Monday, November 10, 2008

Book Review: The Likeness by Tana French

Some months after the events of In the Woods (read my review here), Detective Cassie Maddox has transferred off the murder squad with no intention of ever going back. But then fellow detective and boyfriend Sam calls her to a crime scene and Cassie comes face to face with the corpse of her double, who has been living under an alias (Lexie Madison) that Cassie created years before when she was working undercover. With no leads in the case, Cassie’s former undercover boss Frank convinces her to help try to solve it from the inside – by posing as Lexie and moving in with her tightly knit housemates.

I loved this book just about as much as Trish at Hey Lady Whatcha Readin' did (she gave it 100/100 – her highest rating ever) - it’s just amazing. Cassie was one of my favorite aspects of In the Woods so I was thrilled to get a whole book from her perspective. She’s had some psychology training and she’s somewhat of a natural criminal profiler so her insights are always sharp and fascinating. And it’s a good thing too – Lexie’s circle is very enigmatic, from their insistence on not talking about their pasts to their complete trust in ringleader and house inheritor Daniel.

It's a murder mystery, yes, but it's also so much more: Author Tana French looks at class divisions and how history still effects the present, asks what "real life" really is, and explores the slippery nature of identity.

The scenes are so well written that they take on that rare cinematic quality where you almost feel like you are living the book. Here’s an example, when after poring over the details of Lexie’s life, Cassie finally goes in:

“It took my breath away, that evening. If you’ve ever dreamed that you walked into your best-loved book or film or TV program, then maybe you’ve got some idea how it felt: things coming alive around you, strange and new and utterly familiar at the same time; the catch in your heartbeat as you move through the rooms that had such a vivid untouchable life in your mind, as your feet actually touch the carpet, as you breathe the air; the odd, secret glow of warmth as these people you’ve been watching for so long, from so far away, open their circle and sweep you into it.”

I was swept into this novel and I hope you will be too.

14 comments:

Dar said...

Both of these books are on my tbr list. Glad you liked it so much-great review.

Amanda said...

It looks great. I'm always up for a good mystery!
Awesome Review!

Serena said...

Wow, this is getting rave reviews. Wonderful review and I will have to join the crowd and add this to the tbr list.

Lenore said...

dar - they are both wonderful!

amanda and serena - you should both read it :)

Oh and I heard Tana French's next book will be about Frank, Cassie's boss. So I am hoping Cassie will appear again.

S. Krishna said...

I loved this book as well!

mari said...

I want to read both books!

bermudaonion said...

Well, with 2 recommendations like that, this sounds like a must read!

caite said...

Well, I have the first in my TBR pile...guess I will have to actually buy this one too.

Stephanie said...

Yep, it looks like this one everybody loves. I can't wait to read my copy!

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

This book looks great! I think you mean Trish at Hey Lady and not Maw Books though. I'll have to read it and see what my rating would be!

Lenore said...

natasha - thanks for the save (and please let me know your rating once you ACTUALLY DO read it). That's what I get for multi-tasking with 12 windows open...

dawn said...

What a great review, Lenore! I haven't read any Tana French; this sounds like a well-written mystery.

Ladytink_534 said...

I have heard so much about this book! It sounds really good.

trish said...

Wow! Excellent review! Way better than mine. I couldn't stop thinking about it, yet when I tried to write about it, I was tongue tied (so to speak). I'm glad you liked it as much as I did. :D