Book Review: The Likeness

The Likeness

Tana French

Penguin

512 pages

Detective Cassie Maddox is back!  She is working on the Domestic Violence squad after we last saw her on In the Woods but she isn’t living up to her full potential there.  This all changes when a young woman shows up dead.  Cassie is called to the scene and is disturbed to find that not only does the dead woman look exactly like her, but she is using Cassie’s alias of Lexie Madison from Cassie’s stint as an undercover drug agent.  Cassie’s former boss from when she worked undercover comes up with a scheme to have Cassie go and live Lexie’s life in order to try and discover who the killer(s) is. 

Cassie, now moonlighting as Lexie, is thrown into Lexie’s old life.  Lexie lives with four eccentric friends in an old home that is the inheritence of one friend, Daniel.  The five friends see one another as family and have a “no past” rule, where the are precluded from talking about anything that happened before they met one another.  Cassie immediately begins to form a connection with Lexie’s friends and, as time goes on, she comes to appreciate Lexie’s lifesyle and is so drawn to it she almost gives up her investigation in order to live her new life.

Let me start by saying that this book draws many parallels to Donna Tartt’s A Secret History, one of the best books I have ever read.  If you have not read it, you need to. 

The Likeness was a wonderful read.  French’s books tend to be lengthy, which can be off putting, but it has always been worth it.  Neither of her books even felt long because they are so engrossing.  My book club chose this book for our June meeting on my suggestion, and I worried a bit that none of them had ever read the first book.  Some of the members chose to read In the Woods first, while other just went with The Likeness.  The consensus was that it really didn’t matter which order you read them in, so that was interesting (and made me breath a sigh of relief that I hadn’t totally messed things up by siggesting this book when no one had read the first!).

Another fear I had was that, being a mystery, The Likeness wouldn’t lead to a good discussion. I would surmise that most mysteries would not lend themselves well to discussion, but, in this case I was dead wrong.  I would say that our discussion on this book may have very well been the livliest discussion we have ever had.  Two members of our group had not finished the book when we all convened, so we forced them to sit there and at least read through the climax because we were all anxious to discuss it!

The ending, obviously, caused a great debate.  What really happened, under what circumstances.  I also had a hard time swallowing the fact that Lexie’s friends were led to believe that she was still alive when she had, in fact, died.  Morally, I didn’t agree with the deception.  I can see why it made sense in order to discover the culprit.  Does the end justify the means?  I don’t think so in the case, but obviously it made for a great storyline.

I am anxious to get my hands on French’s new book to see how Cassie evolves and what new caper she is a part of.  No one does literary mysteries better than French, and if you haven’t read her books, I urge you to do so.

Other Reviews:

Book Addiction

Ms Bookish

Steph & Tony Investigate!

books i done read

I borrowed this book from my local library.

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9 Responses

  1. I haven’t read any of her stuff yet, which is a great tragedy in itself. Really must make it right soon. I think I feel an e-book purchase coming on!

  2. I loved this one too. I think French really does a great job with the psychological aspects and not just finding out the whodunit. I’ve heard the new book is great so I can’t wait to read it. I don’t think it features Cassie much but I hope there’s at least some of her in the book.

  3. I loved this book so much, even more than In the Woods. I’m SO looking forward to French’s next book! It’s one I might even buy (I don’t buy very many books). 🙂 Excellent review.

  4. I liked this one much, much more than In the Woods, as well. In the Woods frustrated me.

    Nicole at Linus’s Blanket has a review up for the new book. Doesn’t sound like there’s much Cassie in it, though. 😦

  5. I finished in in mid June and got around posting a review today.

    I Liked it.

    And I have linked your review with mine:

    The Likeness by Tana French

  6. I haven’t read any of her books; but your review along with two others (on different book) have really made a strong case for her. 🙂

  7. I really like the covers of these but I’m just not sure I’d actually be interested in the books.

  8. […] The Literate Housewife Review, Ms Bookish, NYC Book Girl, Piling on the Books, Reading Matters, Reviewsbylola’s Blog, Rhapsody in Books Weblog, Vulpes Libris, A Work in Progress Have you reviewed this book? Leave a […]

  9. […] Reviewed By: The Book Wisperer – Literate Housewife – Reviews by Lola Day is a dreamer who has never met a stranger. She is fearless and will talk to anyone and read […]

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