Review: The Likeness

1914973Title: The Likeness
Author: Tana French
Genre: mystery, psychological thriller, adult fiction

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Goodreads summary:
Six months after the events of In the Woods, Detective Cassie Maddox is still trying to recover. She's transferred out of the murder squad and started a relationship with Detective Sam O'Neill, but she's too badly shaken to make a commitment to him or to her career. Then Sam calls her to the scene of his new case: a young woman found stabbed to death in a small town outside Dublin. The dead girl's ID says her name is Lexie Madison (the identity Cassie used years ago as an undercover detective, and she looks exactly like Cassie.
With no leads, no suspects, and no clue to Lexie's real identity, Cassie's old undercover boss, Frank Mackey, spots the opportunity of a lifetime. They can say that the stab wound wasn't fatal and send Cassie undercover in her place to find out information that the police never would and to tempt the killer out of hiding. At first Cassie thinks the idea is crazy, but she is seduced by the prospect of working on a murder investigation again and by the idea of assuming the victim's identity as a graduate student with a cozy group of friends.
As she is drawn into Lexie's world, Cassie realizes that the girl's secrets run deeper than anyone imagined. Her friends are becoming suspicious, Sam has discovered a generations-old feud involving the old house the students live in, and Frank is starting to suspect that Cassie's growing emotional involvement could put the whole investigation at risk. Another gripping psychological thriller featuring the headstrong protagonist we've come to love, from an author who has proven that she can deliver.

Tana French is officially a favorite author of mine. This book was incredibly well-written and so real.

There's something to be said for an author who can make you believe that she's talking about real people, not just characters. The psychology of an Undercover is explored so well. The central struggle is how Cassie gets caught up in a life that she always wanted but must remain true to her mission as an undercover. And it's not the usual "assassin/detective/what have you falls in love with target" trope either. I love the complexity of her thoughts and tangled emotions, and I could really understand her motivations for what she did. Lexie herself is another can of worms. She's dead at the start of the story, but she's definitely a major presence throughout the book. It's so scary and fascinating to piece together her life, personality, and motivations, which are often strikingly different from Cassie's. And as Cassie and Lexie begin to blend together, that's when you're really terrified.

Again, it's the characters and their complexities that make this novel so great. It's not really about finding out who killed Lexie, although that is technically the main plot. It's about how different people are broken in different ways, and the extent people will go to for the people they love. No one here is purely evil or even purely good. Jealousy abounds, as does rage, but so do love and friendship.

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  1. Michelle {Book Hangovers}August 21, 2014 at 9:59 AM

    I've been looking for a really great murder mystery. I really enjoy Gillian Flynn but I've already read all of her books. If you say this is 5 stars then I know I'll love it too! Definitely checking this one out!
    Thanks my dear! Big Hugs xoxo

  2. I love Tana French! I think this one is similar to Gone Girl in that it's mostly about normal people who are actually twisted and messed up inside. Let me know how you like it!


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