The Likeness by Tana French

I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of a doppelganger, the idea that somewhere in the world there is someone walking around who is my exact lookalike.  This is the idea explored in Tana French’s The Likeness, where a detective in Ireland finds a dead body of a girl who resembles her exactly, and is then embarks on a dangerous undercover mission where she assumes the girl’s identity.

What I find so great about the premise is that it allows French to deliver on two fronts.  You keep the pages turning because you want to know not just who killed this girl, but if there is some strange, supernatural connection between the detective Cassie Maddox and this dead girl who is her spitting image.  Yet at the same time, French never loses sight of her characters, and excellently captures the identity crisis inherent in pretending to be another person so well that you convince even her closest friends.  It is this aspect of the novel that makes it much more than your average mystery.

Part of a three-book series focusing on different detectives in Ireland, The Likeness is my favorite novel of the series so far, though all are worth reading.  Although I was at first disappointed that the main character from her first book is not really focused on, I soon found myself totally absorbed by the character of Cassie, who was more of a supporting character in the first book.  If you are looking for a book that is both a gripping whodunit but takes the time to really develop its characters rather than simply treat them as stock figures, look no further.

Find a copy of this book in our library catalog.


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