After I finished In the Woods and found out Tana French’s follow-up book was about the fascinating and as-yet underdeveloped character of Detective Cassie Maddox, I went to my used bookstore the next day. Readers, I was fully prepared to pay full price for the book in the event that Half Price did not have it. That’s how serious my craving was- I was willing to jettison both a bargain price and Amazon to have it in my hands immediately.
Fortunately, the universe came through for me and there was a lovely unblemished copy of The Likeness in stock AND on the clearance shelf. Never have I felt so taken care of by mystic forces.
The Likeness picks up six months after the end of In the Woods. Cassie has transferred out of the murder department and into domestic violence- until the body of a girl who looked exactly like her AND who was using her former undercover alias (Lexie Madison) is found in an abandoned cottage .
Now comes the part where French tests the reader: exactly how much are you willing to suspend your disbelief? But hey, I watched Iron Man 2 over the weekend, so I was game. A scheme is hatched for Lexie Madison’s roommates to be told she survived the stabbing and is coming home- but for Cassie to be sent in undercover as Lexie to determine possible suspects for her murder.
Still reading? If so, then the rest of the book is quite fascinating, especially as all of the roommates are English majors. Cue the drunk but philosophical talks and the big dreams of not working and just writing for the rest of their lives. I understand; I’ve got the same dream, which is why I have plans to move to a Vermont farmhouse and co-found a commune. But still, it’s quite interesting to watch the group attempt to resist pressures from the “real world” by refusing to engage with their parents or discuss their pasts.
The really dissatisfying part of this book to me was the romance angle between Cassie and another detective Sam. I thought it was unconvincing, underdeveloped, and maybe it’s just because I really liked Rob Ryan, but I was not a fan of their romance at all. I kind of hope that French breaks them up in the future. I also hope I see a lot more of Cassie and Rob Ryan.
In the meantime, I’ll be bidding my time until French’s third book comes out, which focuses on Frank Mackey, the detective who coordinates Cassie’s undercover operation in this book. I might even have to buy it in hardback. Of course, this will mean my copies don’t match and paying full price. We’ll see whether my thrifty Virgo tendencies can hold out, but I’m betting I’ll be beating down the bookstore door on July 13.