The Likeness

The Likeness - Tana French The second of Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series, the Likeness, casts its spotlight on Cassie Maddox. The witty and fearless detective appeared in French’s In the Woods as the main character’s partner and best friend. This time, Cassie takes on the role of narrator, and tells another thrilling story of events that take place after the conclusion of the first book. Readers would definitely benefit from reading the first novel, but would not find it necessary in order to enjoy this one. Cassie, having now moved on from the Murder Squad into a new position in Domestic Violence, gets a call from her boyfriend, Sam (who is still with the Squad). He asks for her help on a curious case that he has just been called out on. When she arrives at the scene, Cassie is surprised to also encounter her former boss from the undercover division. Frank Mackey was her supervisor when she left that job after being injured while on a mission. His presence at this scene is explained when she sees the victim. Not only does the dead woman look exactly like Cassie, she also had been using her old undercover identity, “Lexie Madison.” Frank wants her to use both her undercover and murder squad experience to impersonate the woman and solve the mystery of her death and discover her real origins. The real challenge would be deceiving the classmates that the deceased was living with- a group of strangely over-attached misfits from the college nearby. They seem to know each other to an uncanny degree, won’t talk to outsiders and are, of course, the main suspects in the murder investigation. Cassie needs to infiltrate their group and maintain their trust, using only phone video recordings to get into character. As she gets deeper into the ruse, she contends with her own search for belonging and a burgeoning desire to discover what she really wants for her own future. What is so amazing about this book is that it requires a huge suspension of disbelief and acceptance of extreme coincidence on the part of the reader-a feat that only a writer as skilled as Tana French could evoke. The next book in the series, Faithful Place, continues her exploration of different character arcs with a story involving Frank Mackey. Mystery fans who enjoy a more literary style, doppelganger fiction, and the 1992 novel Secret History (by Donna Tartt) would find much to enjoy in French’s excellent second outing.