I read Tana French’s first first novel in the Dublin Murder Squad series, In the Woods a little over a year ago and immediately fell in love with her writing style. In the Woods was the dark, complex and gritty murder mystery that filled the season one True Detective sized hole in my heart. The Likeness has cemented my love for Ms. French and this mystery series. This second book hits many of the same notes that made the first one so great without being repetitive.
The Likeness begins picks up about six months after the events of In the Woods have concluded. The protagonist, Cassandra Maddox is the former partner of Rob Ryan who was the protagonist of the first book. Despite these close ties, it is not necessary to have read In the Woods to follow along with The Likeness, though I would highly recommend it. Detective Maddox has transferred out of Murder Squad and into Domestic Violence. However she is called to a murder scene to find that the victim is not only her doppelganger, but that she has been identified as “Lexie Madison” an identity that Detective Maddox used when she was working Undercover. Her former boss from Undercover convinces her to move in with “Lexie’s” flatmates and pose as her in order to help catch the killer.
Tana French’s ability to put you inside the main character’s head is phenomenal. Often I would catch myself missing the same things Cassie would miss because I was looking at everything through her eyes with all the baggage from her past that colored it. The conclusion of this book (like its predecessor) was an emotional gut punch. In addition, French makes Dublin and the small village where the main action takes place into secondary characters. The conflict between history and modern life weigh heavily over the events of the story. I can’t recommend this book, or any of the other books in the series enough to anyone who loves a mystery with some serious meat on its bones. Yes, I just recommended books I haven’t read yet. FIGHT ME!