I actually finished this one quite a while ago, and in just a few days. But travel has me all in a whirr and not doing things promptly. But book 24 was Tana French’s The Likeness.
My mother-in-law, whose taste I trust in nearly all things, recommended Tana French to me a long time ago. I immediately picked up a copy of Into the Woods at Powell’s, and read it pretty much right away. But I was… underwhelmed? The writing was good, but I found the story less than satisfying. Maybe it’s the American in me, but if you have two major mysteries in your mystery book, shouldn’t at least one of them be resolved in a way that the reader finds satisfying?
My complaints about mysteries are that usually one of these happens:
(1) I see the answer / solution coming a mile away, a long time before the allegedly brilliant detective figures it out, or
(2) The solution comes from some last bit of information held back and revealed at the very end, so that there’s no way I could have figured it out.
I want to be both outsmarted and surprised. Is that so much to ask? It happened recently on TV… the “who killed Lila?” resolution on How to Get Away with Murder was deeply satisfying because I didn’t see it coming, but it made complete sense given the information I had.
But I heard a podcast recently (my usual “Pop Culture Happy Hour” listening… I’ve been working through the archives while listening to new episodes as they come out), and one of the panelists mentioned liking Tana French’s other books much better than Into the Woods. So I decided to give her another try. And I completely agree! This book was so much better than the last one!
The premise is a little wonky… a detective happens to be a dead ringer (har har) for a murdered college student who had stolen said detectives old made-up undercover identity. They look so much alike that the dead girl’s housemates (with whom she spends every waking minute) don’t suspect the switch when the detective steps into her life.
But with a bit of willing suspension of disbelief, this was a great fun read. I got through it really quickly… probably too quickly, since I should have been doing some actual work. But I wanted to know what happened. I did see bits and pieces of the resolution coming, but not so much or so far in advance that I doubted the intelligence of the main characters. And the way that the detectives bickered and undercut each other was great fun. Even in life-or-death jobs, there’s bullshit office politics. Makes me feel better about my own lot in life, I guess.
I am already waitlisted for the next book in the “Dublin Murder Squad” series. It’ll be a while before the book is available, but I’m looking forward to it!