Oct 4 2016 10:00am

The Trespasser: New Excerpt

Tana French

The Trespasser by Tana French is the 6th Dublin Murder Squad novel from the New York Times bestselling author. (Available today!)

Read this exclusive excerpt from The Trespasser by Tana French, and make sure you're signed in and comment below for a chance to win a copy of the novel!

Being on the Murder squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she’s there. The rest of her working life is a stream of thankless cases, vicious pranks, and harassment. Antoinette is savagely tough, but she’s getting close to the breaking point.

Their new case looks like yet another by-the-numbers lovers’ quarrel gone bad. Aislinn Murray is blond, pretty, groomed to a shine, and dead in her catalogue-perfect living room, next to a table set for a romantic dinner. There’s nothing unusual about her—except that Antoinette’s seen her somewhere before.

And that her death won’t stay in its neat by-numbers box. Other detectives are trying to push Antoinette and Steve into arresting Aislinn’s boyfriend, fast. There’s a shadowy figure at the end of Antoinette's road. Aislinn's friend is hinting that she knew Aislinn was in danger. And everything they find out about Aislinn takes her further from the glossy, passive doll she seemed to be.

Antoinette knows the harassment has turned her paranoid, but she can’t tell just how far gone she is. Is this case another step in the campaign to force her off the squad, or are there darker currents flowing beneath its polished surface?


I already know Viking Gardens. I live a ten-minute walk away—because I like Stoneybatter, not because I can’t afford anything fancier—and one of the routes I use for my run goes past the top of the road. It’s less exciting than it sounds: a scruffy cul‑de‑sac, lined with Victorian terraced cottages fronting straight onto patched‑up pavements. Low slate roofs, net curtains, bright-painted doors. The street is narrow enough that the parked cars all have two tires on the curb.

This is about as long as we can get away with not ringing Breslin, before he shows up at work and the gaffer wants to know what he’s doing there. Before we get out of the car, I ring his voice mail—which may or may not buy us a few extra minutes, but at least it saves me making chitchat—and leave a message. I make the case sound boring as shite, which doesn’t take much, but I know that won’t slow him down. Breslin likes thinking he’s Mr. Indispensable; he’ll show up just as fast for a shitty domestic as he would for a skin-stripping serial killer, because he knows the poor victim is bollixed until he gets there to save the day.

“Let’s move,” I say, swinging my satchel over my shoulder. Number 26 is the one down the far end of the road, with the crime-scene tape and the marked car and the white Technical Bureau van. A cluster of kids hanging about by the tape scatter when they see us coming (“Ahhh! Run!” “Here, missus, get him, he robs Toffypops out of the shop—” “Shut the fuck up, you!”) but we still get watched all the way down the road. Behind the net curtains, the windows are popping questions like popcorn.

“I want to wave,” Steve says, under his breath. “Can I wave, yeah?”

“Act your age, you.” But the shot of adrenaline is hitting me, too, no matter how I fight it. Even when you know trained chimps could do your job that day, the walk to the scene gets you: turns you into a gladiator walking towards the arena, a few heartbeats away from a fight that’ll make emperors chant your name. Then you take a look at the scene, your arena and your emperor go up in smoke, and you feel shittier than ever. The uniform at the door is just a kid, long wobbly-looking neck and big ears holding up a too-big hat. “Detectives,” he says, snapping upright and trying to work out whether to salute. “Garda J. P. Dooley.” Or something. His accent needs subtitles.

“Detective Conway,” I say, finding gloves and shoe covers in my bag. “And that’s Detective Moran. Seen anyone hanging around who shouldn’t be?”

“Just them kids, like.” The kids will need talking to, and so will their parents. The thing about old neighborhoods: people still mind each other’s business. It doesn’t suit everyone, but it suits us. “We didn’t do any door‑to‑door yet; we thought ye might want it done your own way, like.”

“Good call,” Steve says, pulling on his gloves. “We’ll get someone onto it. What was that like when you got here?”

He nods at the cottage door, which is a harmless shade of blue, splintered where the uniforms bashed it in. “Closed,” the uniform says promptly.

“Well, yeah, I got that,” Steve says, but with a grin that makes it a shared joke, not the smackdown I would have pulled out. “Closed how? Bolted, double-locked, on the latch?”

“Oh, right, sorry, I—” The uniform’s gone red. “There’s a Chubb lock and a Yale. ’Twasn’t double-locked, but. On the latch, only.”

Meaning if the killer left this way, he just pulled the door closed behind him; he didn’t need a key. “Alarm going off?”

“No. Like, there is an alarm system, like”— the uniform points at the box on the wall above us—“but it wasn’t set. It didn’t go off when we went in, even.”

“Thanks,” Steve says, giving him another grin. “That’s great.” The uniform goes scarlet. Stevie has a fan.

The door swings open, and Sophie Miller sticks her head out. Sophie has big brown eyes and a ballerina build and makes a hooded white boiler suit look some kind of elegant, so a lot of people try to give her shit, but they only try once. She’s one of the best crime-scene techs we’ve got, plus the two of us like each other. Seeing her is more of a relief than it should be.

“Hey,” she says. “About time.”

“Roadworks,” I say. “Howya. What’ve we got?”

“Looks like another lovers’ tiff to me. Have you called dibs on them, or what?”

“Better than gangsters,” I say. I feel Steve’s quick startled glance, throw him a cold one back: he knows me and Sophie are mates, but he should also know I’m not gonna go crying on my mate’s shoulder about squad business. “At least on domestics, you get the odd witness who’ll talk. Let’s have a look.”

The cottage is small: we walk straight into the sitting-slash-dining room. Three doors off it, and I already know which is what: bedroom off to the left, kitchen straight ahead, shower room to the right of that—the layout is the same as my place. The decor is nothing like, though. Purple rug on the laminate flooring, heavy purple curtains trying to look expensive, purple throw artistically arranged on the white leather sofa, forgettable canvas prints of purple flowers: the room looks like it was bought through some Decorate Your Home app where you plug in your budget and your favorite colors and the whole thing arrives in a van the next day.

In there it’s still last night. The curtains are closed; the overhead lights are off, but standing lamps are on in odd corners. Sophie’s techs—one kneeling by the sofa picking up fibers with Sellotape, one dusting a side table for prints, one doing a slow sweep with a video camera—have their headlamps on. The room is stifling hot and stinks of cooked meat and scented candle. The tech by the sofa is fanning the front of his boiler suit, trying to get some air in there.

The gas fire is on, fake coals glowing, flames flickering away manically at the overheated room. The fireplace is cut stone, fake-rustic to go with the adorable little artisan cottage. The woman’s head is resting on the corner of the hearth.

She’s on her back, knock-kneed, like someone threw her there. One arm is by her side; the other is up over her head, bent at an awkward angle. She’s maybe five seven, skinny, wearing spike heels, plenty of fake tan, a tight-fitting cobalt-blue dress and a chunky fake-gold necklace.

Her face is covered by blond hair, straightened and sprayed so ferociously that even murder hasn’t managed to mess it up. She looks like Dead Barbie.

Excerpt from The Trespasser by Tana French, published on October 4, 2016 by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright by Tana French, 2016.

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The Trespasser Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  A purchase does not improve your chances of winning.  Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry.  To enter, complete the “Post a Comment” entry at https://www.criminalelement.com/stories/2016/10/the-trespasser-new-excerpt-tana-french-comment-sweepstakes beginning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) October 4, 2016. Sweepstakes ends 9:59 a.m. ET October 18, 2016. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.


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Tana French is the author of In the Woods, The Likeness, Faithful Place, Broken Harbor, The Secret Place, and The Trespasser. 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.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. Jim Duncanj
Some writers have a way of storytelling, a way of putting the words down on paper that syncs with how your brain really wants to read. Tana is one of those few writers like that for me. A difficult notion to explain, but she could probably novelize the phonebook for me, and it would be an enthralling read. Everyone who has any passing interest in crime fiction should read her work.
Jackie Tweed
2. tweed524
Looks like another winner for Tana French. Can't wait to read. Tana keeps me on the edge of my seat.
Merle Carrus
3. merle
I am adding Tanya French to my reading list. I just read a very interesting review about Tanya's series. That this is not your typical mystery series. It sounds intriguing
4. Josie A
Tana French is a new author to me and would love to start reading her books :)
pearl berger
5. beach
This sounds compelling and intriguing. Thanks.
6. braeuber@sbcglobal.net
This looks like a terrific multi-layered mystery. I love the female detective genre and Tana French is a great author.
ellie lewis
8. italia
Enjoyed the excerpt. A very talented author and another captivating mystery.
Andrew Kuligowski
9. KuligowskiAndrew
Very few books have reached me the way that Tana French's "In The Woods" had. (That is, until I read Ms. French's subsequent works: "The Likeness", "Faithful Place", and the others.)
I'll go so far as to say that if Ms. French ever releases a book that misses her high standard of quality, it'll still be better than most authors' best works!) I've had "Trespasser" on my list for some time now - waiting for it to be released!
Barbara Khan
11. leftyonkey
I've really been impressed with the series. I'd love to win this, so I can keep current with her books. Thanks!!
Rudy Wright
13. rudycwright
I've been looking for a January 2017 title for our International Mystery Book Group. This is it!
16. Karleen
Tana French is a favorite author. She writes in a way that I can hear the Irish in her characters. Excited to read this latest book!
Alyson Widen
17. Sunnymay
This story is riveting. Love the play on words with the sitting-slash-dining room. I also feel like I'm walking with the detectives and seeing and experiencing how they are observing the obvious situation with all those reporter's questions (the 5 W's and the 1 H).
18. Portia
I love a mystery...written by a woman!
Teresa Young
19. tmy56
I've added Tana French's series to my TBR list.
20. gorzd
Tana French is consistently superb; her plots are complicated and exciting and her characters are too. I am looking forward to reading this latest installment...
Jessica Duffield
23. jessduff101
I would love to have this book because I am a new book blogger and would like to give this book a solid review. Thank you again for the opportunity!
bill norris
24. bnchile
It sounds like a good read, i would love to check it out.
Donna Goodman
25. gorzd1
Tana French is consistently superb; her plots and characters are equally complicated and exciting. I am looking forward to reading this latest installment!
Sandra Furlotte
26. skfurlotte
Tana French is a great writer. I am a Hugh fan of her books and would love to read this one.
Marisa Young
29. Risa
Would love to read Tana French's latest.
30. Techeditor
I've read every book that French has written and now will read this one as well. I write reviews of every book I read and post the reviews to various sites on the Internet.
Nancy Pate
31. patebooks
I'll read anything Tana French writers. Character-driven mysteries, extraordinary writing, a frisson of something else.
"she still looked like Dead Barbie'' -- killer line
32. tross
Tana French is one of my favorites. The first comment writer said it all for me too... She writes the way I think... or maybe the way I want to think. So good. All you newbies are in for a treat.
Sally Kohlenberg
33. SallyK
sounds very good would love to win a copy. Thanks
34. Kristen
I've been looking forward to this one!
Marie-Louise Molloy
35. Wezzie
Tana a fave author, cannot wait to devour the entire book....WANT A WIN!
Rex Bull
36. wbull101648
It sounds like a winner, which I too would like to be.
Diane Ranney
37. DianeR
One for the mystery shelf for sure. Our readers will be asking for this one before I can even take a stab at reviewing it!
38. Sara Tennier
Tana French is one of a handful of authors that I am honestly excited to read. Her characters are written like real people and not cliches, which makes the story more believable. I can't wait to read this one.
Kelly Rodriguez
39. krodriguez630
I can't wait to read this book it looks like such an amazing read.
40. Gerry Durisin
Looking forward to reading the rest of this novel!
Anne Kennedy
41. amac1952
Tana French is terrific. To the best of my knowledge she's the only mystery author, and maybe the only author, to write a series in which the lead character changes with each new book, all the while maintaining a continuity through supporting characters. To finish one mystery is to eagerly await the next,
Sara Tennier
42. saratennier@gmail.com
Tana French is one of a handful of authors that I am honestly excited to read. Her characters are written like real people and not cliches, which makes the story more believable. I can't wait to read this one.
Laurence Coven
44. Holmes
French is one of the top and most reliable thriller writers we now have writing.--Kudos to her and all her novels.
Susan Robinette
45. susanrob
Can't wait to read this one -- I've been following her series and this one, again, sounds like a winner!
Rosa Abraham
46. ravensfan
I've read all of Tana French's books and am looking forward to this new one.
Michael Carter
47. rubydog
Sounds great!
I would love to win.
Yes, please enter me in this sweepstakes.
Thanks ---
Mary Ann Woods
49. puttputt1198eve
It sounds like an exciting read. I would love to win it!
Janice Santillo
50. themommazie
Would love to read this book even if I don't win. Sounds really interesting and like a fast read.
Lori Provenzano
51. Mountainesque
Impressively economical and vivid storytelling. I'm bitten; definitely want to know more!
Joanne Mielczarski
52. jtmswim
I am planning to read this book, so it would be really nice if I won a copy!
Katie Caprero
53. 3no7
The absolute best thing about this book is that Tana French's name is GIANT and at the top of the book cover. WAY TO GO TANA.
54. Ninja
Love Tana French! Love the except, especially the Dead Barbie description!
susan beamon
55. susanbeamon
Interesting series, set in Ireland instead of England. Give us a different culture to sample, those of us who are used to American police procedurals.
Jackie Wisherd
56. JackieW
I have read Tana French before and liked her writing. This book sounds like one I would enjoy.
Sharon Shumway
58. Shellen
Love Tana French. Can't wait to read this one.
59. SallyW
I look forward to readng this book to find out who is "The Trespasser". A intriguing start.
Pauline Barlow
63. Pauline
The tale sounds a bit paranoid, but interesting.
I do believe I'd like to read it.
Phoenix Vie
64. Phoenix
I've been waiting for the next book in this series.
patricia gibby
65. pgibby1
Haven't read Tana French. Now would be a good time to start.
66. Valentine
I'm very intrigued. Great giveaway!
67. Katherine Boyle
I would love to win! This book sounds great!
Robert Grieco
69. RobG
Looks to be a great book and would make a very interesting movie to boot! :)
Rena Sollish
70. Rena
I've read several of her books. Can't wait to read this one!
Jim Belcher
71. librarypops
Oh thanks a lot! Now I have a whole other stack of books to add to my never to be completed TBR list.
Andrew Beck
75. queerbec
I have been waiting for French's latest installment in the Homicide Squad series. I enjoy how each book focuses on a different member of the squad and I like trying to pick out from the action just who the next focused character will be. It adds another level of interest to the plot and mystery of each novel.
Patrice Gottfried
76. pkg427
I have read all Tana French's books. Really looking forward to this new one.
Michelle  Garrity
78. mgarrity
I have never read Tana's books. Would love to win!
79. jzswet
I love Tana French - I've read all of her books so far
81. Laura Castoro
Love this series.
Sharon Fontenot
84. smfont
I've been waiting for this one! I like the way the author shifts the focus from one member of the Murder Squad to another.
donna graham
86. jegrdo
I haven't read Tana French before but this sounds like a great introduction. I love murder mysteries.
Sherry Schwabacher
88. sherrykaraoke
Tana French is brilliant. I can't wait for this new book.
henry senatore
89. savin2retire
Read all the rest of Tana's and would like to win.
Julie Matthews
90. Julie1212
I love Tana French's books! There's something so special about them. I can't wait to read this one.
Carol Turner
91. cjpturner
Her books are always terrific. I'm looking forward to this one!
Jeana Keller
92. StuffSmart
I'd never heard of Tana French, I'm going to have to check her other books out.
Rhonda Stefani
93. RStefani72
Oh my goodness, I've wanted to read Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad for the longest time! Every review and comments seen have been marvelous. I can't wait to actually read one.Just the small excerpt has me ready and wanting more! Would make an absolutely fabulous upcoming birthday gift!!
Melissa Keith
95. melly801
Ooooooo! I've read so many good things about this book! I'm DYING to read it. Please send. :-) Thanks.
John Smith
101. jsmith2jsmith
Yes, it sounds sophisticated and intriguing. I would love to read it.
Linda Peters
102. linnett
new author to me, but the excertp sounds great to me, thanks
108. Kee Sullivan
I love this author so I am really excited to read this book.
Jerry Marquardt
116. versatileer
I would love to thank you so much for featuring the The Trespasser: New Excerpt by Tana French giveaway. I look forward reading this very soon.
Carl White
117. CarlWhiteEntry
Her face is covered by blond hair, straightened and sprayed so ferociously that even murder hasn’t managed to mess it up. She looks like Dead Barbie...I used to date a girl we called Dead Barbie but for other reasons, no worries, I did not kill her, just broke up with her.
118. tiac35
I hope I win. Seems like a good read.
Buddy Garrett
120. garrettsambo
I would love to read it. It sounds like a great read.
Jennifer Brinker
121. brownbnns
This sounds like a good read, thanks for the chance to win!
Betty Curran
122. willitara
I love a good murder mystery. I'm hoping to win.
123. Stephanie Liske
Thank You!
126. stephanie macdonald
looks like such an amazing read
Julia Cooper
129. hoolita@gmail.com
I am so enjoying Tana French's books. Can't wait for the new one.
Julia Cooper
130. hoolita@gmail.com
I am so enjoying Tana French's books. Can't wait for the new one.
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