Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Likeness by Tana French: A review

I first heard about this book from the Marie Claire book club. The ladies gave the book a 3 out of 4 and that was all the convincing I needed to read it. Am glad that I did though. The Likeness is a follow up to Tana French’s first book "In the Woods." So a word of caution, even though this book appears to be a separate piece, the author does make some connection to the first book and you are more than likely to get lost if you haven’t read it.

So the story begins at this abandon house where the body of a young woman is found. Police are on the scene and are startled by what they find. The young woman looks exactly like Detective Cassie Maddox. In fact she’s carrying a pseudo name; Alexandra Madison, one that Cassie Maddox used in an undercover case she worked, years ago. How did this girl get the fake identification? And if Alexandra Madison was definitely not her name, then who was she? The case looked like a regular homicide however detective Maddox’s boss doesn’t think so and so he convinces her to go undercover to investigate the murder. This is where I got lost. The narrator (detective Maddox) is obviously conflicted about taking the case since her last one from “In the Woods” did not go so well. For that reason, she is reluctant to go undercover. On top of that the author does not do a good job convincing me that an undercover assignment was necessary in the first place.

Detective Maddox takes the case and finds herself becoming Alexandra Madison; her eating habits, her drinking habits, her friends, everything Alexandra Madison, Cassie Maddox consumed. Cassie has to infiltrate her inner circles to find out who Alexandra really was. How was she able to get that pseudo name and more importantly, who wanted her dead. Eventually as Cassie delves deeper into her cover, the line between herself and Alexandra becomes blurred and the investigation is compromised. Will she uncover the truth about this girl?

I loved the plot in this book. It was a thriller from the very beginning. The author did a great job creating and maintaining the intensity of the story. The way she was able to describe the feeling and emotion that someone goes through when they are undercover or when they are becoming so engrossed in their cover was really authentic and believable. Having said that, the book fell flat for me around the last few chapters. I think ending the story on suspense would have made it truly fantastic and then it would have been on the same footing as “In the Woods”. Further ending the story on suspense would have brought it full circle (it begins and ends in suspense).

Sorry guys, I don’t have any favorite quotes from this book because there were many. You’ll just have to read the book and point them out on your own.


bermudaonion said...

I have In the Woods by the same author that I'm anxious to read. So glad you enjoyed this one.

Bookventures said...

That's my next read actually. I cant wait. But am reading it backwards though because In the Woods comes before The Likeness. Thank you so much for your comment.

LCzinha said...

Thanks for sending me this link to your review. I really want to read both books by Tana French. I think this is going to be one of my fav. authors. Thanks again and great review!

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