Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Nobody Move, This Is A Review: THE LIKENESS by Tana French

A Grand Vizier writes: “Of the many swingeing changes made by the Princess Lilyput on her accession to the Crime Always Pays throne, the decision to give the elves a holiday was probably the most radical. And not only have the little buggers scarpered, very probably never to be seen in these here parts again, but Princess Lilyput has declared that all regular contributors to CAP – such as Adrian McKinty, KT McCaffrey, Claire Coughlan, et al – are to be upgraded from elf status to Honorary Associate Members, with immediate effect. They still won’t get paid a red cent, happily enough, but they are now entitled to call themselves CAP HAMs. Which is nice.
  “Anyhoo, here’s Claire Coughlan’s take on Tana French’s new offering …”
THE LIKENESS, Edgar-winner Tana French’s follow up to IN THE WOODS, is a hypnotic look at post Celtic Tiger Ireland in all its consumerist, property-obsessed glory. French herself grew up abroad and, as with IN THE WOODS, the novel is nuanced with an outsider’s acute powers of observation. Set between Dublin and the lush Wicklow countryside, which is richly evoked, and narrated by Detective Cassie Maddox – who appeared in IN THE WOODS as a main character – the plot involves Cassie being called upon to go undercover when a PHD student is murdered. The victim had been using an alias, ‘Lexie Madison’, that Cassie herself invented several years earlier on a previous job. Somewhat implausibly and unethically, Cassie also happens to be ‘Lexie’s’ apparent doppelganger, which enables her to slot unnoticed into her life, passing herself off as the murdered girl to her strange, close-knit group of housemates in order to find the murderer, while Lexie is, in fact, dead.
French spins a complex narrative web which unfortunately wears thin and snaps towards the story’s denouement, when she appears to be too eager to provide an antithesis to the ambiguity which defined the ending of IN THE WOODS – some elements of the tying up of narrative strands might have remained better left unsaid, in this instance. Overall though, THE LIKENESS is a make-you-late, often very funny read, from start, not-quite-to-finish. – Claire Coughlan
“That Claire Coughlan, eh? Never blummin’ satisfied. Sherryl Connelly at the New York Daily News, however, was rather more impressed with THE LIKENESS this weekend, declaring that it's “ … a book even better than the first, which was very good indeed.” Nice. For the full review, jump on over here


bookwitch said...

But I liked the elves. They were funny.

adrian mckinty said...

With a six year old daughter and a two year old daughter I have had more tea parties with fairy folk than I care to remember. As for Daisy Meadows' Rainbow Fairies Series, I am possibly the world expert. Bring on the elves, I can handle it.

Declan Burke said...

Ms Witch - I can make no promises on the elves. They're gone to Santa Ponsa, apparently, on the razz, and who knows what the belly-dancing dwarves will get up to out there. Adrian - these are no ordinary elves. Like minding mice at crossroads, as the man says ... Cheers, Dec