I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Six months after the events of In the Woods, an urgent telephone call beckons detective Cassie Maddox to a grisly crime scene. The victim looks exactly like Cassie and carries ID identifying herself as Alexandra Madison, an alias Cassie once used. Suddenly, Cassie must discover not only who killed this girl, but, more importantly, who she is. A disturbing tale of shifting identities, The Likeness firmly establishes Tana French as an important voice in suspense fiction.
No pasts. This is the rule for the 5 young adults who live in Whitethorn House. As a result, their lives are rather like a biosphere project—things go off balance because no one in charge realized how important worms or spiders are to the ecosystem.
How I remember those achingly close and highly charged relationships of our 20s that we just assume will always be there. You look up some time in your 40s and realize that those people are long gone, you have no idea where they went, and you couldn’t contact them if you wanted to. But you do want to, desperately. It’s probably a good thing, though, that you can’t, because those days were lightning in a bottle and can only exist as a rainbow haze in your memory. The Good Old Days.
Ms. French is expert at creating intriguingly damaged characters who are still likeable. Cassie Maddox has her issues, but she is still a sympathetic narrator. I was almost happy that she still missed her former Murder Squad partner Rob with such intensity, because I miss him too. [See In the Woods for that part of the story]. Cassie is irresistibly drawn into the arrangement in Whitethorn House because she recognizes it as close facsimile of the closeness of her relationship with Rob.
Mind you, this book asks a lot of the reader—a big suspension of disbelief. Cassie’s undercover persona, Lexie Madison, has been appropriated by an “imposter” who has ended up dead. Cassie’s boyfriend on the Murder Squad (Sam) has been called to the scene (because there was a murder, natch), as has her former superior officer (Frank) from Undercover (because one of his “operatives” has died). The freaky catch to all of this? The dead “Lexie” is virtually identical to Cassie in appearance. It would be more likely to win the lottery and be struck by lightning ON THE SAME DAY as for this convergence of chance to happen. And yet, because this is Tana French writing, I barely paused to consider it—I just allowed her beautiful writing to pull me along into the increasingly complicated scenario. Because of course she will infiltrate the household and try to find out what happened to her doppelganger.
A great, tense plot line that had me thinking about it at work, while trying to catalogue other books. Gorgeous writing—wonderful turns of phrase and beautiful sentences. Not necessarily something you expect to find in a police procedural. I’ve already got a hold on the third book and I’m sure I’ll devour it too.