Tana French is so good.

For me, she’s a bit like Stephen King. By this, I mean – she can write on and on (and on and on) about the minutest, most mundane details of everyday life, and I lap it all up. Time and again. Every page of it, regardless of the subject matter.

She could write an entire chapter describing the tranquility of drying paint, and I would devotedly ha
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grit-lit
oooh, goodreads choice awards finalist for best mystery & thriller 2020! what will happen?

answer: this will lose to the perfectly fine but

The Guest List, proving that everything about 2020 was broken.


tana french can do no wrong and we need to protect her at all costs: remove every pebble from her path, slather her with sunscreen, and for the love of god, if you find yourself in her vicinity, wear a fucking mask.

i'm sure no one will disagree with me on that, so
Cal, newly divorced and retired from the Chicago PD, moves to a remote village in Ireland looking for a quiet, peaceful life, a place that couldn’t be more different than Chicago. He’s life-weary and his relationship with his ex-wife and adult daughter is troubled.

As he renovates his dilapidated cottage he uses the isolation and physical labor as a way to heal. But there’s no privacy in a small village, and, in fact, Cal misses human interaction. He begins to meet his neighbors at the local wat
Susanne  Strong
“The Searcher”: A novel you feel in deep recesses of your bones, kind of like changes in the weather.

“The Searcher” is a character driven novel, first and foremost. The characters are brilliantly plotted, and written to absolute perfection.
They are rich, dynamic, difficult and stubborn. Having undergone life’s trials and tribulations, they are strong, resilient and unrelenting. Some are good, kind and hard working, others not so much. In this novel, the characters are what drew me into the sto
David Putnam
Three stars, this one wasn’t really my kind of book too slow of a burn. The conflict (story arc, 4c’s conflict, complication, crisis conclusion) wasn’t set until page 78. The business of establishing character, setting and what the story is going to be about took too long. There was a lot of painting rooms in the house and details about rehabbing an old desk. Some other authors do the same thing, delay setting the conflict, but they also add in micro conflicts that pick up the story on their bac ...more
Elyse  Walters
I never miss a Tana French book!
Tana delivered!
I was happy!!!

I suppose we, (die hards), could analyze this book and compare it to her others - etc.....

I thought about Rob - (from In the Woods) - Would he and Cal Hooper be friends? I think so!

I'm tired, hungry, still not feeling zippy-great - - so I'll write a review when feeling better ...

Little tidbits for now:
I liked Cal Hooper. My mouth watered for his cookies and cooking.
I liked his aloof kindness and compassion
Chelsea Humphrey
May 06, 2020 marked it as dnf-lost-interest  ·  review of another edition
Another Tana French novel!

3.5 stars

There are a handful of authors on my “No-Brainer” list. Their books are the ones I automatically reach for.…don’t need to see the cover, read the synopsis or check any reviews. Just gimme.

That doesn’t mean all of their books were 5 star reads. You always enjoy some more than others but something about their writing style and/or characters keeps me coming back. Ms. French is one of those authors & this book is no exception. All her books contain an element of crime but some are driven b
Feb 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, audio
I had seen all the reviews that warned this one was a slow start. Yes, it does take a while for the story to gear up. And if you’re looking for something fast paced, this isn’t it. But to be honest, I liked Cal Hooper so much, I was happy to just spend time with him. And it never felt like it dragged, just that it moseyed more than jogged. It’s a story meant to be savored, not gulped.
Cal has retired from his time as a Chicago detective to a fixer up in the Irish countryside. There, he meets a y
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
EXCERPT: He's halfway through his second pint before he tunes into the argument going on down the bar. It catches his ear because it sounds unusual. Mostly the arguments in here are the well-worn kind that can be made to stretch for years or decades, resurfacing periodically when there's nothing fresh to discuss. They involve farming methods, the relative uselessness of local and national politicians, whether the wall on the western side of the Strokestown road should be replaced by fencing, and ...more
Diane S ☔
Oct 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very different from her other books and the first not set in Dublin. Instead it is set in a small Irish Village, a village of farmers, fishermen and people who have lived there for quite some time. Cal, our narrator, is a Chicago cop who has left that vocation. He is a divorced father of a grown daughter, whom he misses dearly. He has come to Ireland, this village, to find peace and a place where he can be pretty much left alone. He bought an old, dilapidated, long abandoned house which he is re ...more
"The idea of a world with no quest in it has left her lost."

Tana French's eloquent line left me to ponder. Perhaps because it's all part of the human experience. The searching for answers to the unknown where the question itself is off the grid. But isn't life itself a kind of an odyssey that takes us over rough waters and near drowning experiences? Now....more than ever.

Former Chicago police detective Cal Hooper sets himself in the pursuit of a different plane of existence. He's retired from th
Roman Clodia
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
Wait, wait, just 2 stars for *Tana French*? One of my all-time favourite authors who has never got below 4 stars from picky me? Well, I'm sorry fellow French fans but this one just left me flummoxed...

Writing, unusually, in the 3rd person, this has an unconvincing central character in Cal who is a retired Chicago police detective who is a bit burned out, disillusioned (his partner shot an unarmed Black boy in a timely incident), and still mourning his broken-down marriage who chooses to buy a sh
Sep 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4-5 stars

Cal Hooper, ex Chicago PD, relocated to the rural west of Ireland after retirement and the break up of his marriage. He’s fixing up a wreck of a house he bought for a song, now he knows why it was so cheap! He is befriended by his neighbour Mart Larvin who makes this outsider welcome. He feels he is being watched which transpires to be Trey Reddy, a teenager who eventually asks him to find missing brother Brendan.

I think this book proves you don’t have to throw everything but the kitc
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Tana French could teach a masterclass in literary mysteries. The Searcher was one of my most anticipated books of the year, and I’m so relieved that it has lived up to most of those expectations. Is it as good as her famous Dublin Murder Squad series? I mean, no, those books are on another level in my opinion. But this was a well-paced, suspenseful novel with a backdrop in a rural, small Irish town—something right up French’s alley.

So if you’re looking for a typical up-tempo thriller, you’re lik
Anne Bogel
Oct 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read every Tana French novel to date, yet I was NERVOUS to pick this one up because the critical reviews ... are not good. And then nothing happened for the first 125 pages.

I did enjoy it well enough in the end, but it's certainly different in feel than her Dublin Murder Squad books. French calls The Searcher "her version of a Western," and for the first time, her protagonist is American—a retired Chicago cop who quit the force when he began to doubt his own moral code, and wanted to move
I received a copy of this from Netgalley in exchange for a review.

I'm obviously going to be glaringly in the minority on this one, but folks, it gives me absolutely no joy to report that among the many real horrors 2020 has wrought, one of its lesser woes includes a bad Tana French book. Cal Hooper has retired from the Chicago police force after his divorce and purchased a dilapidated cottage in a small Irish village. At the start of the book he feels like he's being watched, and so he is, by a
Pat (not getting friend updates currently)
That was what I would call a ‘quiet’ thriller. That does not mean cosy. It means something that can move you in a quiet and thoughtful way. The book is not fast paced but it was riveting nonetheless. Tana French’s writing is so lyrical, in this, more than any of her other books I’ve read, she brought Ireland to life for me. I felt as if I were there. And the lilting Irish speech was so wonderful to ‘hear’ (even though I read it, I heard it in my mind). I also felt the claustrophobia that Cal fin ...more
Aug 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suspense
The Searcher is the latest book by Tana French set in a remote Irish village. An ex-cop Cal Hooper moves to the Irish countryside after a divorce and a retirement from the police force in Chicago as he seeks a lifestyle change. Cal suspects that someone is watching him and soon enough he discovers he is being followed by a 13 year old local boy, Trey. Trey is an outcast amongst his peers and his only friend, his brother Brendan, disappeared a few months ago. Trey knows Brendan would never leave ...more
Oct 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
As with her popular Dublin Murder series, Tana French's new novel is set in Ireland, but instead of also being a suspenseful thriller, this stand alone is a more gentle, slow simmering, character driven mystery.

Cal Hooper is an ex Chicago cop who decided on making a new start in a small Irish village after his marriage ended just as he put in for early retirement. It's not clear why he chose Ireland rather than a rural area in the US where he could keep in touch better with the daughter he misse
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved 'The Dublin Murder' series by Tana French so I was really looking forward to this one. This stand alone book is a lot different to that series although just as gripping. 

This is a story of ex detective Cal Hooper who following his move to rural Ireland is looking for a complete life change. He plans to spend most of his time renovating a cottage that is need of urgent repairs. His well intended dreams are interrupted when a a local boy asks him to help find his missing brother. The famil
“Cal stands there in his back field for a while, with the phone in his hand. He wants to punch something, but he knows that would do nothing but bust his knuckles. Having that much sense makes him feel old.”

He’s 48, not old, but bone-weary from life as a Chicago cop who is missing his ex-wife (she split) and adult daughter, both a world away from his new home and his back field in the backwoods of Ireland. He is definitely, defiantly retired. No more crims, no more suspecting everything that m
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ireland
[4.5 stars]
Tana French's second standalone novel, The Searcher, follows Cal Hooper, a retired cop from Chicago who seeks solace in the peaty hillsides of western Ireland. He's bought an abandoned cottage he plans to fix up and relax in until the day Trey Reddy shows up on his doorstep. Trey's brother Brendan went missing several months before, and Trey needs Cal's help finding him...or at least what may have happened to him. From there we go on the journey to discover and uncover the secrets mir
3.5 stars

Better, no, better paced than The Witch Elm, but nowhere nearly as good as the Dublin Murder Squad novels, IMO.

This is a perfectly fine, very atmospheric, low on action, high on talking mystery, as expected from Tana French. A retired American cop moves to a small Irish town and gets roped into investigating the disappearance of a local teen.

I liked the usual Tana French moves - digging into the narrator's psyche, long, tricky conversations with witnesses, the mood of danger bleeding t
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Tana French is the New York Times bestselling author of In the Woods, The Likeness, Faithful Place, Broken Harbor, The Secret Place, The Trespasser and The Witch Elm. Her books have won 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.

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“He appreciates mornings not for their effect on him, but for themselves. Even smack in the middle of a temperamental Chicago neighborhood, dawn sounds rose up with a startling delicacy, and the air had a lemony, clean-scoured tinge that made you breathe deeper and wider. Here, the first light spreads across the fields like something holy is happening, striking sparks off a million dewdrops and turning the spiderwebs on the hedge to rainbows; mist curls off the grass, and the first calls of birds and sheep seem to arc effortless miles. Whenever he can make himself, Cal gets up early and eats his breakfast sitting on his back step, enjoying the chill and the earthy tang of the air.” 2 likes
“Over the last few years it’s been brought home to him that the boundaries between morals, manners and etiquette, which have always seemed crystal-clear to him, may not look the same to everyone else. He hears talk about the immorality of young people nowadays, but it seems to him that Alyssa and Ben and their friends spend plenty of their time concentrating on right and wrong. The thing is that many of their most passionate moral stances, as far as Cal can see, have to do with what words you should and shouldn’t use for people, based on what problems they have, what race they are, or who they like to sleep with. While Cal agrees that you should call people whatever they prefer to be called, he considers this to be a question of basic manners, not of morals.” 2 likes
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