In The Likeness, French continues the story of Detective Cassie Maddox, who was introduced to readers in In The Woods. Although this book can easily stand alone, I think it will be a richer reading experience if you already know Cassie from the previous book.
Cassie is called by Frank Mackey, her former boss in police undercover work, to come back on his staff temporarily to find out what happened to Lexie Madison, a young woman found dead in the Wicklow area of Ireland. There’s a very good reason Frank calls Cassie: Lexie Madison is Cassie’s old undercover name, and the murder victim looks remarkably like her.
Frank decides to use this likeness to search for the murderer of “Lexie” by claiming Lexie was resuscitated, and sending Cassie back into the [fake] Lexie’s [fake] life. It’s a dangerous game, but Cassie, like “Lexie,” is fearless. She has to be absolutely convincing to the four postgrad students with whom Lexie had been living – Daniel, Abby, Justin, and Rafe, as well as to other acquaintances, and most especially, the murderer. The only question is, will Cassie end up like Lexie did as well?
Evaluation: Tana French is an excellent, intelligent writer. In this book, I didn’t quite buy the premise that the two women looked enough alike that none of Lexie’s roommates – who live like a family – would know the difference. If, however, you take it on faith and go with the plotline, it’s a tense, page-turning story with some terrific character development.