The Likeness is the second in Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad series of mystery novels.
Although The Likeness is not quite as great as French's thoroughly superb first book, it is still quite good indeed, and I devoured it apace.
The characters are fascinating; the scenario is very intriguing; the pacing and reveal is just right.
But perhaps most importantly, French's wonderfully lyrical touch again does not fail her.
Here we are, mid-story, just as our hero is learning something new about a crucial character:
The garden dumbstruck, in the fading gold light. The birds hushed, the branches caught in midsway; the house, a great silence poised over us, listening. I had stopped breathing. Lexie blew down the grass like a silver shower of wind, she rocked in the hawthorn trees and balanced light as a leaf on the wall beside me, she slipped along my shoulder and blazed down my back like fox fire.
I love the way this passage depicts how "time stops" sometimes, when you suddenly realize something new.
I love the way this passage depicts the way that evidence can have a voice of its own, making inanimate artifacts come to life.
I love the way this passage evokes the spirit of a departed human soul, simultaneously here and not here.
And I love the beautiful way she makes us feel our own spine tingle.
There's plenty of good solid policework, of course. And plenty of action, and plenty of evidence, and plenty of mystery.
But there's a wonderful amount of this, too:
I listened to the static echoing in my ear and thought of those herds of horses you get in the vast wild spaces of America and Australia, the ones running free, fighting off bobcats or dingoes and living lean on what they find, gold and tangled in the fierce sun. My friend Alan from when I was a kid, he worked on a ranch in Wyoming one summer, on a J1 visa. He watched guys breaking those horses. He told me that every now and then there was one that couldn't be broken, one wild to the bone. Those horses fought the bridle and the fence till they were ripped up and streaming blood, till they smashed their legs or their necks to splinters, till they died of fighting to run.
Of course, she isn't really talking about horses at all.
I can't wait to read more of her books.