The haunting follow up to the Edgar Award-winning debut In the Woods
Tana French astonished critics and readers alike with her mesmerizing debut novel, In the Woods. Now both French and Detective Cassie Maddox return to unravel a case even more sinister and enigmatic than the first. Six months after the events of In the Woods, an urgent telephone call beckons Cassie 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 is this girl? A disturbing tale of shifting identities, The Likeness firmly establishes Tana French as an important voice in suspense fiction.
The Likeness by Tana French
Publication Date: July 17, 2008 by Viking Adult
It took me awhile to get into this one compared to In the Woods, but I see why people seem to prefer it to the first book in this series. I personally felt that Maddox was a much more likable character than the narrator in book one, and I was more invested in knowing the outcome of her situation compared to Ryan’s – although I’m hoping books later down the line are going to tell me WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED IN THE WOODS.
Whereas in I was stressed about knowing the outcome of the investigation as well as the truth behind what happened to Ryan’s childhood friends, The Likeness was much more about experiencing events versus discovering the murderer. I felt I had a good idea from the beginning behind who was responsible for Lexie’s death and wasn’t as consumed by the “whodunit” aspect of the storyline.
While the idea behind the plot – a woman dies who looks identical to Maddox and who was using an old alias of Maddox’s from when she worked for the Undercover unit – requires a stretch of the imagination, I enjoyed the atmosphere of the novel a lot. In many ways, it was similar to Donna Tartt’s The Secret History – a group of university students who seem to rebel against modern day life and spend their time absorbed in their little academia bubble all while involved in an “unsolved” murder. There’s something so appealing about their way of life (minus the murder) that it’s easy to see how Maddox risks becoming drawn in enough to say fuck all to the investigation she is supposed to be making headway for.
In the Woods was a slooooooooow novel, but I appreciated the slow unravelling of the investigation as well as the character development Tana French seems to have a special knack for. The Likeness started equally slow-paced, but the last hundred pages or so FLEW as things began to really unravel in the plot. I loved that I was able to read a novel from Maddox’s point of view and I’m stoked to read the next book from Mackey’s perspective. It’s official – I am a Tana French addict.