Skip to content

The Likeness ~ Tana French

January 10, 2011

Genre: Adult Fiction/Suspense
Publisher: Penguin
512 pages
ISBN: 9780143115625
Source: Bookstore

We have all had hangovers but there is nothing like the headache handed out the morning after you botch a major case. Most people would have moved out of the country after the embarrassing mess that was Cassie and Rob’s case, last year. Cassie, though, simply transferred divisions and kept the Murder squad out of sight and out of mind.

At least she tried to.

Nightmares, as well as simply longing for her ex-partner and former division, poke excruciating holes in the once strong, sassy sleuth’s emotional armor.

She toughs it out, though, working her way through the more routine, albeit “useful” world of Domestic Violence.  Her wall holds up until the day her boyfriend (who still happens to be on Murder) rings, frantically, fearing that she has met her end.

Why on earth would he think that when she’s been at work, all day?

Well, it turns out that, the authorities have found a body in a tiny cabin out in Glenskehy. The concern from the squad is not one based on her Murder experience but her face.  See, this body happens to look one hundred and ten percent like our leading lady.

The coincidence gets weirder when the body is examined. The victim’s wallet contains an i.d. card that Cassie used, several years ago, under the name Lexie Madison, while working as an undercover, in the area.Of course, back then, she was simply a fictitious character, created by the detectives working the case.

It takes a certain madness to rule in the world of Undercover and that madness has a name: Frank Mackey, Cassie’s former Undercover chief. Frank has teamed up with Murder, on the case and has one heck of an idea. As impossible as it might seem to pull off, Frank seduces Cassie back into the addictive world of Undercover to, once again, play Lexie (claiming to her friends and family that the stab wound was not fatal), this time, working her into a strange life in progress, rather than making it up as she goes along.

To make a pretty inconceivable plan take flight, she’ll also have to make it past the former guardians of Lexie’s past life, her housemates and fellow PhD students, who know Lexie, literally, inside and out. Though the risks may be high and the probability of success low, Cassie is no rookie. She jumps in right where Lexie left off with no serious hang ups.

Undercover is a sneaky lady, though. As Cassie works her way into the intricate, intense world of the cluster living at the house, she finds a hauntingly familiar synchronicity among the friends that smacks of her defunct partnership with Rob. As this once lost, now somewhat relocated, feeling of belonging and comfort creeps in around her, things heat up and lines begin to blur, leaving Cassie dangerously close to losing perspective.

It seems that the risk of this case is not in getting in but, rather, in getting out.

When I finished In the Woods, a year ago, I simply had to have this book. I adored French’s first book and needed to get my hands on something else like it.

I couldn’t do it.

I started The Likeness, last January, but put it down because I needed time to get over the trauma at the end of its predecessor. A year later, I found it much easier to dive in. Although, I found it comforting to see that Cassie was as distraught as I was that the second story didn’t involve Rob.

The cast and case are both vastly different in each book but the themes of companionship, identity, loyalty and complex decisions weave two similarly fantastic pieces. I can’t say that I like one better than the other but I can, this time, confidently swing to French’s third book, Faithful Place, understanding that it will still wrap around me and pull my whole imagination into an amazing story.


12 Comments leave one →
  1. January 10, 2011 11:37 pm

    I just finished this one … and I too loved “In the Woods’ and mistakenly thought all her books featured Rob and Cassie. Once I got over the trauma of losing Rob, I fell in love with this book all on its own. Her writing is to dense and involving … I got so caught up in the story just like I did with “In The Woods.” From what I can tell, Faithful Place focuses on Frank, who we met in The Likeness. It is an interesting approach that Tana French takes to her books … I’m kind of digging it. She’s unique.

  2. January 11, 2011 11:24 am

    That’s so funny. I took In the Woods with me on a plane trip in which I had a stopover in Chicago. I had finished on the first leg, and so HAD to buy The Likeness in the airport for the second leg, even though I had another book with me!

  3. January 11, 2011 12:51 pm

    I have this series on my TBR shelf and have heard nothing but amazing things about it. I want to try to get started with In the Woods very soon, and after reading your review of this one, I know I am going to have to brace myself for something shocking! Wonderful review on this book. I can’t wait to finish the series and come back to read it again, to see how similar our thoughts on it are!

  4. January 11, 2011 11:01 pm

    I loved The Likeness. I was devastated by the end of In The Woods.I’m already awaiting the next book. I wasn’t a huge fan of Faithful Place, but I think it was mostly b/c I didn’t really care about or for Frank.

    • January 16, 2011 6:54 pm

      You know, it’s funny, I hated Frank in Likeness but I’m sort of connecting with him in Faithful Place. Does she have another one in the works? Oh please say yes! :O)

      • January 16, 2011 11:06 pm

        I wonder. I thought Faithful Place showed up pretty quickly. All of her books have come out since I have been blogging and that’s only been 2 and 1/2 years, so maybe.

  5. January 12, 2011 3:18 am

    I just finished In the Woods, after having read The Likeness a couple years ago! Now I’m kind of curious to reread this one, knowing more about Cassie’s background. But the coincidences just didn’t work for me the first time around, so I don’t know. At least it doesn’t have Rob in it; this might make French fans kill me, but I couldn’t stand him. lol

    • January 16, 2011 6:53 pm

      Haha I won’t kill you; different strokes for different folks. :O) I remember LOVING Rob but I’m on to Faithful Place and couldn’t be bothered now that I have Frank Mackey. I think French just does her characters well. I think my main crush is on her, rather than Frank, Rob or Cassie…

  6. January 13, 2011 10:14 pm

    Are the books actually related as in sequel/prequel, or just kind of set with the same characters somewhere? I got my sister In the Woods to read and I *think* she enjoyed it, but she hasn’t jumped out to get The Likeness, so I assume she didn’t love it as much as I expected she would. Oh, well- I’ll be sure to get my hands on it to read soon! I love the covers of these, too 🙂

    • January 16, 2011 6:52 pm

      They’re different. It’s not a series but, more like you’re following French and Ireland and the little ins and outs of psychology through crime. Hard to explain but I’d give it a go. And you don’t HAVE to read them in order but I think it helps a bit.

  7. Marg permalink
    January 16, 2011 6:16 pm

    I thought it was very clever the way that Rob was a presence in The Likeness without actually being present. I have had Faithful Place here to read for a while. I need to get to it.

    • January 16, 2011 6:51 pm

      It certainly helped my heartache a lot and it helped me get into Cassie more than if they’d just ignored the whole business.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: