Joyce Lagow's Reviews > The Likeness

The Likeness by Tana French
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Apr 20, 2010

it was amazing

The Likeness[return]Tana French[return][return]In French s debut novel, In the Woods, she introduces the character of Detective Cassie Maddox, who started out in the Dublin police force as an undercover agent, then moved to the Murder Squad. Her involvement in Operation Vestal Virgin cause a permanent estrangement from her partner Rob Ryan, and scarred Cassie herself who, by the end of that book, transferred out of Murder and into Domestic Violence.[return][return]The Likeness is Cassie s story; she is the narrator. It is through her eyes and shfting perceptions that we see the unfolding undercover investigation into the murder of a young woman who is Cassie s exact double--and who has been using Cassie s completely fake undercover name, Alexandra Madison from her time in Undercover six years previously. Alexandra, or Lexie, had been a post-graduate student at Trinity College in Dublin and lived with four misfits in an odd situation in an old Georgian manor recently inherited by one of the group. However, no one knows outside of a few police officers that Lexie is really dead. Frank, her old boss in Undercover, persuades Cassie to impersonate Lexie in order to infiltrate the group to get a lead on the murderer. To do so effectively, Cassie must assume Lexie s persona completely--how she walks, how she holds a cigarette, how she laughs--as well as absorb enough information to slide into the group. In other words, she has to become Lexie while remaining Cassie Maddox with a face that goes with both women.[return][return]French has written a superb police procedural cum psychological thriller, with enough subtle twists to satisfy any reader. We see everything through Cassie s eyes, and we watch her struggle against becoming completely subsumed by Lexie s personality; in fact, the greater struggle is whether to fight it at all.[return][return]The story is powerful, absorbing, a real page-turner. French s writing is perfect; she sets moods and reveals psychological states, follows the action and delivers dialogue in the same, elegant, off-beat manner in which she wrote In The Woods only with a more economy of words--the plot never falters. Cassie is a more complex character than Rob Ryan, and French spends more time with her than she did with Rob. The result is, in my opinion, better than In The Woods--tauter,more subtly complex, with far more richly developed characters. [return][return]A gem of a book, not to be missed. Highly recommended.
1 like · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Likeness.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.