A great thriller, well read and acted, but the book should have been abridged. I could/would have skimmed through parts if I were reading the book, but this isn't easy to do when you are listening.
My husband and I listened to this on a road trip, and the first half was great. My husband gave up after 16 hours.
I give it 4 stars because the story and reader were good, but would recommend it only to those that like lots of description and words, not those who like suspense and get eager to know how it will end!
This book starts with a great idea but it never really develops. There are two mysteries, one in the past, one in the present. The reader is led to believe that they are connected, but after lots and lots of dialogue, memories, etc we find that the first cannot ever be explained (due to "amnesia" on the part of the narrator) and the second could have been solved right away if the right technology had been applied sooner rather than later. The middle third of the book can be dispensed with- it doesn't have anything to do with either plot. Disappointing.
I intially found this book very interesting and certainly well written. In fact, its strength is in the narrative, rather than in the story. I was very disappointed by the drawn-out, unsatisfying conclusion. It was as if the author got bored and decided to conclude the book too quickly. You see, there are two main story lines, one concerning a recent murder which is concluded fairly reasonably, although not quite believably. I find it hard to believe that the police would not have looked more deeply into the victim's family, especially considering a family member does turn out to be involved in the murder.
The second is a disappearance that happened 20 years ago, with overtones of some sort of strange creature having possibly been the cause. This is never solved, but rather left hanging, making me wonder why then it was even brought up in the first place. Of course, the disappearance is part of the explanation for the twisted character of the main protagonist, but it would have been easy enough to create another reason for his actions.
Therefore, I was very interested at least 3/4s of the way through the book, then ultimately disappointed when it started to become apparent that the second story line was never going to be concluded satisfactorily.
I was really interested in the book and started to go ahead and give it a rating of 5 until I got about 3/4 through it and everything started to get just too depressing. It could have been a really great story if the writer had finished the second storyline. It had a really great premise but too much was left hanging.
Had a hard time with this mystery, although I did make it to the end. The storyline needs to move forward (and backward in this novel) with a little more steam. It wasn't a waste of my time, but I wouldn't listen to it driving at night...drink some caffeine instead.
Coincidentally, I just finished Benjamin Black's "Vengeance", another procedural set in Dublin. Black's novel is skillfully written, but is no match for French's, kicking with life and clear-eyed observation. She has, for instance, a hardened detective, but he is no romantic figure: he is, as she both demonstrates and remarks, merely "****ed up". All her characters are palpably human, and, quite rare in any fiction, she portrays a convincing "besties" friendship between a male and a female. Amid the general dark mayhem lurks a keen sense of humor.
Tana French is in my opinion an excellent writer. She does like similes and detailed descriptive passages. These could bog a book down if one does not take pleasure in descriptive details. Fortunately, she is gifted and her similes are frequently poetic. It is my observation that the plot is of secondary importance. What she really writes about is relationships. So, if you are in no rush for the plot to progress and enjoy word pictures as well as a remarkable ability to explore and portray relationships, this is the book for you. If you have read or listened to "Faithful Place", you know exactly what I am talking about. I have just purchased "The Likeness". I am looking forward to it, but, because her books are somewhat heavy (not exactly cheerful), I may need to listen something of a lighter nature before listening to "The Likeness". The narrator was nothing short of fantastic.
I've been an avid reader for years and just discovered the joys of multi-tasking with audio books. It always takes a while to get "into" the flow of a new narrator and this book was no different. I enjoyed Crossley's narration, albeit most characters should have had an Irish accent. The 2 star's reflect the lack of a conclusion to one of two story lines in the book. Why would anyone want to listen/read a mystery book with no conclusion?! I was more interested in the main character's personal story concerning the unexplained loss of his two childhood friends. If the author had revealed an ending to both stories I would have given this book 4 stars, but now I'm sorry I wasted my time listening to it.
No matter where you go, there you are.
The writing style impresses at first, but that glow must have captured (and blinded) the author, as well. While a believable story line, the police characters were obscenely inaccurate and farcical.
When the author chides the reader near the interminable ending about being fooled, I thought that considering the story was so thinly disguised and the guilty so obvious, she must have believed that the integrity of the story is less important than her ability to turn a phrase. When it is so obvious who dunnit, you'd better be one hell of a writer. Or hope that your audience is made up of soap opera fans. The entire final chapter, all hour of it, would better have been left in the round file.
The narrator did a fine job while keeping his tongue in his cheek!
This is a fascinating story with most intersting characters. The story haunted me for many days afterward (not in a bad way, but in a "can't stop thinking about what happened" way. There was one part, however, that almost scared my pants off! It is a really great mystery story. See if YOU can solve it.