Detective Cassie Maddox is called at a crime scene where the murder victim, a young girl is a mirror image of Cassie. Not only the girl resembles her but she also goes by the name of Alexandra Madison alias Lexie, an identity Cassie had used during her days as an undercover cop. Intrigued by the strange circumstances and lack of any evidence, Cassie accepts to go undercover once again taking the place of the victim. She joins the victim’s friends and fellow lodgers at The Whitethorn House only to be engulfed by Lexie’s stranger than fiction life and her close-knit friends.
The Likeness is a spectacular psychological thriller by Tana French. It’s the second book from Dublin Murder Squad series. It has every ingredient of a spell binding thriller. An improbable yet highly convincing plot, some awesome and really interesting characters, a narrator who keeps you hooked throughout the story. The first quarter of the book is about Cassie’s efforts to transform herself into Lexie. French has maintained the tempo and the suspense about the murder, Whitethorn House and its occupants so that we become equally eager to enter Lexie’s life along with Cassie. Once Cassie manages to be Lexie, the story picks up as we are introduced to Lexie’s friends, a tightly knit circle of young students, one of whom may be a murderer. As the story progresses, the mystery deepens as Cassie stumbles upon secret after secret in Lexie’s highly curious life.
Though the mystery is definitely compelling, halfway through the book it actually did not matter to me. Sure, I wanted to know who the killer is but I was fully engrossed in the Whitethorn House and the strange but sedate life of Lexie’s group. Yet tension hung there just below that overtly calm exterior like a tautly strung wire that can snap any minute. As Cassie gets more and more emotionally involved in Lexie, the line between her and Lexie blurs making it increasingly difficult for her to conduct her investigation.
The Likeness is a fantastic read also due to French’s beautiful writing. Rarely do we see a mystery written so beautifully. There is a sense of foreboding that never quite leaves us while reading. And yes, I was as much engrossed by the Whitethorn House as Cassie. The house is an equally important character in the story and the most captivating one.
With The Likeness I have landed in the middle of an alluring series. I have heard that the first book – “In the Woods” is likewise good though different in style and hope the next one – “Faithful Place” will be better. French has used a different narrator for every book, Its Cassie’s erstwhile murder squad partner Rob Ryan in the first book and her undercover boss Frank Mackey in the next one, giving French the freedom to explore a different style every time.
It’s a fascinating series and I am definitely going for the other books.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your time.
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My other Dublin Murder Squad series reviews –