>Tana French, The Likeness (2008)


[Dansk titel: Tana French, Som i et spejl – 2009]

This thriller is the Irish writer´s second novel featuring Cassie Maddox. See my review of her debut, In the Woods.

As I have read this one for the Ireland Reading Challenge, I thought the quotation below was very suitable. Besides, the setting (the Georgian Whitethorn House in Wicklow outside Dublin) is fairly important for the story:

“This country´s passion for property is built into the blood, a current as huge and primal as desire. Centuries of being turned out on the roadside at a landlord´s whim, helpless, teach your bones that everything in life hangs on owning your home. This is why house prices are what they are: property developers know they can charge half a million for a one-bedroom dive, if they band together and make sure there´s no other choice the Irish will sell a kidney, work hundred-hour weeks and pay it.”

After her latest murder case, Detective Cassie Maddox was traumatised which is why she has worked for the relatively quiet Domestic Violence section for a couple of years. But in the first chapter of this novel, her boyfriend Sam O´Neill who works for the Murder squad calls her out to take a look at a body. On the scene Cassie sees her own face, and she learns that some young girl has stolen her undercover identity as Lexie Madison. So now the main question is if the murderer wanted to kill the anonymous girl, or if he might have been after Cassie Maddox. In order to smoke out the murderer, Frank Mackey who runs the undercover operations persuades Cassie to assume Lexie´s identity – just for a few weeks.

Cassie had just found some kind of equilibrium with her new colleagues and Sam, but now Frank and Sam pull her in each their direction. Frank is a persuasive detective who obviously loves excitement and challenges whereas the gentle and level-headed Sam tries his best to protect Cassie. And Cassie has to make up her mind whether she prefers her quiet existence or if she wants to live the highly intoxicating life of an undercover agent again. And then there are Lexie´s four, young friends whom she lived together with in Whitethorn House.

Though I must agree with reviewers who have pointed out that the story is long-winded (the paper back is 700 pages), I was completely absorbed by the haunting atmosphere and the compelling characters. I just had to know what happened to them.

I bought the book myself. Read for Ireland Reading Challenge # 1.

About Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen

I am a Danish teacher. In my spare time I read, write and review crime fiction.
This entry was posted in 2011 Ireland Reading Challenge, Irish, review, review 2011, Tana French. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to >Tana French, The Likeness (2008)

  1. Carrie K. says:

    I love Tana French’s writing – and also how each one of her books is completely different. I enjoyed this one last year. This year, I LOVED Faithful Place. I wish she would write faster!

  2. Carrie: I am also one of her fans – her books are not necessarily realistic, but I do like her wordy style.

  3. Pingback: The Challenges of a Reader | djskrimiblog

  4. janebbooks says:

    DJ, THE LIKENESS is my favorite Tana French. It may also be the best book/mystery
    I’ve read in years. I liked the story of Daniel March who invited his four friends from Trinity
    College to live in his house in Wicklow. But I was also interested in who killed the Doppelganger
    which I’m not sure I know to this day but I know why!
    An Amazon reviewer mention the setting as you did…Whitehorn House. She referred her readers to research the Irish hawthorne curse at Wikipedia…and darn it….I mulled over that for several days until the light bulb lit….

    Enjoyed your review,

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