Recommended at Entertainment Weekly, Tana French’s Irish murder mystery The Likeness took a while to come in at the library. Once I started it, I realized it was a sequel–I got and finished In the Woods in a few days, then started The Likeness, worried that I wouldn’t be able to finish it by the time it was due. I needn’t have fretted.
The Likeness is at least as compelling as In the Woods, and is a tighter, better-written book to boot. I hate to use this trite phrase, but it fits: The Likeness is a taut, psychological thriller. It’s narrated by Detective Cassie Maddox, who still suffers from the events of the last book but is spurred back to risk taking when a unique investigative opportunity presents itself.
This is Lexie Madison’s story, not mine. I’d love to tell you one without getting into the other, but it doesn’t work that way. I used to think I sewed us together at the edges with my own hands, pulled the stitches tight and I could unpick them any time I wanted. Now I think it always ran deeper than that and farther, underground; out of sight and way beyond my control…
This is the main thing you need to know about Alexandra Madison: she never existed. Frank Mackey and I invented her, a long time ago
Like In the Woods, the book has wonderful, complex characters who are carefully and believably written. Cassie’s case is an involving one, and it’s easy to see how she gets in too deep. It is dark and violent, so defer it if you’re feeling fragile and depressed. But if you’re looking for a well-written murder procedural with great characters, I highly recommend starting with In the Woods and continuing with The Likeness.