The Likeness

by Tana French | Mystery & Thrillers |
ISBN: 1440637539 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 12/3/2018
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Monday, December 03, 2018
I found this softcover at a Salvation Army thrift shop, and nabbed it for another release copy.

I enjoyed French's novel In the Woods, and when I found that it was part of a cycle of loosely-connected novels I had to keep an eye out for more. While I would have liked to learn more about the unresolved mystery from the first book, I still enjoyed spending more time with Cassie Maddox, whose life was upset by the events of that book and who is currently spinning her wheels in a safe but boring job. On the other hand, she's in a happy relationship with Sam, another character from the last book, though the fact that he's still in the Murder Squad while she is not introduces a little bit of tension now and then.

But Cassie's calm life is due for another upset. Her old boss from undercover days, Frank Mackay, contacts her when a dead woman is found using Cassie's undercover identity - and resembling Cassie to an uncanny degree. Frank proposes an outrageous and risky scheme: they'll put it out that the victim isn't dead, but in a coma, and Cassie will impersonate her in hopes of learning who killed her. Unbelievable? Well, yeah - but then, the setup is such that a good deal of the work has already been done; the victim herself has been "impersonating" Cassie in her undercover identity, for reasons of her own. And effects found on the body include a load of video-snippets of her interacting with her housemates, a group of college chums who've formed their own tight-knit family and are sharing a large house in the area.

Cassie's reluctant, yet finds herself tempted to take part - against the wishes of her boyfriend Sam. She thinks it's because she wants justice for this girl who shares her appearance, but maybe it's her own restlessness... In any case, the plan goes into effect, Cassie studies her target intensely, and then - and then she steps into another world.

I really enjoyed this story, despite its unbelievability. The concept of bright but lonely people, separated from their own families for a variety of reasons, forging their own new family with close bonds, lots of bantering, and a delightful sense of belonging... it was very tempting indeed, even though I knew there were likely to be problems in the offing. Not least the fact that the housemates were among the obvious suspects in the murder...

Cassie does seem to get in over her head, seduced by the warmth and wit of her new/old friends - who seem to buy her impersonation. She also falls for the house, a rambling old mansion that the gang is slowly repairing, though it needs so much work that it could be a lifetime task. They explore the attics, discovering little treasures everywhere; they laugh and play and work together; and the whole setup is entrancing, quite literally.

But this happy state doesn't last, and there are cracks in the facade of closeness. It seems that Cassie's undercover persona wasn't the victim's first impersonation, and the motive for the murder might have involved a past life - or an attempt to betray this group of housemates. Local politics might be a factor too, as the house has been a target of vandalism for some time. But is Cassie still investigating, or is she becoming the character she's playing, more interested in defending her new friends than solving the crime?

Again, rather an unbelievable setup, yet the situation made me willing to accept it, and I liked all the characters so much that I really wanted it to work out - though as I like Sam and his relationship with Cassie I couldn't quite want her to simply give up on her own life and move in with the "Secret Garden" gang!

The resolution of the mystery was actually fairly straightforward, given what we learned about everyone, but I still found it heart-wrenching. Tempting as it is to live in an insular dream-world, it might not be a good idea...

[There's an excellent unabridged audiobook version of this novel, well worth seeking!]

***
I brought this book to the Saturday meetup at the Porter Square Panera in Cambridge; enjoy!

*** Released for the 2018 What's In A Name release challenge. ***

Journal Entry 2 by wingIddyluwing at Cambridge, Massachusetts USA on Sunday, December 09, 2018
Picked up at the December 2018 Boston meet-up :)

Journal Entry 3 by wingIddyluwing at Durham, New Hampshire USA on Sunday, March 17, 2019
What a good book! I tend not to expect much from police procedurals, and find a lot of them very same-y, but Tana French really won me over with this one: the story is unique, and she's an excellent writer. Before closing the book, I took a picture of that perfect last paragraph so that I could have it even after I've passed the book on.

Journal Entry 4 by wingIddyluwing at Cambridge, Massachusetts USA on Saturday, March 23, 2019

Released 1 mo ago (3/23/2019 UTC) at Cambridge, Massachusetts USA

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Taking this to today's meeting of the Boston Bookcrossers.

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