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The Likeness Paperback – May 26, 2009
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“[Tana French] aces her second novel. The Likeness [is a] nearly pitch-perfect follow-up to her 2007 debut thriller, In the Woods.”
“Tana French puts a clever twist on every lonely child’s fantasy of leading a parallel life when she creates an alternate identity for her detective in THE LIKENESS... Cassie is a character — the eternal lost child — you can really care about.”
--New York Times Book Review
“The writing is glorious, and the characters and drama so compelling”
--The Boston Globe*
“Savor French’s turns of phrase and simmering suspense until the prospect of finishing shuts all distractions out.”
--The Baltimore Sun
“The verve of her writing illuminates the uncanny experience of stepping into someone else’s life. [The Likeness is] a sophisticated thriller.”
--The Dallas Morning News
Praise for Tana French
“When you read Ms. French — and she has become required reading for anyone who appreciates tough, unflinching intelligence and ingenious plotting — make only one assumption: All of your initial assumptions are wrong”
—The New York Times
"Tana French is the most interesting, most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years."
—The Washington Post
"[Tana French] inspires cultic devotion in readers…most crime fiction is diverting; French's is consuming."
—The New Yorker
“To say Tana French is one of the great thriller writers is really too limiting. Rather she’s simply this: a truly great writer.”
“French is a poet of mood and a master builder of plots.”
—The Washington Post
“One of the most distinct and exciting new voices in crime writing.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“French does something fresh with every novel, each one as powerful as the last but in a very different manner. Perhaps she has superpowers of her own? Whatever the source of her gift, it’s only growing more miraculous with every book.”
Top customer reviews
Working in the Undercover Unit years before, Cassie established the fake identity of Lexie Madison. She worked under the supervision of Detective Frank Mackey (I really like Mackey) and stayed in the undercover position until she was stabbed. She recovered and moved to the Murder Squad (Book 1 – Into the Woods) retiring the identity of Lexie Madison.
Fast forward years later……Cassie gets a call from her old boss Frank Mackey asking her to come to a field and make sure she isn’t seen. He won’t tell her what it’s about. Once she arrives she’s hustled into the abandoned famine cottage where Mackey and O’Neill show her the body of a young woman. The woman is the spitting image of Cassie and lo and behold, her identity is Lexie Madison. Frank sees a great chance to have Cassie assume that identity again and use her as bait to get the murderer. But first of all – Frank has to convince Cassie to go undercover again. She isn’t champing at the bit to do this but eventually she acquiesces.
Frank plans to tell the man who discovered the body that he actually saved the young woman’s life, that she was in a coma and only appeared dead. They plan to tell her five housemates the same thing and not allow them to visit while she’s in a coma. This gives Frank and Cassie a chance to study up on the deceased woman so Cassie can seamlessly slip into her life. Frank has gathered the housemates phones and there are videos of the six interacting with one another. They can watch “Lexie” laugh, how she walks, the cadence of her speech and see if she is affectionate or standoffish with any of the room mates. You are left to wonder who the murdered young woman was and how she came about getting the false identity of Lexie Madison. Will Cassie fit in with the tight little group of roommates? Will the murderer find her before she figures out who he or she is?
So far I have read three of her books and this was my least favorite. Doesn’t mean it isn’t a good story, it just wasn’t my fav of the three. What I like is how French introduces us to Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox in the first book and then focuses on Cassie, Sam and Cassie’s old boss from her undercover job, Frank Mackey, in this book. Book three then focuses on getting to know Frank Mackey (this was my favorite).
I love the police procedural writings of Tana French and look forward to all of the books upcoming.
Since Steak Diane was served to “Lexie” on her first night back, I knew I had to make it.
It wasn’t complicated but it has some rich ingredients so….it won’t be on the regular rotation. It was tasty and I am glad I finally tried it. Full recipe is at Squirrel Head Manor.
I enjoyed The Likeness even more than In the Woods! I found Cassie to be a more engaging narrator, and I was quickly swept away in the mystery of this historical house and a group of 5 collegiate friends, one of whom ends up dead.
Besides the phenomenal writing, the best part about French's stories is that anything can happen--twist endings, justice may or may not be handed out, or even some semblance of a happily ever after.
I still have some questions about whodunit, given that I could argue someone different who really killed Lexie, but those questions, and the fact that I'm still mulling over the ending, is part of what makes this mystery so fresh and unique.
I highly recommend for anyone looking for a gritty new mystery series that will keep them guessing until the very end. I'll definitely be reading the next book in the Dublin Murder Squad Series!