693 pages in this book and at least 593 of them were the biggest load of waffle I've ever read! So, going against most other reviews, this book was so yawn making boring, just coudnt get to the end quick enough to get it over with.Tana French's first novel In The Woods was a good crime novel, this was not even in the same league, in fact I lost hope that it was a crime novel at all really It's wordy, very wordy, her prose is spectacular at times but why oh why does this book have to drag out paragraphs of mindless waffle?The plot is barely believable, a female detective looks so much like a dead girl that she slips into the dead girls life and home and nobody bats an eyelid? Pfft, as if that's going to happen, why was that even chosen as the storyline? I don't get it, Woods is (or was) a good writer so why? Baffled me.I did a lot of eye rolling reading this and wondering what was wrong with me for not loving this like most others who have reviewed it It was too long, particularly as most of it is pretty much about nothing It took 100 pages for Detective Maddox to decide to go undercover or not, please, don't insult the reader, the whole book is based on her being this undercover doppelgänger so we KNEW she was going to do it.And the ending? Let's not go there, I've wasted too much time already on this book and this short review, there are better books to conquer.I want the hours of my life back please, very disappointing after enjoying her first novel, certainly not rushing for the next. okay, i enjoyed this tana french book muchthan the first one and against all odds; the premise of this book is so staggeringly unbelievable.check it out: so there's a murrrrrder, and the body is that of a young woman who looks just like detective cassie maddox! awesome! so why doesn't she just pretend to be the murdered girl, slip unnoticed into her life, and take it from there? because, dummy, her life is made up solely of a group of four other insular postgrad nerds who reside in a huge crumbling house together, and live only for each other without any boundary issues, and with the fiercely intense loyalty that's mostly only seen in the conjoined, and wouldn't they notice the difference?but she's a really good undercover police detective, soi don't care, it works, it's fun and it comes closer to secret history than most others claiming to be the same, but has the humility not to broadcast it on the jacket rewriting secret history has become a goal for suspense writers everywhere, and anytime anyone writes a book featuring intelligent young people who share secrets and there is a murder, the great donna tartt is invoked and i remember really liking secret history, so i always read the impostors this one, for all its necessary suspensions of disbelief, is not a bad comparison in fact, this reminded me of the house at midnight, just in the characters' dynamics,and the house, of course, and that was one of the better tartty books i have read there are huge logic gaps and come on! moments, but it is a quick read and she writes claustrophobic tension very well i had some time to kill before work yesterday and was cold and poor, so i just took the 7 train alll the way out and then alll the way back to read this it's completely engrossing, as long as you suppress your protests.hiding outjust one of the guysdesperately seeking susantootsiesoul manweekend at bernie'sin the 80's these secretidentity movies were ubiquitous they all involved the seemingly implausible plot of being able to fool others into believing you were a different age, gender, race, or that you were, you know, alive and if we could believe it in the 80's we can believe it now because let's face it, dustin hoffman wasn't fooling anyone.i always thought that tana french would bepsychologically complicated literary fiction than a genrebook blame it on the trade paperback format or the awards or the refined cover art; as opposed to thecartoony norm:(do not click to look inside)(almost forgot about this one it may be my favorite i wish it was bigger (like all girls) because mrs jeffries hiding is pretty funny/creepy)but it's a mystery novel, pure and simple; suspects confess in long speeches, every glance can be analyzed and stripped of its meaning, detectives pull out all the interrogation clichés and there's nothing wrong with that, because it is good old fashioned leisure reading and that's the genius of its presentation, and what i have learned from the identitymovies of the 80's if this book ever witnessed a crime, it could just be put into witness protection program with the other trade paperbacks in the general fiction/literature section, and beor less undetectable.unless i was on the casecome to my blog! There are times when trying on someone else's life for size seems like a very tempting idea But how do you not lose yourself in it? This book shredded my heart into tiny little pieces It made me reexperience that hollow, empty, lonely, lost feeling you have when you remember the intense and seemingly 'forever' friendships that have somehow, inexplicably just disintegrated.It made me miss people who once were crucial in my life and are not there any , for one reason or another And I miss them.Here is one of my favorite quotes by Stephen King, another author who is excellent at depicting real friendship: Maybe there aren't any such things as good friends or bad friends maybe there are just friends, people who stand by you when you're hurt and who help you feel not so lonely Maybe they're always worth being scared for, and hoping for, and living for Maybe worth dying for too, if that's what has to be No good friends No bad friends Only people you want, need to be with; people who build their houses in your heart.The Likeness is the second book in the series by Tana French, focusing on Cassie Maddox, the partner of Detective Rob Ryan from her first book, In The Woods It's a rather standalone work, however, despite being a part of a series The only reason you should even read In The Woods before this one is to appreciate the intense friendship that Cassie once shared with Rob, and her emotional scars and utter emptiness in the aftermath of the death of their friendship I used to think I sewed us together at the edges with my own hands, pulled the stitches tight and I could unpick them any time I wanted Now I think it always ran deeper than that and farther, underground; out of sight and way beyond my control.This book is not about Rob; he is only here in Cassie's memories It is about Cassie Maddox, the kickass Detective who in an attempt to pull herself together is on the verge of her own downward spiral, who in the attempt of recapturing of what she once had and creating something that she never had almost loses herself and everything that matters to her Yes, just like In The Woods, The Likeness is less of a crime whodunit (honestly, there's no reason why you would not figure out the killer's identity halfway through the book) and muchof a psychological f*ckery story, the attempt to explore people's inner desires and inner darkness and the consequences of that.I wanted to tell her that being loved is a talent too, that it takes as much guts and as much work as loving; that some people, for whatever reason, never learn the knack.If you have a problem with an unbelievable premise, this book will frustrate you to no end Luckily for me, I can easily accept the unbelievable setup (after all, one of my favorite writers is China Miéville 'nuff said) Cassie Maddox needs to go Undercover to impersonate a dead woman who, by a strange coincidence, happens to be Cassie's almost perfect mirror image, the titular Likeness And she needs to do that in front of dead woman's friends her surrogate family Not to mention that the dead woman in question has herself been impersonating Cassie's longforgotten undercover identity from the past Still with me? Still willing to see what happens next? Then this book should be just fine for you.Unbelievable premise or not, once Cassie gets into the middle of action Actually, scratch that The whole point is Cassie getting away from the action and smack into the middle of an unusually intense familylike friendship that seems so oldfashioned and tranquil and based on the defiance of the rules of this fastpaced commercialized world Our entire society is based on discontent People wantingandandBeing constantly dissatisfied with their homes, their bodies, their décor, their clothes, everything – taking it for granted that that’s the whole point of life Never to be satisfied If you are perfectly happy with what you got, especially if what you got isn’t even all the spectacular then you’re dangerous You’re breaking all the rules You’re undermining the sacred economy You’re challenging every assumption that society is built on.Daniel, Abby, Justin and Rafe And Lexie/Cassie still broken over Rob This environment becomes seductive It is beautiful and yet with every page, right after seducing you into loving this quintet and giving them your heart, Tana French builds up a feeling of the inevitable doom of all of this, of the darkness lurking right under the surface, of the fleeting nature of everything that Cassie comes to hold dear in this new life And this hurts hurts a lot since French is so excellent at making you really CARE about her characters Regardless of the advertising campaigns may tell us, we can't have it all Sacrifice is not an option, or an anachronism; it's a fact of life We all cut off our own limbs to burn on some altar The crucial thing is to choose an altar that's worth it and a limb you can accept losing To go consenting to the sacrifice.Cassie Maddox is a lovely character Hurt and broken, ready to latch onto something that has a promise of life and hope for her and yet fiercely strong, independent and very capable This is a woman who is shown to value true friendship and know love that is not exclusively romantic (unlike so many female protagonists in modern literature) She is a person who I'd be honored to be friends with, who I'd love to spend my evenings with, sipping wine and swapping stories (I'd skip on chainsmoking, however just reading about the neverending unfiltered cigarettes smoking makes me want to cough and get a chest xray to look for lung cancer).This much is mine, though: everything I did Someone else may have dealt the hand, but I picked it up off the table, I played every card, and I had my reasons.I would've decided exactly the same way if you'd been standing right here, I said I'm a big girl, Sam I don't need protecting.This is how I kept imagining the house they all lived in the cross between these two.And Ireland I love French's portrayal of Ireland, allowing me to feel like I actually know something about this country, allowing me to feel a bit of its spirit and heart, both good and bad aspects of it The little mentions of Irish women having to take the ship to England if they wanted an abortion for instance I actually had no idea, and this threw in a little reality check on my newly developed love for Irish landscapes Or the frequent allusions to the consequences of the economic boom the unaffordable housing, the deadend jobs, the worship of money all thrown in the middle of the story, firmly grounding it in the 'real world' the concept that some of the characters of this story do have an issue with This portrayal of Ireland, the setting of the scene for the story is so nicely achieved, creating an immersing atmosphere, and I applaud French for job welldone.Tana French paints a vivid and beautiful scenery in this book She creates moods that are almost palpable, dripping with life She may be a bit wordy at times but somehow that does not seem excessive And her characterization is just superb, in my humbled opinion I wanted to tell her that being loved is a talent too, that it takes as much guts and as much work as loving; that some people, for whatever reason, never learn the knack I loved this book even though it has stolen quite a few hours of sleep from me I loved everything about it, even the sadness it made me feel at the end I will miss it, and it will stay with me for quite a long time 5 stars.And here is my review for the first book in the series, In the Woods.The third book in the series, Faithful Place, is reviewed here And you can find the review for Broken Harbour, the fourth book in the series, right here My review of the fifth book, The Secret Place, is here. This is the second Tana French novel I've read in just over a week and I have to say I'm rapidly becoming a big fan The Likeness is an excellent story that is about psychology at least as much as (if notthan) it is about a murder mystery Like In The Woods, the book's greatest weakness is also perhaps its greatest strength: the comprehensive portrait of the characters and their personalities.French makes certain you know your narrator almost as well as you know yourself Their habits, fears, background, influences and desires are gradually laid out before you as the story progresses And despite some of the farfetched plot elements, Cassie Maddox and her life seemed very real to me But it's not just the main character who gets such treatment French builds up a detailed personality for everyone she introduces to make them seem like not just an accessory to the plot, but a person with thoughts, feelings and a past It's a technique carried out by a number of authors to varying degrees of success but French's novels are my personal favourite so far It only becomes a weakness when the plot stalls so we can explore the characters and I'm longing to know where the mystery will go next.The actual idea proposed by French here is rather ludicrous A girl looking exactly like Detective Cassie Maddox turns up dead And not only that, but the girl has assumed the fake identity which Cassie had played the part of a few years previously Coincidences like this surely do not actually happen Cassie then goes undercover as the girl Lexie Madison into the home she shares with four other students and attempts to find clues that will lead the police towards her killer Somehow, however, it doesn't seem to matter that the idea is totally unbelievable, Cassie in herself is convincing enough to carry this story We are soon dragged into a The Secret Historytype setup where we are introduced to an isolated circle of intelligent and weird students In my opinion, though, I found these characters and the story a lotentertaining and realistic than those in The Secret History Perhaps because their obsessions were with living simply and each other rather than a subject It becomes clear straight away that something is not quite right in the house and that there are a number of secrets being kept But does this mean one of them is the killer?Again French shows the mental impact of an investigation on her characters Cassie finds herself becoming increasingly involved on a very personal level and discovers just how hard it is to become someone without feeling a certain attachment to their life and friends In the end, even Cassie's loyalties to the police force are tested what if she could have what she's always wanted by being Lexie Madison? A family, people who love her, a sense of security would she want to give that up and go back to the stresses of her job?One last note: Sam Look, you're adorable and everything and I really don't want to see you get hurt but I'm holding out for Cassie and Rob That's all I have to say to you Please, Ms French? If Operation Mirror was a real thing, you would have to look out for the broken pieces on the floor Because I would have smashed it.Sigh Have you ever felt like you weren't reading the same book as your trusted, I might add friends, that you don't get it? Because right now I do Holy fuck I do And yet, I was so ready to love everything about The Likeness : In the Woods crushed me in the best way possible, the premise of this sequel, while rather ludicrous (shoot me, I don't believe for one second that someone could look so perfectly like me that she could fool my closed friends call me arrogant, but Please), still awoke my interest and pretty much fascinated me I thought I would love the shit out of this book I thought I would dive in the third story instantly after finishing it Ha Not right now I won't If you hear a crushing sound, it islikely to be my expectations painfully dying than any sob coming from me Why would I, when I felt nothing? First of all, I still very much enjoyed Tana French's writing, most of the time at least Sure, some of her descriptions made me itch to skim sometimes, but overall it was consistent with In the Woods : evocative and beautiful Moreover, as I said earlier, no matter how ridiculous and unbelievable the premise could be, I overlooked my problems with it and enjoyed it for what it was : a fascinating incursion into someone else's life Tana French hooked me on this one, this I can't dismiss And unfortunately, that's pretty much it The Likeness tried hard to be something it just wasn't A psychological thriller A characterdriven journey A dark diving into humans tricky mind Key word being : It tried For me, it failed.The problem is, if the premise was interesting, in my opinion the story wasn't near as developed as it could have been and my expectations were destroyed pretty fast It was just so boring, okay? I'm not one for blaming a book for being characterdriven, and many of my alltime favorites aren't actionpacked But for this kind of books to work, I need to feel something for the characters, to crack their layers and connect to them I didn't Not for even a second, and if any, this is the reason why I disliked The Likeness and am so mad Where the fuck is the great characterization? No, really Tell me So the Fantastic Four are weird? So their reactions are a little or a lot, depending on the moment odd? So they're hiding something? SO WHAT? When, and I mean it, do they become something else than what Cassie is telling us? WHEN? Afterthan 400 pages, I still can't picture one of them, I still can't say one interesting thing about them as characters, I still can't point to one hidden layer in their personalities They're transparent, and very much onedimensional to me In the end, if there's something I will never forgive them, it's this : they never surprised me Never Past the first chapters, they never showed me something I didn't already know or guess about them, but played their parts as the good little soldiers they were Granted, I didn't mind any of them, including Cassie But that's the thing, isn't it? Cassie changed through the story, alright, but I still can't get a sense of who she really is I didn't mind the characters, I didn't hate nor love them, I didn't care, they're not real to me and never have been I don't know them.Don't even get me started about Sam Who the fuck is this guy? For someone who's supposed to have such a big involvement in the MC's life, the only thing I can say about him is that he's a nice guy Cheers Finally, if I didn't abhor the ending, I can't say that I was satisfied either Whilst I wasn't frustrated with In the Woods's conclusion, and thought that the somewhat openness suited the story, everything in The Likeness's ending feels lazy to me Lazy, convenient, rushed, and worst than all that, it crushed any pretense I had of caring about these characters It crushed the tiny hope I still held that the ending would somehow made it worth it It didn't I'm not over Rob, though Actually, I contemplated the fact that my dislike of this book could come from a wicked sense of loyalty towards him I think that it'scomplicated than that, but it wouldn't be fair to dismiss this possibility, even if it's only part of the problem Caring for Rob didn't annihilate my ability to appreciate other characters, and it would be ridiculous of me to think so Yet his disappearance into thin air contributed to my frustration I'm lucid enough to acknowledge it, even if it sounds unfair, given that it wasn't his story I KNOW THAT Tell this to my broken heart Stubborn little shit.Now, what do I know? Most of my friends praised this book, so don't mind me too much I'm gonna go sulking alone in my corner PS I'm still completely devastated over Rob and I cannot let it go my heart ache when I think of the way he's hanging somewhere, so please tell me, should I lose all hope for him? PS2 (view spoiler)[I just realised that the call scene of book 1 must have taken place AFTER the end of book 2 (because Sam and Cassie are engaged) No I'm not crying No (hide spoiler)] 5 million starsThe Likeness is an extraordinary novel It is one of the 23 best books I have ever read After reading just two Dublin Murder Squad books this month, I have made a spot for Tana French as one of my 3 all time favorite authors She is a brilliant writer, and in my opinion has penned the quintessential psychological thriller with The Likeness How refreshing not to have the plot spotlighted on a kidnapped child, amnesia, or spousebeating This story focuses on the killing of a young woman and the cat and mouse games between the victim’s four housemates and an uncover detective who has moved into the house The detective, Cassie Maddox, who bears an uncanny likeness to the victim, also is not being completely honest with her superior The mind games are not only intriguing, but tensionfilled with a gradual buildup of almost unbearable pressure as the story progresses I had no idea where the author was taking us on this journey and loved the total unpredictability of the story Every sentence holds substance Readers who skim through novels are going to be at a disadvantage There were several times when I went back to reread a paragraph or even a page to make sure I had squeezed all the juice out of that passage This tale is not for action fans that want the facts, just the facts, bam bam bam This is for those who are not in a hurry and love to be slowly seduced by the gradual rise of dread and trepidation The ending is well done and the wrapup is leisurely and detailed, just the way I like it.Though the mystery is superb, what I loved most was the masterful character study of Cassie Maddox We are allowed wideopen access to Cassie’s thoughts and emotions Underlying this is the unparalleled consummate writing style of Ms French Cassie is faced with countless crossroads during the investigation, many of which require split second decisions Watching this process play out time and again was spellbinding Cassie was relatively unscarred prior to coming to Dublin except for the unfortunate early deaths of her beloved parents, but during In the Woods and The Likeness she was battered emotionally I found it nailbiting to see if she could hang on long enough to get the job done Some reviewers have downrated The Likeness because the reader must be willing to go with a couple of improbable circumstances necessary for the premise I recognized these issues, but was fortunate to be able to run with them and become totally captivated by the story The Dublin Murder Squad novels have quickly become one of my 34 most loved series Though the The Likeness can be read as a stand alone, with Ms French feeding back data from In the Woods on an asneeded basis, I strongly recommend In the Woods be read first in order to preserve the total richness of The Likeness Don’t miss this remarkable collection. First of all, and I just must say it, this is about as unlikely a premise as can be explained outside the realm of speculative fiction This is after all a contemporary (published in 2008) murder mystery set in a real live place on the planet Earth That said, and in the spirit of Ray Bradbury “let’s get in the rocket ship and go to Mars.”OK, now that that is out of the way, this is an AWESOME second book in Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series Not – not – not a sequel No French makes mention of 2007’s In the Woods and there are some of the same characters, and same Irish setting, and same police force Other than that, this is something altogether new.This features a coprotagonist from In the Woods: badass spunky Celtic detective Cassie Maddox She has taken some time off after the events from French’s first book, switched from the murder squad to domestic violence and is dating Sam Rob Ryan has moved on – he may as well be chasing the man in black across the wasteland – he’s mentioned sparingly.But prior to being in murder, she was an undercover cop, and she and Detective Frank Mackey created an undercover alias for Cassie – Lexie Madison Made her up She wasn’t real, just a fake name and ID so that Cassie could work undercover.So.Imagine everyone’s surprise when Lexie Madison – who bears a striking LIKENESS to Cassie winds up stabbed in an abandoned famine house in County Wicklow, south of Dublin.And so begins Tana French’s brilliant The Likeness A murder mystery in the same way that Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment is a crime fiction – it is that and so much .And just like Porfiry and Raskolnikov's inevitable confrontation is hypnotic and magnetic, so too is Cassie’s frenetic, improbable but terrifyingly seductive infiltration of a tight group of friends By the end French has us, hook, line, and sinker; we are enmeshed in her taut web of psychological intrigue and group dynamic thriller.As In the Woods, French here has created a microcosm of Irish and western civilization history wound up in a tight ball of sociological haveatyou that creeps in on the reader and leaves us tied up in a muddle of empathy and shared understanding.French evokes a sense of friendship and loyalty that can be easily understood, yet is intoxicating in its abstraction The five friends described – Daniel, Abby, Justin and Rafe and Lexie – have created a nirvana of twentysomething belonging They have constructed a couch pillow fortress meant to stand the test of time But just as any house of cards is doomed, French has revealed the fatal flaws in this group of friends that is heartbreaking in its inescapability.Also like In the Woods, the author has conjured a sense of Ireland’s past that becomes tangible, and in this context, weirdly becomes an anachronistic suspect Can the ancient scars of slavery and class distinction manifest into a motive for violence? Can the ghosts of Oppressions Past animate the spirit of malevolent reality? French suggests, plausibly, that old wounds are gothicly slow to heal and still capable of harm.French has also given us a unique dual mystery to solve – not only must we move towards a finding of the murderer, but here we must also establish who is the victim Recall that Lexie Madison was not real – she was a construct of an undercover police department, used briefly to investigate criminal activity When detective Maddox moved on to the Murder Squad, Lexie was a part in a play discarded and discontinued Until her very real cold body was found and colleagues of Cassie feverishly located her to discount that the discovered corpse was not her Here, French has crafted a voyeuristic treasure of unequaled complexity that serves as a thinly designed framing device for the inimitable investigation.Finally, the author has given us a psychological character study of loneliness and Donneesque severance Can we escape family and friends and all connections? What does it mean to lose parents, to be separated from our roots? Can we really just pick up and go and start over? These questions are explored in an introspective, thoughtful manner that invites further inquiry into solipsism long after the last page is turned.A very well written, entertaining and thought provoking work. It was easy to get behind Tana French's work and bear with some of the problems I had with it It had glitches like pacing and organizing the chapters in their order.But I was also pleasantly surprised by the ease with which I could recall the characters and their motivations.I thought the book deserved 4 stars, which is a score that I don't give willy nilly The Likeness earned this score I realize not many people will be swept by my recommendation, if it's not their favorite genre.For those who have stuck with this series, I think I'll join you in waiting for the next book and I hope the author does not lose her inspiration. (B) 77% | GoodNotes: Promises dark and edgy but turns up blunt Its holdover heroine's not nearly as interesting not being commented on. New York Times bestselling author Tana French, author of The Witch Elm, is “the most important crime novelist to emerge in the pastyears” The Washington Post and “inspires cultic devotion in readers” The New Yorker“Required reading for anyone who appreciates tough, unflinching intelligence and ingenious plotting” —The New York TimesIn the “compellingˮ The Boston Globe and “pitch perfectˮ Entertainment Weekly followup to Tana French’s runaway bestseller In the Woods, itʼs six months later and Cassie Maddox has transferred out of the Dublin Murder Squad with no plans to go back—until an urgent telephone call summons her to a grisly crime scene The victim looks exactly like Cassie and carries ID identifying herself as Alexandra Madison, an alias Cassie once used as an undercover cop Cassie must discover not only who killed this girl, but, important, who was this girl?