- Paperback: 466 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (May 26, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143115626
- ISBN-13: 978-0143115625
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,209 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Likeness Paperback – May 26, 2009
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“[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.”
About the Author
Tana French is also the author of In the Woods, The Likeness, Faithful Place, Broken Harbor, The Secret Place, and The Trespasser. Her books have won awards including the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, and Barry awards, the Los Angeles Times Award for Best Mystery/Thriller, and the Irish Book Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Dublin with her family.
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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.
_The Likeness_ was, in a word, tremendous. The story begins with the discovery of a body. (Typical mystery fare, that.) What makes this murder unique - and what sets the story in motion, is that the corpse issuing the alias a former undercover cop (and former member of the Dublin Murder Squad member) used on a long-concluded investigation. The name was entirely made up. What is even more unsettling, is body itself is identical to the undercover cop herself. Hence the title. In order to solve the murder, the former undercover, Casssandra Maddox, goes undercover again - as the dead woman.
While the story was a bit slow to start as French laid the foundation of the story, it gradually builds a head of steam as Cassandra slips into the life she originally created (and which was usurped by the unknown victim), literally working the investigation from the inside-out. The details of Cassandra's double (triple?) life were riveting, the suspects, motives and interactions between characters enthralling. French is a very talented writer. And while I congratulated myself on discovering the meaning of some of the clues, French still managed to trick me with the meaning behind the clues. I really enjoy it when an author outsmarts me, and French has done so twice. I can't wait to read her next work. For fans of mysteries or thrillers, this writer and this series will not disappoint.
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.