A police procedural featuring the old-guy/rookie detectice team that is really a psychological thriller: a married couple and their two children are brutally attacked, the husband stabbed to death, the kids smothered in their beds. The couple purchased a flimsy, nice-on-outside house in part of a huge new development on the beach in Ireland, part of a larger Irish economic boom that saddled a lot of people with houses they couldn't afford in a market that collapsed and left them trapped. Who's the bad guy? The husband who's lost his job, and spent his last few months alive increasingly obsessed with the sound of a phantom "animal" in the attic, behind the walls, installing web-cams and tearing holes in the drywall and lurking on an internet bulletin boards asking questions about animal traps? A childhood friend of the couple, best friend of the husband, secretly in love with the wife, who's also unemployed and has taken up residence in the unfinished house across the street, who watches them through binoculars and knows their every move? The wife herself, struggling to keep things perfect as her life dissolves?
French's writing is strong but at times she seems in love with the sound of her own voice: characters (particularly the narrator, the old guy detective) go on and on and on, in speaking, and in the narrator's case, in an elegant, often melodramatic reporting of his thoughts and observations. In the second half of the book, this style works against her, as the plot certainly thickens and the reader wants to get places faster.