Search This Blog

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Likeness

French, Tana. The Likeness.

I was so delighted to realize that Cassie from In the Woods was the protagonist in The Likeness. Rob gets a few mentions, but doesn't figure into the story, although Sam does.

This one was even better! Cassie is still trying to recover from all of the fallout from Operation Vestal in the previous book. Six months later, a woman identified as Lexie Madison is found dead. Lexie Madison was Cassie's identity when she worked undercover. Weird enough, since the identity was created out of whole cloth by Cassie and Frank, her boss at the time, but stranger still is the fact that the woman appears to have been Cassie's physical double.

Once again, Cassie slips back into the identity of Lexie Madison, but this Lexie has a different personality. Lexie's housemates are told that she survived the attack, and Cassie begins studying to assume Lexie's role before she moves in and attempts to discover who is responsible. This undercover situation, however, is one that Cassie begins to enjoy. She likes her housemates, she loves the house, she really enjoys the relaxed and intellectual lifestyle that these five individuals are living.

Once again, French manages to separate the reader from any questions about the believability of the plot by creating characters that seem fully-fleshed and achingly alive. Her evocative language, her poetic descriptions of the individuals, the setting, and the events enmesh the reader completely.

The book is long, not entirely plausible (nor was In the Woods), and entirely entertaining.

And there will be another one. French is working on a book that features Frank, the undercover fella'.

Other reviews: To the Lighthouse , Hey Lady, Whatcha Readin'?, Bookgirl's Nightstand -- I know that Ann of About this Blog has read The Likeness, but I couldn't find the review.

And, by the way, Hey Lady, Whatcha Readin'? is offering a give-away copy.

This is an interview with Tana French about In the Woods.

Fiction. Mystery. 2008. 466 pages.


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed this as much as I did. I think one of the factors that makes it so engaging is the idea of that charmed set of friends. I think it was one of the elements of the films 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' and 'Notting Hill' that made them so popular and of course, Donna Tartt exploits it in 'The Secret History' as well.

  2. Ann - I looked for your review, but couldn't find it. Tana French does have a gift for delineating friendships, and the atmosphere she created at Whitehorn House made me want to be there, too. I think she has spoiled me for mysteries. Started one last night, and it didn't even come close to measuring up.

  3. I agree, not plausible yet it made for great reading. I think it's her writing because I know this story with another writer might just not have worked out as well. I am not too thrilled knowing that Frank is going to be the main character of the next book but I'm definitely going to pick it up. I loved both of her books so I can't wait what will be next!

  4. iliana - Both books are great reading and pull you in completely! I was surprised about Frank being the main character in her next book as I didn't care for him much either, but I'm glad she is staying with the same crowd.

  5. I am so glad to hear you enjoyed this one, Jenclair. I am looking forward to reading this and its prequel. I'm just waiting on my coworker who is borrowing my copies of the books.

  6. Glad to hear this one is great too. I'm looking forward to both of them. Thanks for giving the link to the interview. I am really liking the book "trailers" or little interviews that are starting to come out.

  7. LF - Both of them are great reading! Hope your coworker and, eventually, you enjoy them as much as I did.

    Kay - I enjoy hearing an author discuss his/her own book. I especially liked the archaeology connection!