A Mesmerising 4 Stars
Tana French stuns again with another beautiful, character driven murder mystery. This time around, Cassie Maddox is focus of the story as she is struggling with the aftermath of events of the first novel.
The book is so beautifully written and the characters so deeply engaging that I would love to give this 5 stars. The plot is the only reason I was unable to do so. The story opens with dead body carrying ID in the name of one of Cassie Maddox's undercover identities. Things become absurd when it is revealed that the body is a nearly perfect "likeness" to Cassie Maddox. If this is not unlikely enough, Frank, Cassie's former boss in undercover, hatches a plan to take on the dead girls identity and insert her back in the home where she had lived with 4 other university students for the previous two or so years.
Had this story been written by a lesser writer, I would have abandoned the book long before the end. The unbelievable storyline would have had me rolling my eyes as the ceiling while I picked apart the enormous logical issues in the plan. As a testament to Tana French, the plot did not deter me. The beautiful, flowing writing style and the engaging characters allowed me to suspend my disbelief and enjoy this book.
This series will not be for everyone. If you only enjoy a fast paced murder mystery or a sharp police procedural that keeps you guessing at the killer, this book is not for you. While there is a murder mystery and a killer on the loose, it is secondary to the characters. The character's drive this story and their past and desires for the future drive their actions and drive the plot. I can count on one hand the books that have had equal or better character development.
Overall, I enjoyed the book immensely and recommend it highly. A note on the Audiobook
This review is for the audiobook version of the novel. The narrator is superb. She had an easy to listen to (an understand) Irish accent. Her character voices are excellent and she infuses the right amount of emotion. As an added bonus, she has a very good singing voice. One of the characters would sing from time to time and the narrator would sing lines. Very well done.