- Hardcover: 466 pages
- Publisher: Viking Adult (July 17, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0670018864
- ISBN-13: 978-0670018864
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,189 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Likeness: A Novel Hardcover – July 17, 2008
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An Amazon Book with Buzz: "The Other Woman"
The most twisty, addictive and gripping debut thriller you'll read this year. Learn more
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*Starred Review* French’s debut novel, In the Woods (2007), introduced Dublin Murder Squad detective Cassie Maddox and earned unanimous critical praise. Cassie is back, and French has written another winner. The body of a young woman is found in the ruins of a old stone cottage in a dying village outside of Dublin, and the dead woman and Cassie are virtual twins. Lacking suspects or leads, the victim is reported by the police to be injured but alive, leaving Cassie to step into the dead woman’s life as a Trinity College graduate student and the housemate of four other students. Despite the tensions of being undercover, Cassie quickly learns to love her quirky, insular housemates and her new life in a once-grand house, even as the Murder Squad investigation yields little. Someone stabbed her doppelganger to death, and Cassie must find the killer. The Likeness has everything: memorable characters, crisp dialogue, shrewd psychological insight, mounting tension, a palpable sense of place, and wonderfully evocative, painterly prose. In the Woods was an Edgar Award finalist; this one just might go one step further. --Thomas Gaughan
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My first problem with the book was that its premise is just so unbelievable. It strays from the thriller concept straight into the fantastical world of science fiction.
But as I got further and further into the plot, that ceased to bother me. The characters were so interesting that they moved the story along and built suspense until it finally reached the breaking point.
That unbelievable premise, briefly, is this: Cassie Maddox, one of the detectives on the Dublin Murder Squad that we met in Into the Woods, has now moved on to Domestic Violence after the debacle of the Woods case. Her beloved but now estranged partner, Rob Ryan, was moved into a desk job.
Even before she worked on the Murder Squad, Cassie had worked in the Undercover division. While there, she and her boss has created a persona for her called Alexandra (Lexie) Madison and she had worked undercover using that name.
Now, Cassie is called to the scene of a murder in the countryside outside of Dublin where she finds Detective Sam O'Neill, another of her former colleagues on the Murder Squad and now her lover, and Frank Mackey from Undercover, the person who created Lexie Madison all those years ago.
When Cassie is shown the dead body, she is shocked to see a woman who looks very much like her. The murder victim's name, according to her ID, is Alexandra (Lexie) Madison.
It develops that this Lexie Madison was a Ph.D. candidate at the local university and she lived in a house in the countryside, near where she died, with four other Ph.D. candidates. She had lived with them for four years and they were all close friends, functioning very much as a family.
Now Lexie is dead and the police have no clues as to the identity of her murderer.
But Cassie looks SO much like Lexie that Frank Mackey, the undercover guy who has a streak of sadism, says why don't we keep her death a secret - just say she was injured - and then put Cassie in her place to play Lexie once again and flush out the murderer?
And Cassie agrees to this!
And all the four friends back at the big house, the friends who have known her for four years and know all of her quirks and habits accept her! They believe she is Lexie!
Can you see why a reader might have a problem with this?
This is a very strange and self-contained group of people who live in a very strange house and provide all of each other's needs for love and friendship and family. The group is not liked or accepted by their neighbors in the village. In fact, they are actively hated and are the victims of vandalism, graffiti, and intimidation. It's very much an us-against-them situation.
Their group provides a feeling of belonging for these outsiders and outcasts. Even Cassie/Lexie finds herself seduced by the warmth of the group. There's nothing that really transcends that feeling, and as the story progresses, we see that that is what it is really about: Paradise found and, eventually, paradise lost.
Tana French builds her story and the tension slowly and, up until late in the book, I was still very much in a quandary as to who killed Lexie. And, maybe even more importantly, who was Lexie?
In the end, all - well, most anyway - is revealed and we are left wondering what Tana French is going to titillate us with next.
After a violent incident on a case, Cassie Maddox gives up working undercover for a desk job in the domestic violence unit. She gets pulled into a murder investigation where the victim had used one of her old undercover identities, Lexie Madison. To find the killer, Cassie agrees to impersonate the identity thief, who bears an uncanny resemblance to her. If stepping into the shoes of her doppelganger weren’t challenging enough, Cassie develops a close relationship with the enigmatic suspects, putting her future as a detective and her relationship with one of the lead investigators at risk.
THE LIKENESS unfolds slowly giving the reader time to get to know all of the key players. A quarter of the book passes before Cassie assumes the role of Lexie. French wraps up the loose ends and sets up Lexie’s boss, Frank, as the protagonist for the third book in the series. Like a fine wine, this murder mystery is to be savored.
Most recent customer reviews
About mid way through the story, though, I just wanted the crime to wrap up and tell the murderer and the motive behind it...