Book Review: The Likeness by Tana French

The LikenessTitle: The Likeness
Author: Tana French
Published: 2008
Publisher: Viking Penguin
Pages: 512
From: Barnes and Noble

One of my favorite mysteries is In the Woods by Tana French, so I bought her second novel, The Likeness. I wanted to like the second one as much as the first, since she had some experience under her belt.

I liked it, but not nearly as much.

The Likeness, published in 2008, one year after her debut novel, follows Cassie Maddox, a cop in Dublin, Ireland. The book takes place six months after the first appearance of Cassie, when she and her partner Rob are in Murder, and the case they’re working turns personal in more ways than one. Cassie works in Domestic Violence now, but when a woman that is Cassie’s doppelganger shows up murdered, her old boss from Undercover, Frank, convinces her to go under as Lexie. She gets into Lexie’s mind, into her life with four friends that live in one house together.

French was able to capture how the mind works in this novel as much as she did in her first. I loved that it gets personal in this, how Cassie feels and wants to fit in with the group of friends that aren’t hers.

I didn’t quite jive with Cassie’s inner thoughts as much, however. For some reason, I always felt they were a little contrived, but it’s not a surprise since sometimes novels like this take a lot out of you.

What I absolutely loved, though, that canceled out anything I found that I didn’t like, was that Cassie always thinks about Rob and what happened between them, or with him and the case they worked together. I read the first novel, and got a little sad because it didn’t work out like I wanted it to. I’m probably giving too much away, but I figure if you want to read this novel, you should read In the Woods first. I loved how Cassie and Rob jived, and I hated that they went their separate ways. But, French was able to capture that sadness immensely. She figured out how Cassie would have felt about the fallout, and transcribed it perfectly. I loved it, even if it did tug at my heart a bit.

While this wasn’t her best, it was definitely one of the most interesting mysteries I’ve ever read. But that’s how it works: mysteries are supposed to be interesting, they’re supposed to intrigue. They are, but sometimes, there are those that get you more than others. This one got me more than others I’ve read. I’m excited to see what else French has in store.

Tana French’s five novels can be purchased at Barnes and Noble, in-store or online, or at Her most recent novel is The Secret Place.

Chapter of Dreams wrote a review of French’s second novel. Find it here.

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