karen's Reviews > The Likeness

The Likeness by Tana French
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's review
Feb 14, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: it-is-for-class, books-claiming-to-be-like-secret-hi

okay, i enjoyed this tana french book much more than the first one. and against all odds; the premise of this book is so staggeringly unbelievable.check it out: so there's a murrrrrder, and the body is that of a young woman who looks just like detective cassie maddox! awesome! so why doesn't she just pretend to be the murdered girl, slip unnoticed into her life, and take it from there? because, dummy, her "life" is made up solely of a group of four other insular postgrad nerds who reside in a huge crumbling house together, and live only for each other without any boundary issues, and with the fiercely intense loyalty that's mostly only seen in the conjoined, and wouldn't they notice the difference?

but she's a really good undercover police detective, so...

i don't care, it works, it's fun. and it comes closer to secret history than most others claiming to be the same, but has the humility not to broadcast it on the jacket.

rewriting secret history has become a goal for suspense writers everywhere, and anytime anyone writes a book featuring intelligent young people who share secrets and there is a murder, the great donna tartt is invoked. and i remember really liking secret history, so i always read the impostors. this one, for all its necessary suspensions of disbelief, is not a bad comparison. in fact, this reminded me of the house at midnight, just in the characters' dynamics,and the house, of course, and that was one of the better "tartty" books i have read. there are huge logic gaps and "come on!" moments, but it is a quick read and she writes claustrophobic tension very well. i had some time to kill before work yesterday and was cold and poor, so i just took the 7 train alll the way out and then alll the way back to read this - it's completely engrossing, as long as you suppress your protests.

hiding out
just one of the guys
desperately seeking susan
soul man
weekend at bernie's

in the 80's these secret-identity movies were ubiquitous. they all involved the seemingly implausible plot of being able to fool others into believing you were a different age, gender, race, or that you were, you know, alive.

and if we could believe it in the 80's we can believe it now. because let's face it, dustin hoffman wasn't fooling anyone.

i always thought that tana french would be more psychologically complicated literary fiction than a genre-book. blame it on the trade paperback format or the awards or the refined cover art; as opposed to the more cartoony norm:

(do not click to look inside)

(almost forgot about this one - it may be my favorite. i wish it was bigger (like all girls) because mrs. jeffries hiding is pretty funny/creepy)

but it's a mystery novel, pure and simple; suspects "confess" in long speeches, every glance can be analyzed and stripped of its meaning, detectives pull out all the interrogation clichés and there's nothing wrong with that, because it is good old fashioned leisure reading. and that's the genius of its presentation, and what i have learned from the identity-movies of the 80's. if this book ever witnessed a crime, it could just be put into witness protection program with the other trade paperbacks in the general fiction/literature section, and be more or less undetectable.

unless i was on the case...
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 109) (109 new)

Eh?Eh! I love your note on G'Day to DIE (I know the DIE is not all caps but that's how I hear it in my head).

message 2: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Dona Tart, she's still trying to reproduce the same brilliance of The Secret History, which honestly, was too wordy, too long, and kinda ... duh.

I voted fer ya anyway Frenchy ;-)

Greg Horse Rape, Horse Rape, Horse Rape!!

Since we are sharing mystery covers, this is the one you should have read for class:

[image error]

Veterinarian Gail McCarthy has been working with horses for years and will in fact take over the practice when her boss retires.She has seen many different problems, but nothing could have prepared her for her newest call. Early on a Saturday morning, Gail receives a disturbing phone call from a local woman. The woman, Nicole believes that her mare has been sexually violated during the night and wants Gail to come take a look. Gail confirms Nicole's suspicions and urges her to call the police.Whoever would do this to a horse is clearly a dangerous person and shouldn't be at large, but Nicole refuses to take any action. However, the situation turns more dangerous.One night when Gail and her best friend Kris return from dinner, Kris finds her 15 year-old daughter knocked unconscious and their horse violated. Gail is determined to find answers before more lives are put at risk.It takes some ingenuity and the help of a friend on the police force to uncover the perpetrator, who may also be wanted for murder. In this sixth addition to the series, Veterinarian Gail McCarthy manages to solve the puzzle while battling personal problems and even learns more about herself in the process. Laura Crum, a horse lover and trainer for over twenty years, uses her knowledge of horses and her fine writing skills to create another memorable entry in this charming series set in the foothills of the beautiful Sierra Nevadas.

karen you found it!!! brilliant!

hahaahah we used to have this in the store and i refused to return it because it was the best premise for a mystery i ever heard...

we read a lot of it aloud around the info desk.
i kind of wish i owned this so i could read the whole thing.

Greg You can always buy it through Amazon, or at the local feed store in her town.

message 6: by karen (last edited Feb 14, 2010 03:33PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

karen One night when Gail and her best friend Kris return from dinner, Kris finds her 15 year-old daughter knocked unconscious and their horse violated.

happy valentine's day

message 7: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Oh PLEASE, no one would notice if a human "violated" a horse, unless there were dribbling, in which case it had just happened. Have you seen the dick on a stallion? I promise you, we do not compare at all.

message 8: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Happy valentine's day.

karen if i remember correctly, there was an overturned bucket?? and...um... DNA evidence?

i'm sure the horse didn't notice a thing. do you remember better, greg?? this is why i wish i had the book here - to quote the scene(s)

message 10: by Stephen (new)

Stephen I've seen mare pussy after a stallion has been at it, and boy can you tell it's been active. I fear the author has never seen a horse.

No, no, do not try to defend this travesty. I shall have to take it to the highest authority on Horse Sex in the world. Blood Horse Magazine.

message 11: by Dave (new)

Dave Russell Did I just see the phrase "mare pussy" pop up on my update feed?

Yep, there it is.

message 12: by Greg (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greg If I remember correctly was it a male horse, like the horse was sodomized? I think there was man juice left behind on the scene of the horse. I wish I remember more details too.

message 13: by Stephen (new)


This is just artificial

message 14: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Dave wrote: "Did I just see the phrase "mare pussy" pop up on my update feed?

Yep, there it is."

It was essential for the point. :-)

karen makes me want to vote for your comment, but i can't cuz it is on my review.

thank you stephen...

message 16: by Greg (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greg Is the man who liked to look at himself actually the dog? He seems to be looking at the dog. That is one 80's switch-eroo plot that wasn't used, a man who splits himself and lives half in a human body and half in a dog body, the other halves of the two bodies of course being filled with halves of the dog. Imagine the hijinks!!

karen i honestly don't know. that bookcover's visual narrative puzzles me.

i'm a little stunned that mfso has not jumped in here with visuals of horse rape etc...

is everyone out getting valentine's day booty? priorities, people! books, olympics, horse rape, and then booty...

message 18: by Stephen (new)

Stephen I too am concerned about MFSO. Has he abandoned the life of the mind for the depth of sex? I hope so, he's cute enough.

Frenchy? Where is your valentine date? Or do you scare most men to death? I'm gay, but I would at least take you to dinner.

karen it is also sean's birthday, so he was out with his moms.
today i am making a lava cake with raspberry coulis.

message 20: by karen (last edited Feb 15, 2010 06:33AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars


i forgot about this union square mystery favorite, and i didn't want to float the review lest the powers that be wag their fingers at me. but this one is almost as good as breakaway.

message 21: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Horrible cover, congratulations.

karen The MENSES MURDERS, A Sammi Mitchel Mystery. Beautiful TV Star Sammi Mitchel is host of The Jewish MAVEN COOKING TV Show when her Producer is seduced by a vampiric Sex Therapist, a female serial killer who has an insatiable need for her victim's blood--and always to the very last drop. Will Sammi discover that appearances can be deadly in time to save him? Not since Mary Shelley's Frankenstein has the mystery horror genre been so well captured by a woman writer and with such humor and suspense. Cover Art by Master Artist Hyacinthe Kuller Baron.

i was foolish to have omitted the plot summary.

message 23: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Indeed, foolish. And, oh, what tripe!

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio Sex.

karen i see a pattern in mfso's comments today. is this post-valentine's day bragging?

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio I wish! No, just making a comment on the comments. It's all pretty deep. TWSS.

message 27: by Joshua Nomen-Mutatio (last edited Feb 15, 2010 08:38AM) (new)

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio What's funny is that I didn't see any of the comments about me and sex when I typed that. I was just trying to be funny and blunt, etc.

And thanks for thinking of me and horse rape in the same thought. I feel the warm glowing glow of your acceptance of Who I Am. Bask. Horse sex.

message 29: by Stephen (new)

Stephen "I'm going to tie you to a radiator and grape you." L O L

MFSO, only you. Only you.

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio "He's the grapist!" That commercial is what all Valentine's Day lovers should aspire to, romantically speaking.

message 31: by Stephen (new)

Stephen I think you are right. Question: do we have to buy the grape costume?

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio Ideally, yes. But we can also imagineer it. One is clearly already in fantasy mode by the point that they decide that they want to play sex-games involving something called The Grapist, so it's an easy transition, I'd say.

karen when it rains, it pours...

message 34: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Okay, who shall Grape whom? Or shall we take turns, and then go for all of goodreads?

message 35: by Joshua Nomen-Mutatio (last edited Feb 15, 2010 09:08AM) (new)

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio karen wrote: "when it rains, it pours..."

Happy (belated) Valentine's Day, darling.

message 36: by Stephen (new)

Stephen I see, Karen is the Grapist.

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio I'm just waiting for her to come home from work and unhook me from this radiator. And then the grapening will commence. Hopefully. Fingers crossed.

[image error]

message 39: by Joshua Nomen-Mutatio (last edited Feb 15, 2010 09:26AM) (new)

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio This is the best belated, internet-based Valentine's Day ever.

GoogleImage search of "grapist" has been fruitful. Yes, fruitful.

[image error]


[image error]

if you take his grape, he will come after you, rarrr...

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio Good lord, woman, you're in serious danger of puttin' me into a cuteness coma. Thanks.

[image error]

shhh, don't worry, i won't let them pull the plug...


or will i?

message 44: by Joshua Nomen-Mutatio (last edited Feb 15, 2010 09:56AM) (new)

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio That's what I love about you: I never know whether or not you'll kill me. Keeps me on my toes. Plus, I'm a masochistic weirdo that needs to be beaten in order to feel loved. Did I just say that? Freudian breakthrough!

message 45: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Karen, you heartless grapist. How can you toy with the boy's emotions so? Beat him! But! only if you take pictures.

karen speaking of freud - it's my dad's birthday - i shall go call him!

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio karen wrote: "speaking of freud - it's my dad's birthday - i shall go call him!"


message 48: by Stephen (new)

Stephen It's okay, I'm not here.

[image error]

message 50: by Joshua Nomen-Mutatio (last edited Feb 15, 2010 10:24AM) (new)

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio Parenting is so gross.

So you and your Pa must be regulars at these things, too.

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