The Likeness by Tana French

Alexandra Madison’s death pulls Detective Cassie Maddox out of domestic violence and back into Dublin’s murder squad. The young women seemingly has no connection to Cassie other than the fact that she could pass as Cassie’s double and carries ID identifying herself with an alias Cassie once used on an undercover job. Determined to catch whoever killed Alexandra, known as Lexie to her friends, Cassie assumes an identity she thought she had laid to rest years ago, moving into Lexie’s house and inserting herself into Lexie’s life.

French’s books, particularly In the Woods, made its way around the blogosphere for much of the past year. It was hard to avoid any mention of her books, harder still to avoid all the gushing reviews about her books. I had planned to pick up In the Woods but found this novel at a library used book sale and picked it up instead.

The novel requires one to suspend disbelief in a major way. The reader must be willing to accept the idea that Cassie could move into Lexie’s life without her flatmates noticing. I’m not particularly close with my own flatmates but I would like to think that I’d notice changes in their appearance (however slight) and behavior. It was difficult for me to accept this and I was originally put off by this idea.

However, my own curiosity as to who killed Lexie eventually compelled me to finish reading the book and solve the mystery. The killer is entirely too obvious considering the length of the novel, but the concentration is less on the murder and more on the characters. It is Cassie’s interactions with the ghost/spirit/essence of Lexie that drives the former to solve the crime and the reader to keep reading. I still couldn’t be fooled into believing this could actually ever happen and I didn’t love the novel. Yet I did see enough good things that I might still pick up another French novel should one come across my path.

Book Mentioned:

  • French, Tana. The Likeness. New York: Penguin, 2009. Originally published 2008. Print. 466 pgs. ISBN: 9780143115625. Source: Purchased.
Book Cover © Columbia University Press. Retrieved: February 25, 2012.
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