You know how they say that people like Dan Brown’s books because they make them feel intelligent?
Tana French can do that, but with prettier prose but with more sympathetic and flawed characters, more No-I-Can’t-Langdon-fly- humanity.

Rife with descriptions, no whambam surprises here. Rather she sneaks surprises in setting descriptions and subtly weaves metaphors within metaphors:

“He told me about old herb gardens: how carefully they were arranged to make sure that each plant had everything it needed to flourish, how perfectly they balanced sight and scent and use, practicality and beauty, without ever allowing one to be compromised for another’s sake. Hyssop to loosen chest colds or cure toothaches, he said camomile in a poultice to reduce inflammation or in a tea to prevent nightmares; lavender and lemon balm for strewing to make the house smell sweet, rue and burnet in salads. ‘We’ll have to try that sometime,’ he said, ‘a Shakesperean salad. Tansy tastes like pepper, did you know that? I thought it had died off long ago, it was brown and brittle, but when I cut right back to the roots, there it was: just a tinge of green. It’ll be all right now. It’s amazing, how stubbornly things survive against incredible odds; how irresistibly strong it is, the drive to live and grow…”

or this:

The rhythm of his voice washed over me, even and soothing as waves; I barely heard the words. “Time,’ I think he said somewhere behind me, or maybe it was ‘thyme’, I’ve never been sure. “Time works so hard for us, if only we can let it.”