The Likeness by Tana French
Published by: Penguin
Published on: 2008
Page Count: 466
My Reading Format: Audiobook purchased with a credit from Audible.com
Audiobook Publisher: Recorded Books
Narrator: Heather O’Neill
Audiobook Length: 22 hours 30 minutes
Available Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook, audiobook
2010 will definitely be remembered at least in part as the year I discovered Tana French. It made the year a lot of fun. I purchased The Likeness along with In the Woods, but I got antsy as In the Woods got farther and farther away without a chance to read The Likeness in sight. About that time, a super-good deal came up on Audible.com that included this book. I couldn’t pass it up.
In her second novel, we again met up with Cassie Maddox after the disaster that was Operation Vestal. She’s lost contact with Rob and left Murder, transferring to Domestic Violence. She is not satisfied working in her new area, but so much of her life was shot to hell on that last case with Rob that she prefers safety and comfort to career fulfillment. She may have begun a happy and healthy relationship with Sam O’Neill, but she’s worried her skills and her nerve are gone for good. She continued to sleep walk through her work until she receives a frantic call from Sam one morning. He was relieved to hear her voice because they had found a body in Glenskehy, outside of Dublin. The dead woman looked exactly like Casey. To make things even more ominous, the woman was carrying identification making her Lexie Madison, the identity of the woman Cassie created for her one and only undercover case. In order to find out who the body really belonged to and why she was murdered, Cassie is asked to return to her undercover persona and infiltrate Lexie’s new life with her four house mates in Glenskehy. The question is, does she have what it takes to get the job done?
There is one thing in Tana French’s books that carries over very well in both print and audio – her wonderful writing. I wasn’t more than an hour into the book when I started to reread in print what I had just read in audio. Here is the quote where Cassie is thinking about growing up without her parents:
I weaned myself on the nostalgia equivalent of methadone (less addictive, less obvious, less likely to make you crazy): missing what I never had.
In that one sentence, French said so much about Cassie. She made her struggles come alive.
Just as I liked Cassie from In the Woods, I liked her here in her own story. I was interested in the internal struggles that plagued her as well as the case of Lexie. Her outlook showcased the kind of skills women can uniquely bring to police and undercover work. Although there were plenty of times I wanted to shake some sense into her, there was no one else who could have done what she did – regardless of the physical likeness. I was rooting for her to be successful. More than that, I wanted her to find happiness.
In addition to Cassie, her old boss Frank Mackey and her four house mates were incredible characters that captured my imagination. What was Frank’s angle and motivation? What role, if any, did the house mates play in Lexie’s death? I was always asking questions throughout my read, which made The Likeness so much fun to read.
If I had any one issue with The Likeness, it was how every emotion went to Cassie’s stomach in one manner or the other – fear, anxiety, you name it. There’s only so many ways you can describe emotion that way without it feeling overused.
Heather O’Neill is a great narrator. She was able to portray the different major characters so well through accent and tone. It’s a treat, especially if you enjoy listening to an Irish accent. I will definitely keep my eyes open for any other books she’s narrated.
I love Tana French. She’s most definitely one of my favorite discoveries for 2010. Her work would appeal to just about any reader. If you haven’t picked her up yet, you should. It wouldn’t matter which order you read her first two books. Just get started. In the meantime, I’m planning to get started on Frank’s story in Faithful Place in early 2011. You really should join me.
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