The Witch Elm

Viking. Oct. 2018. 457p. ISBN 9780735224629. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780735224636. F
OrangeReviewStarThis first stand-alone novel by French ("Dublin Murder Squad" series) features personable Dubliner Toby. Toby does social media work for an art gallery, maintains close relationships with his cousins Leon and Susanna, and has loose plans to marry girlfriend Melissa. Then one night, two burglers in his apartment beat him senseless and leave him for dead. Struggling mentally and physically, Toby is unable to continue working or living on his own, so he and Melissa move in with his Uncle Hugo, who is in the late stages of brain cancer. When a skeleton found in a tree in the backyard is identified as a high school friend of Toby's, long-held secrets bubble just below the surface. But with Toby's memory problems, he can't be sure how much he knows about Dominic, his death, or any of the people in his life—including himself.
VERDICT French's slow-burning, character-driven examination of male privilege is timely, sharp, and meticulously crafted. Recommended for her legions of fans, as well as any readers of literary crime fiction.
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