Lost in a parallel existence. Lost in a nightmare I retrace



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!

There’s truth that lives and truth that dies. I don’t know which so never mind.



In the Woods is dark, complex and twisty but not in a gimmicky sort of way. It is the murder mystery I have been waiting for and I have already added the second and third books in Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series to my TBR list. It’s a mystery novel that is more than simply a “whodunnit.” It’s a rumination on memory and friendship with a conclusion that is an emotional kick in the gut.

In 1985, three children disappeared into the woods behind their small Dublin suburb of Knocknaree to play. Only one was ever seen again. Twelve year old Adam Ryan was found by search parties late that night clutching a tree with his shoes filled with his playmate’s blood and no memory of what happened. In present day, Adam Ryan is now Detective Rob Ryan of the Dublin Murder Squad. No one knows about his past aside from his partner Detective Cassie Maddox. Rob is pulled back into his memories of Knocknaree when he and Maddox are assigned to the murder of a twelve year old girl in the area. Rob struggles with the current case and his sparse memories of the 1985 murders as he tries to find the young girl’s murderer.

I did not want to put this book down. I spend almost all of a miserable sick day from work plowing through as much as I could. Meals were and bedtimes were delayed because I kept wanting to read one more chapter. This was that kind of book for me. It had the feel of season one True Detective at its atmospheric best. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves gritty detective novels and has somehow missed this book published in 2007 to pick it up.