*audio book borrowed from library*
Rating: 5 Skulls/Grade A++
Six months after the events of In the Woods, Detective Cassie Maddox is still trying to recover. She’s transferred out of the murder squad and started a relationship with Detective Sam O’Neill, but she’s too badly shaken to make a commitment to him or to her career. Then Sam calls her to the scene of his new case: a young woman found stabbed to death in a small town outside Dublin. The dead girl’s ID says her name is Lexie Madison (the identity Cassie used years ago as an undercover detective, and she looks exactly like Cassie.
With no leads, no suspects, and no clue to Lexie’s real identity, Cassie’s old undercover boss, Frank Mackey, spots the opportunity of a lifetime. They can say that the stab wound wasn’t fatal and send Cassie undercover in her place to find out information that the police never would and to tempt the killer out of hiding. At first Cassie thinks the idea is crazy, but she is seduced by the prospect of working on a murder investigation again and by the idea of assuming the victim’s identity as a graduate student with a cozy group of friends.
If you are looking for a happy ending, a lover’s conclusion or a pat and satisfying ending to a mystery then a Tana French novel is not for you. However, if you are interested in reading about human relationships that are so deep and well developed that it feels like you can touch them, see them or have experienced them then I recommend The Likeness (and Tana French’s first in this series In the Woods). Ms. French has a knack for painting friendships and human interactions in such a way that I literally want to crawl inside the book and be part of the interaction.
In The Likeness, the main character is Cassie Maddox. We first met Cassi as she was portrayed in the novel In the Woods. At the start of The Likeness, Cassie is recovering both emotionally and career wise from the results and the conclusions of a case that ended badly – -both perosnally and career wise. For those who have read In the Woods, Ms. French created a hauntingly tight bond between partners Rob and Cassie. During The Likeness, Cassie often thinks of Rob and longs for that closeness again. This longing for intimacy leaves Cassie vulnerable.
The focus of The Likeness is crazy and improbable, the murder is sort of easy to figure out – but that is not the point The Likeness and it does not lessen the impact of this book. Readers read Tana French for her rich characters and psychological thrilles. What is the point of this novel is Cassie’s relationship with the four main suspects and further, these supsects’ relationships with each other. What French has done, is taken an ideal of intimacy and friendship and multiplied it times 10. In truth, I hope at one point in everyone’s life they have experienced such a close bond that Ms. French describes between the the characters in this book (Rafe, Daniel, Justin, and Abby). To read this book is in part nostalgic, at least for me, it made me remember college roommates, living abroad and doing nothing else but focusing on my friendships.
It isn’t a secret and Ms. French doesn’t hide it. We can all see the train wreck coming, we know the end is there (Cassie knows the end is coming too) but the manner in which Ms. French expertly crafts the friendship and bonds of Rafe, Daniel, Justin and Abby made me (and Cassie) never want the end to happen. The beautiful thing about The Likeness ending is that readers still have Faithful Place and Broken Harbour by Tana French to read. But there is little good about a Tana French book ending; it just makes me said there isn’t another 200 or 300 pages.
I listened to the narration of this book and it was done beautifully by an Irish narrator, who seemed to my uneducated ears to be able to catch and portray the various accents realistically. I highly recommend this book.
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