Tana French – The Likeness
Read my review of book:
1. In the Woods
Length: 468 pages
Started: 14 March 2011
Finished: 19 March 2011
Where did it come from? Bookmooch.
Why do I have it? In the Woods blew me away, and I knew I wanted to read the rest of French’s books.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 31 October 2009.
A murder victim
who looks just like a cop. A
dead ringer, get it?
Summary: After the events of In the Woods, Detective Cassie Maddox has transferred off of Murder Squad and into Domestic Violence. But it’s never that easy to leave the past behind. One evening she gets a frantic call from her boyfriend, who is still on Murder, asking her to come down to a crime scene. It’s a breach of typical protocol, but as soon as she gets to the scene, she understands why: the victim is a dead ringer for Cassie herself, and what’s more, all of her ID cards list her as Lexie Madison. The only problem is, Lexie Madison doesn’t exist; she’s a cover identity made up by Cassie’s boss back when Cassie used to work in Undercover. Now, in order to solve the murder, Cassie must go undercover again, this time posing as the dead girl. But not only does this put her in danger from Lexie’s murderer, it also puts her in danger of losing herself – her real self – in Lexie’s life.
Review: Fan-freaking-tastic. That’s the sum total of my response to this book. It was marvelous, wonderful, and all sorts of other superlatives. I can’t think of a single negative thing to say about it, not a single thing I would have changed; it’s getting one of my rare five-star ratings. It was that good.
I loved it so much that I’m having a hard time writing this review. I can’t even put my finger on what, exactly, I loved about it. On the surface, I might have expected to have some issues with it – in particular, with the set up of a group of pretentious, eccentric, clique-ish students that are dealing with the death of one of their own – a definite throwback to Special Topics in Calamity Physics and The Secret History, neither of which I particularly liked. But that structure didn’t bother me here – quite the opposite, in fact. Where I found the friends in those other books to be obnoxious and in need of a good kick down a flight of stairs, in The Likeness, I found Lexie’s friends and life very appealing, and, like Cassie, I found myself wishing I could slip into that life for good. Cassie in general was very relatable throughout the story; we’re about the same age, and she’s sympathetic enough that her problems became my problems, to a heartwrenching degree.
The Likeness didn’t have quite the same lyrical quality to the language as In the Woods – it was still incredibly well-written, but I didn’t find myself wanting to copy down quotes from every page. However, as a mystery it had the same wonderful pacing of clues and action, the same fine balance between character and plot development, and the same sustained degree of tension throughout. I thought the ending was perfect – fewer unanswered questions than In the Woods, but enough ambiguity to leave you thinking about it. It was emotionally charged as well – once again, I finished the book feeling wrung out; I was that heavily invested in Cassie’s (and Lexie’s) story. Just brilliant, all around. 5 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: Yes, absolutely! Even if you’re not big into mysteries (I’m not, either), this book is simply stunning, and superbly done. It could be read separately from In the Woods – there are a fair number of references made to the events of that book, but they’re summarized well enough, and much more to do with Cassie’s state of mind; the plot of the mystery stands completely on its own.
Other Reviews: A Book a Week, Book Addiction, The Book Whisperer, Care’s Online Book Club, Chasing Bawa, A Guy’s Moleskine Notebook, Life With Books, 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
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First Line: Some nights, if I’m sleeping on my own, I still dream about Whitethorn House.
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