"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Tolstoy certainly had it right... and the Mackeys of Dublin are among the most interesting "unhappy families" you'll ever read about. Tana French has once again created characters so vivid, you'll be lining up for her next novel. Better yet, go back and read her first two, if you haven't had the pleasure yet.
I read a lot of reviews about how Frank Mackey is a complete jerk, as opposed to a likeable character like Rob and Cassie (the protagonists of Tana French's first two novels). I actually thought that Rob was a bit of a self-pitying jerk, but really liked Frank. At the very least, he made me laugh every other time he opened his mouth.
Take for example, this paraphrased conversation between Frank & his majorly jerky older brother.
Frank: Wait here.
Shay: Do I look like your bitch?
Frank: Just a little around the mouth.
If you don't think that's hilarious, you may agree with the majority who don't seem to like Frank.
About the book: I read it in two days, staying up until 2:30 the second night. I read a description of Tana French's novels as "paper crack" and I have to agree. I can't wait for her fourth novel to come out this summer.
Frank Mackey has always believed he was jilted by his teenage love, but 22 years later, her suitcase is found in an abandoned house on his old street. Suddenly, his personal pain turns into a murder investigation. One problem, Frank is an undercover officer, not on the murder squad. If you read The Likeness, you know that Frank doesn't like to follow the rules.
Where French's first two novels took place in the 'burbs and the countryside, this one is set in a rough part of Dublin, featuring Frank's dysfunctional, estranged family as some of the main characters. They're an entertaining cast of characters, with colorful speech and actions. Bloody brilliant.
This third effort in the Dublin Murder Squad series follows Frank Mackey (head of Undercover). Don't assume that you know this character based on his appearance in the previous two novels: this one will surprise you.
I still like the second in the series best, yet this one takes readers into working class Dublin and shows the psychological effects of hard times.