©2008 Tana French; (P)2008 Recorded Books
Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.
WARNING (1): This is the second part to "In The Woods" the two book are Siamese twins joined at the head. WARNING (2): It is Tana French's nature to show, not tell. And show.. and show... and...
Detective Cassie Maddox piqued me up during "In The Woods" but somewhere between books the perky gymnast lost both her perk and reflexes. So much of "The Likeness" involves minute, laborious, Frenchian efforts to make an astonishing coincidence explicable. In the process she's made it clear that Trinity University's Ph.D. admission standards and student credulity coincidentally collapsed at exactly the right moment to allow French's premise to slide through. Not only that but apparently listeners' ears for accent and regionalism among English speakers also evaporated just in time to allow everyone to accept Australian for Californian for South Carolinian for Dublin for...
Okay... I couldn't jump the shark even though Heather O'Neil tried reeeeeely hard to sell the story. But... the worst speed bump in "The Likeness" is French's inability to ever get to the point. Okay, people are complex... I get it. I got it a few hours into "In The Woods"... part one in this saga. This time I felt like a passenger in a heavy carriage hitched to a turtle. Often I yowled, "Get To The Point Tell me! Stop showing, DAMMIT!"
Pity, French knows how to "cast a lot of lures so you fail to notice the hook in the middle." The characters, shaken loose from boring debris are fascinating, and the ending's darkly poignant. If, like me, you are determined to finish what you've bought... and wondered about Cassie after reading "Into The Woods"... well maybe... maybe... you'll also finish this thing.
This may be the first review I've written on Audible (I'm a long-time listener, first-time caller). Both this book and its superb narration (by Heather O'Neill) were completely riveting. It may not impress devotees of crime fiction, since it does take liberties with the investigation at its center (at times rendering it a mere pretext for the psychodrama that is its real focus), but the creation of such densely wrought, moving, and frankly likable characters engrossed me as much as any more generically "pure" police procedural. Cassie Maddox is one of the most appealing protagonists I've come across in contemporary fiction. And the book is, simply put, astonishingly well-written. French seems to be in the business of world-making rather than crime fiction: she uses the Dublin murder department as the occasion for producing a richly imagined vision of contemporary Ireland, one as intricate and historically nuanced as that of her compatriot, the brilliant John Banville. (Ironically, Banville's own mystery writing--under the pseudonym Benjamin Black--cannot really touch French's for depth and wit.) Those looking for a whodunit will be rightfully disappointed by this book (as numerous reviewers have indicated); those looking for a gripping take on the psychology of deception and identity, and on the ethics of what people owe to one another, will be enthralled.
I'm glad I gave this book a go. I had been discouraged by other reviewers who found the premise of The Likeness to be implausible; even though many others were happy with it, I was concerned that such a seemingly outlandish concept couldn't work and I would be stuck with several hours of frustration. But I had listened to In The Woods and already was intrigued by French's deep, psychological twists and turns. Like I said, I am glad I decided to try this novel and make up my own mind. As impossible as it might seem for Cassie to have a double whose shoes she could step almost effortlessly into, French's rendition of this conceit won me over. The book is long because you need a lot of backstory to make the whole premise plausible, as well as to fill in Cassie's story for those who have not heard/read In The Woods. This is a psychological thriller so it's often slow-moving, often frustrating in that you might find yourself yelling out loud at the characters as they do things that you just know will put them in danger, but you still understand why they are driven to do just that. This is not a neat whodunit with obvious villians and heroes. Sometimes the heroes act like villains, or at least they border on it. Sometimes the ones you think are villains are just people who want to forget their past. The ending was not anti-climatic. it was sad, for sure, but it made sense. Sort of like, good intentions don't always lead to the best ends. Now I'm looking forward to French's next novel, where I expect I'll get lost in Cassie's world again.
I enjoyed In The Woods and was pleased to learn Tana French had a new book out. Once again, I chose to listen to it. I wasn't disappointed. The voice is not Scottish, as another reviewer thought, but Irish, and the narrator absolutely nails every dialect she attempts. Wonderful reading of an exciting, well written story. For me, The Likeness called to mind The Secret History, as well as having relevance to French's last book, In The Woods. However, one needn't have read the first novel to enjoy this second one. A treat for readers of mystery, suspense and literary fiction alke.
Addicted to Audible!
Ms French is my new favorite author. Her books have great plots, great character development, twists and turns. I like the reader best from Faithful Place - he was awesome! If you like a good psychological thriller than her books are for you.
Addicted to books, both print and audio-.
This is my second Tana French novel; I listened to Broken Harbor recently, and recommend that as highly as this one. This is marvelous detective fiction: beautifully written and plotted, with complex and fascinating characters. Heather O'Neill does a brilliant job with the narration, handling a good-sized cast very well, and keeping me on the edge of my seat. I desperately hope she does more books; she has just the right amount of expression and emotion.
In Broken Harbor and Likeness, Tana Harbor creates intense and compelling mysteries without much violence. I can't read extremely or even moderately violent stuff; it unsettles me, but I love mysteries and have limited patience with "cozies." I'm also picky about good writing. Like P.D. James, Sarah Waters, and Kate Atkinson, French is able to maintain the tension without a lot of graphic violence. And the writing is *really good.* Denise Mina is another writer of marvelous detective fiction; I love her Alex Morrow series, though her Paddy Meehan & Garnethill series are too graphic for me. I notice Heather O'Neill has narrated two of the Paddy Meehans. Perhaps I can work up to one of those . . .
I get to read three more Tana French novels and then have to wait for her to publish more. I'm thrilled to have discovered her. What a find!
Where did all the 5 star reviews come from?? I have never been so bored with a story. I want to return it, but thankfully got this one on sale. The author could have made this a lot better if she cut it in half. Way too much useless filler/garble inserted into a scene when your waiting for something to happen with one of the storylines. I kept thinking, "I listened 30 minutes for that?" Nothing happens for hours, but boredom waiting for an OH WOW or whats next?
Awful Awful Awful. I'm so disappointed I already bought the next one by Tana French and I so hope it's much better than this one.
The Narrator was excellant. Whew!
I read this authors first book and really enjoyed it. When I read the excerpt at the back for this title, I knew that I had to read or listen to it. This narrator was excellent. The scottish burr very authentic. Lexi/Cassie was a lovable and very interesting character. I really hope that there is another book about her soon.
Who needs the mall?
This was a very intricate plot, and a superb story. The only caveat - the author asked us to take a giant leap in believing a girl who happened to look exactly like Cassie just happened to stumble into one of her old undercover identities. I struggled with this and the fact that once again, the book was just too long.
The most interesting thing about the story was the house, it's occupants, and all their combined secrets. The least interesting was all the time spent at college. I just didn't care.
Heather has a brilliant accent and as always, a narrator brings you into a story in a way that reading it on your own just can't match.
I think so. I'm looking forward to seeing what unfolds in the next book.
I was confused when, near the end of the book, Cassie mentioned her trip to England. It caught me off guard and took me a few minutes to recognize exactly what she was talking about. Just another subject I'd like to see hashed out in the next book.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
First off, let me say this is just about the best narration, ever! Heather O'Neill doesn't just read this book, she performs it brilliantly. Can't say enough about the importance of a superior narrator in enjoying an Audio version - and this one proves the rule.
As in her first book, Tana French has a fantastic story idea. Though the "everyone has a double somewhere" coincidence is on the improbable side, French's excellent writing skills deserve suspension of disbelief. The story unveils well, there's a lot of psychological complexity in the characters, and modern Ireland comes alive in "The Likeness."
I just wish this author had a little more of the editor in her, or that an editor insisted on a bit of tightening of the story. It's just too long for a really effective mystery. Although I actually found myself skipping through bits (and not missing anything plot-wise), I do recommend "The Likeness" as a very good listen, especially with this narrator.
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