The Searcher is a standalone novel by Tana French who has also written the marvelous Dublin murder series. Start at the beginning with In the Woods and come up for air when you get to the end.
The Searcher is a brooding novel with a strong sense of place and character. French, herself, has described it as being a Western, but one set in Ireland. I think that this is because of the concept of the stranger coming to town. Cal is that stranger. He is a divorced policeman from Chicago who thinks that the will find a simpler and more satisfying life in the small Irish town where he fixes up his house and gets to know the locals. His existence is upended by Trey, a thirteen year old who wants to know what happened to brother, Brendan. Cal gets involved in what is a sad and somewhat dark story.
Many of the characters in this novel are well portrayed, from Cal’s neighbor Mart to the busybody who runs the local store to Lena (and her dogs) and, most especially Trey, a fully realized, scrappy, vulnerable. teen. Other town people blended together a bit for me.
Will Trey find out what Trey wants/needs to know? What will it mean if/when Trey does? These are some of the questions of the novel.
At times, I could imagine this novel as a tv show because the places were so well described. At other times, the sense of menace could very much be felt. The relationship between Trey and Cal was nuanced and is a critical part of the story.
I still prefer the Dublin murder series but truly admire what French has accomplished in this book. Give it a try!