Review: The Likeness by Tana French
Tana French astonished critics and readers alike with her mesmerizing debut novel, In the Woods. Now both French and Detective Cassie Maddox return to unravel a case even more sinister and enigmatic than the first. Six months after the events of In the Woods, an urgent telephone call beckons Cassie to a grisly crime scene. The victim looks exactly like Cassie and carries ID identifying herself as Alexandra Madison, an alias Cassie once used. Suddenly, Cassie must discover not only who killed this girl, but, more importantly, who is this girl? A disturbing tale of shifting identities, The Likeness firmly establishes Tana French as an important voice in suspense fiction.
Though, not exactly a sequel, the follow up novel to French’s award winning debut, In The Woods, is set in the same world from the author’s first book. Fans that were hoping for answers to the mysteries left unsolved in the first book will be sadly disappointed.
The Likeness revolves around Cassie Madox, (Rob Ryan’s partner) who was a significant character in the first book. Some time has lapsed since the events of In The Woods and Cassie is dealing with the aftermath and attempting to go on with her life. Her former partner, Rob, that was the center of the previous book– is pretty much absent from the story with the exception of a few mentions here and there. Cassie has moved on, changed departments, and is in a steady relationship with Sam O’Neil. Things are looking up for her until a ghost from her past pops up unexpectedly and pushes Cassie into an impossible situation that is almost as impossible to believe.
The ghost from Cassie’s past shows it’s face in a dead girl that is discovered by Cassie’s boyfriend, fellow detective, Sam O’Neil. Sam mistakes the girl at first glance to be Cassie and calls her to the scene right away. But, things get even more curious when the girl found carries ID identifying her as Alexandra Madison, an alias Cassie herself used years ago when she worked undercover.The question becomes not only who killed this girl, but who was this girl?
Frank Mackey, Cassie’s former undercover boss, sees the opportunity of a lifetime. Having played Lexie Madison once before, Cassie is in the perfect position to take her place. The police will tell the media and Lexie’s four housemates that the stab wound wasn’t fatal. And Cassie will go on living Lexie’s life until the killer is lured out to finish off the job.
It’s a brilliant idea, until Cassie finds herself more emotionally involved in Lexie’s life than she anticipated. Sharing the ramshackle old Whitethorn House with Lexie’s strange, tight-knit group of university friends, Cassie is slowly seduced by the victim’s way of life, by the thought of working on a murder investigation again, and by the mystery of the victim herself. As Cassie nears the truth about what happened to Lexie Madison and who she really was, the lines between professional and personal, work and play, reality and fantasy become desperately tangled, and Cassie finds herself on the edge of losing herself forever
In The Likeness, readers are to believe that a doppelganger exist to the extent where someone could assume the identity of someone they look like and fool everyone they live with…it is entirely unlikely and yet…I couldn’t pull myself away from the book.
There is something about the way Tana French tells a story that makes it easy for me to believe what she is writing at the moment I am reading it. I admit, that even as I am writing this I am thinking to myself how silly the plot was, but I ate it up. Couldn’t get enough of it really. Perhaps it is the fact that I got the book on audio. It is a very long book and I can only imagine how tedious it may have been to read due to all the descriptions and long dialogues. But, listening to it was AMAZING. I hung on every word the narrator said and was transported to French’s Dublin and it was a thrilling book to experience.
If you are already a fan of Tana French then I think you will enjoy The Likeness. For those that are not as keen on her work, I suggest checking out the audiobook. It is a very long mystery and a bit far-fetched, but incredibly entertaining!