I first became aware of Tana French when I was looking at the Mystery Writer's of America list of Edgar Award winners for 2007. I wanted new mystery authors to read, and her debut novel, IN THE WOODS, sounded like a great novel.
As expected, I loved the book, and I became a Tana French fan. But it was her second novel, THE LIKENESS, that really grabbed me. It takes place six months after the events of IN THE WOODS. Cassie Maddox is called to a murder scene in which her double has been killed, and to solve the crime, her boss, Frank Mackey, convinces her to play the role of the dead woman as though she had never died.
I have an admission to make. Though THE LIKENESS is extremely well-plotted, it's true draw for me was because it strongly reminded me of one of my all-time favorite books, THE SECRET HISTORY, by Donna Tartt. Though it's safe to say the two books are really not all that similar, the setting, a group of young people living together in an old country house, echoed the group of friends in THE SECRET HISTORY. If you haven't read these books, I recommend both.
This year, Tana released her third novel, FAITHFUL PLACE. This story's protagonist is Frank Mackey (Cassie's boss in THE LIKENESS). I am thoroughly enjoying it, and though I wanted to finish it by the time I wrote this post, time has conspired against me and I'm in the middle of it.
Bottom line, I love Tana French's novels, and if you've not yet had the pleasure of reading one, put them on your To Be Read list.
If you're buying books as gifts this holiday season, please consider purchasing from your local independent bookshop. The level of customer service you'll receive is unmatched, you'll have the added benefit of making new friends of the staff, and you'll help support a local business.
Some of the books featured in this post can be purchased from the Mystery Bookstore in Los Angeles (firstname.lastname@example.org).