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  • The Searcher

  • By: Tana French
  • Narrated by: Roger Clark
  • Length: 14 hrs and 32 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (468 ratings)

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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

A disappearance. A small town. A question that needs answering...

Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a remote Irish village would be the perfect escape. After 25 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, seems to care. Cal wants nothing to do with any kind of investigation, but somehow he can't make himself walk away.

Soon Cal will discover that even in the most idyllic small town, secrets lie hidden, people aren't always what they seem and trouble can come calling at his door.

Our greatest living mystery writer weaves a masterful tale of breath-taking beauty and suspense, asking how we decide what's right and wrong in a world where neither is simple, and what we risk if we fail. 

©2020 Tana French (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"One of the most compulsive psychological mysteries since Donna Tartt's The Secret History." (The Times)

"To say Tana French is one of the great thriller writers is really too limiting. Rather she's simply this: a truly great writer." (Gillian Flynn)

"I'm a big fan of Tana French." (Ian Rankin)

What listeners say about The Searcher

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Sorry, only three stars from me

This was the first time I’d “read” a book by Tana French and I was hooked by the blurb on Audible. Along with a healthy number of positive reviews, it did a good job and had me reaching for the buy button.

The story is told in the third person from Cal Hooper’s point of view. Having served 25 years in the Chicago police service and enduring a rough divorce, all Cal wants is a quiet life. A small village in rural Ireland offers him the tranquillity he desires and a run-down cottage gives him something to take his mind off what he’s left behind. In spite of being referred to as a “blow in” Cal is welcomed by a cast of characters including Mart, his nearest neighbour and Noreen the village shopkeeper, matchmaker and gossip. Befriended by a local teenager, Cal learns that life in rural Ireland isn’t quite as tranquil as he’d imagined. The kid’s older brother has gone missing under suspicious circumstances and while Cal doesn’t want to get involved, it intrigues him. Being careful not to ruffle any feathers, he makes discrete enquiries amongst the neighbours, villagers and pub-goers. It’s clear to Cal that he ought to leave it alone; easier said than done for someone who spent his career dealing with missing persons.

I love thrillers and I’ve penned a couple myself, although not to the same acclaim as Ms French. The ever helpful Audible suggested this book based on my search history and buying habits, so far so good. I subsequently note that it is listed on Amazon as number 4 in Gothic Romance, number 23 in Action and Adventure Literary Fiction and 26 in Historical Mystery, Thrillers and Suspense Fiction. Gothic Romance? I’m not sure what category it best fits into, but Thriller is stretching it a little. This book is slow to get going – very slow. It’s like a boot-sucking ramble across the Irish peat bogs that it depicts. The descriptions of the environment, flora and fauna are very very rich and if you’ve never visited rural Ireland you certainly get a great sense of the place in which the story is set. The characters arcs are more like flat lines. They don’t die but they don’t change much either. The kid’s journey is probably the better one. There’s something distinctly dodgy about Cal’s neighbour, Mart. I felt nothing for Cal himself. He seems like a nice guy but that’s about it.

I wouldn’t recommend this book, but that’s just my opinion. When it comes to social proof there are lots of readers who loved it – check out the reviews. I did wonder if it was just me, but having read some of the reviews after finishing the book, I found a couple who agreed that the book was slow to get going. From and audio perspective there is nothing wrong with the performance. Roger Clark does a great job, tackling the Irish accents with great skill. His performance as Cal is as gritty as I imagined the character to be. That said, a great performance can’t and doesn’t rescue a mediocre script.

4 people found this helpful

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Haunting

A wonderfully rich tale, filled with the compassion of a stranger of and a love story of the land.
The actors voice is calm and soulful and carries you through the story.

In my opinion the best Tana French novel so far.

4 people found this helpful

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great performance of a great story

amazing narrator brought a great new book to life. highly recommended but enough to put anyone off moving to the west of Ireland!

4 people found this helpful

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Fabulous

You won’t regret it, you will miss it when it’s over, miss the place miss the people

3 people found this helpful

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At best a mediocre story

There isn’t a real enticing mystery and the protagonist is just an old American man with a savior/hero complex and he is as dramatic as they come and also very irritating in his way of middling with everything and feeling the need to protect the “fragile women”

2 people found this helpful

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A delight: True turf smoking rural Irish magic

A departure from Tana’s usual setting but the rich descriptive language provided welcome escapism during Covid lockdown times. The characters were wholesome and loveable despite the chilly storyline and the narration was absolutely superb.

2 people found this helpful

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Enjoyed this

This was definitely a slow burner, but I ended up appreciating the slower pace. The characters developed well and the narrator was excellent

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Captivating !

An audible is only as good as the reader makes it. This reader was very good. His deep voice made the central character come alive instantly. I am familiar with Tana French's other books, but this storyline is quite different. Set in Western Ireland, her descriptions of the mountains capture the imagination. It gets off to a slow start but swiftly gains momentum and is so worth persevering .I had anticipated a far different ending though and was disappointed when it ended abruptly!I would thoroughly recommend this audible and you do not have to be acquainted with the author's previous stories to enjoy this one.

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loved every minute of it, from start to finish ,

wow such a beautiful story, well recommend, from start to finish .beautiful told story ,

2 people found this helpful

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The narrator was excellent!

I enjoyed this book but not as much of any of her others. I loved the characters and felt a genuine affection for them as you do when you read one of Tanas books.
I just feel like the story ended with nothing really happening, It felt as though the end confirmed things we already knew from fairly early on and then abruptly ended. However, it’s the authors story to tell and it was told perfectly. Narrator was ace!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Lia
  • 16-07-22

Dull and Boring

Don't pick up this book expecting to listen to a thriller, or a whodoneit, or anything similar to French's murder mysteries. It's a pseudo-"Western" plot that could have come out of a John Ford movie, transplanted to the west of Ireland. It is SLOW going. At one point I had listened to 2 hours and nothing of note had transpired. There are descriptions of idyllic scenery up the yin-yang, so much so that one appears right before the ending of the book! Who cares what the sunset looks like - can you please tie up the loose ends and give us SOME satisfaction for having invested 14-plus hours of listening to this tome? Sometimes a slow-listening novel has payback at the very end, or at least something to justify its glacial pace and keep you interested. But these characters are, for the most part, rather unpleasant and ornery types that you would never spend 5 seconds with in person, so why would we want to spend hours listening about them? The "resolution" is underwhelming and anyone with half a brain could have figured out the fate of the missing character - anyone with law enforcement experience could have told you after the first chapter what was going down. French was trying something "new" here and for me it was a failure. I've read all but 2 of her books over the years and this was truly a disappointment. I trust she will leave this genre (for want of a better word) and go back to what she does best: write about the Dublin murder detectives. At least those men and women are interesting!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-11-21

Excellent acting!

Loved the story. Really enjoyed the skilled narration - authentic accents that could be differentiated and excellent, rich description of Ireland.

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  • Sherri
  • 24-08-21

Compelling and complete.

I have to write this, if only to dilute the 'pedestrian' review on here. This book is anything but.
The writer (and I will now listen to everything she's ever done) masterfully captures the characters and the place.
You are right there in small town Ireland, living in all its spooky beauty.
Nothing is secret except the mystery at the centre of the book and the locals work hard to keep it that way.
I loved this - and the main character. He's something special.
Can't recommend The Searcher highly enough.

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  • Kez
  • 15-03-21

Pedestrian

The writing was not memorable in any way, the plot line had no interesting twists and turns and the characters were not well developed. I just kept wishing it would hurry up and finish.
the narrater did an acceptable job, although his accents got muddled occasionally.

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  • Deirdre Keogh Martin
  • 15-11-20

Great narration, slow burn thriller set in Ireland

I loved the narration, one of the better narrators I have listened to.
Nice slow burning thriller.