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The Trespasser by Tana French

The Trespasser

by Tana French

Quick take

An intricately-plotted thriller and a love letter to strong-willed women.

Why I love it

Gaby Dunn
Just Between Us

Tana French’s novels about the Dublin Murder Squad are among the most unique and beloved of contemporary crime fiction series. Rather than feature the same hero over and over again, in each book a new detective takes center stage. This allows the tone and perspective to change, even though the fast-pacing and intricate plotting remain consistent.

The Trespasser, the sixth novel in the series, comes with a fresh edge: not only is protagonist Antoinette Crowley a woman (the only one on Murder Squad), she’s a mixed race woman. Working on the Squad is Crowley’s dream and she’s damn good at it, but she has to be 'œfour times as good' (as the writer Roxane Gay would put it) as her white male co-workers. So while her colleagues waste their time pissing in her locker, stealing her witness reports or otherwise trying to intimidate her, she can’t afford to be shaken'”she must handle her cases with the utmost, jaw-clenching seriousness.

Antoinette’s case is a seemingly routine domestic murder that, as they tend to do in great thrillers, becomes way more complex than it originally seems. And the victim, or what we learn of her in life, is a fascinating, twisted woman in her own right. Antoinette puts on a brave face, but might be flawed narrator as well '“ is she being paranoid, or are her co-workers actually trying to impede her investigation? Come for the cool women and their complicated stories, stay for the hilarious descriptions of entitled men.

The timing for this novel could not be more apropos, as our country is poised elect our first female president. Now, I’ve never investigated a murder (or run for president!), but the micro and macro aggressions that plague Antoinette at work feel more than relevant to my own life. I’m a woman working in entertainment and on the internet. When I post a video to my YouTube channel, I can guarantee comments about my weight, my hair, my tone of voice, my anything '” I have to be as determined and single-minded as Antoinette to get my job done.

The Trespasser is a love letter to strong-willed women, and when I finished it I felt seen. Validated. Depicted. You should read it if you love intricately-plotted thrillers. You should read it if you love Tana French. And you should read it especially if you, like me, work in a sexist field and want to experience how thrilling it is when we not only succeed, but we take the fuck over.

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