Monday, August 2, 2010

The Likeness by Tana French

The Likeness: A Novel

Pages (Paperback): 512 pages
Publisher: Penguin
Released: May 26, 2009

Quick Thoughts: I was on the fence about In the Woods, it was a beautifully written novel, with an amazing lead character, but the plot was predictable and one of the plot points never gets solved. When I heard about the Likeness, I thought that the 1984 murder case would be talked about here and perhaps solved. Unfortunately, it turns out that this is a separate novel, with the lead character not being Rob *gasp* but Cassie.

Review: Did I mention that there was no Rob in this novel? No, that's not true, he's mentioned, but he isn't really there. *sigh*

Moving on.

In The Likeness, French tells the story of Cassie, Rob's former partner, taking on a special case. The murder division found the dead body of Lexie Madison, who looks exactly like Cassie. Not only that, but she is using the name that Cassie and her former boss, Frank, made up when she was undercover. Since there are no leads to the case and it seems to be going no where, Frank decides to send Cassie undercover as Lexie Madison and find out what happened. Cassie, much to the dismay of her boyfriend and fellow police officer, agrees and soon she is studying Lexie's mannerisms and speech, so that she doesn't get discovered.

In order for this to work, the police lied to Lexie's roomates, telling them that she did not die but is simply unconscious. The roommates are suspicious, but once they see Lexie (who is now Cassie) come back into their lives, they toss their suspicion aside and welcome her in with open arms. Cassie soon finds herself sucked into the lives of her roommates and actually feels happy, despite being in the same house as a murderer. This leaves her with two choices, either continue on with the case and find the killer, causing her new friends to hate her and losing her new life. Or, remaining with the friends and letting the case drag on.

The fact that Cassie is able to sneak her way into the house seems a little implausible. If the roommates were such good friends with the original Lexie, then surely they would have figured out that there is something fishy with Cassie. I think French purposely did this to show that the roommates wanted Lexie, regardless of what happened, just so everything can be the same. I understand this, but the amount of times Cassie messes up and for them to do nothing about it, just doesn't work for me.

However, one of the things I liked from the first novel does show up here. French has a way of taking likeable characters and doing a 180 on them. Even though this is a rehash of what happened to Rob and Cassie didn't fall as hard, it was still fun to read. I think I love train wrecks.

Final Thoughts: The Likeness has some good points, but the plot about Lexie is a bit too much to stomach. I know there were many readers who loved Cassie in the previous novel, but seeing her take the lead here made me realize how much I miss Rob.

I wonder when he's going to come back?

Grade: 7 out of 10

The Likeness: A Novel is available at bookstores and Amazon.

Sometimes smaller is better, if you agree, then check out the shorter version of this review at 5 Line Reviews

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