Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Likeness Book Review

The Likeness by Tana French

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Six months after a particularly nasty case, Detective Cassie Maddox has transferred out of Dublin's Murder squad and has no plans to go back. That is, until an urgent telephone call summons her to a grisly crime scene.

It's only when she sees the body that Cassie understands the hurry. The victim, a young woman, is Cassie's double and carries ID identifying herself as Alexandra Madison, an alias Cassie once used on an undercover job. Suddenly, Cassie must discover not only who killed this girl but, more importantly, who is this girl? And as reality and fantasy become desperately tangled, Cassie moves dangerously close to losing herself forever.

Review by Brittany:

This is one of the only books I have ever read that left me feeling like I don't know a single thing about any of the characters, but I love it anyway. Most books that feel like they have limited character development don't make much of an impact on me, but this one is different. The main character spends the majority of the book pretending to be someone else as she is an undercover detective, so I never quite felt like I was experiencing anything in the way that the character would. And even though she constantly describes her experiences with the other characters, I never felt as if I was getting to know any of them.

This feeling did not take away from the novel at all. Cassie is working as an undercover to try to solve the murder of the girl pretending to be Alexandra Madison, so she has put herself in Lexie's life. The police spin the story that she wasn't murdered, only assaulted, so that Cassie can infiltrate the circle and try to solve the crime.

One skill this author has is sliding in the little details that make the end result logical. Tiny things that the reader won't really think about (she never carried her cigarettes with her on her walks) that feel unimportant until they aren't anymore. Piecing together the motive and what happened on the night of the murder is a precarious, careful thing, and the author really works to make it logical and not overly obvious.

French is an author who just knows how to make it work. She keeps the action moving at a consistent pace that makes continuing reading easy to do. Her characters in this book aren't necessarily going to be the most notable characters, but they each play their role in moving the story along. I would definitely recommend this book to those who are interested in murder mystery novels or just looking for a good read.

Notable quotes:

It hadn't occurred to me, till then, that all that silence could have been plenty revealing, in its own way.

"But there's no point in wishing. Once you're stuck with someone, all you can do is make the best of it."

My hand was on the door handle when for a split second out of nowhere I was terrified, blue-blazing terrified, fear dropping straight through me like a jagged black stone falling fast. I'd felt this before, in the limbo instants before I moved out of my aunt's house, lost my virginity, took my oath as a police officer: those instants when that irrevocable thing you wanted so much suddenly turns real and solid, inches away and speeding at you, a bottomless river rising and no way back once it's crossed.

"What could possibly be simpler, or more crucial? You can have anything you want, as long as you accept that there is a price and that you will have to pay it."

No matter how strong you are or how controlled, keeping a secret - I should know - gets heavy after a while, heavy and tiring and so lonely it feels lethal.

"Students and very young people can rent with no damage to their intellectual freedom, because it puts them under no threat: they have nothing, yet, to lose. Have you noticed how easily the very young die? They make the best martyrs for any cause, the best soldiers, the best suicides. It's because they're held here so lightly: they haven't yet accumulated loves and responsibilities and commitments and all the things that tie us securely to this world. They can let go of it as easily and simply as lifting a finger. But as you get older, you begin to find things that are worth holding onto, forever. All of a sudden you're playing for keeps, as children say, and it changes the very fabric of you."

When you're too close to people, when you spend too much time with them and love them too dearly, sometimes you can't see them.

"You've got a bad habit of taking too much credit for the stuff other people do around you."

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