About the Book
The follow-up to Tana French’s bestselling debut In the Woods finds Detective Cassie Maddox shaken from the events of a dangerous murder investigation and working a desk job in Domestic Violence at police headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. She’s just settling into her new suits and a quieter, if less satisfying, life when her boyfriend Detective Sam O’Neill calls her to the scene of a murder. Cassie looks at the victim, stabbed in the chest and left for dead in a ramshackle rural cottage, and finds her mirror image. Identification reveals the victim’s name is Lexie Madison --- the very same handle Cassie once used as an undercover agent.
With no leads or suspects to speak of, Cassie’s boss, Frank Mackey, recognizes a unique opportunity: they can pretend that Lexie survived the stabbing and Cassie can go undercover as Lexie to solve the crime. At first, Cassie is reluctant to play along, but as she learns more about the case --- and its mysterious victim --- she realizes that the only way to exorcise the dead girl from her mind is to go into her life and find out what happened to her.
Posing as Lexie, Cassie becomes a graduate student at Trinity College and moves in with Lexie’s four roommates, a close but odd and anachronistic bunch sharing and rehabbing an old country estate named Whitethorn House. The roommates, accepting her story, seem to receive Lexie’s return warmly and their idyllic life is practically a vacation for Cassie. Amid the lively crew, the guarded detective, orphaned at an early age, finds an unexpected sense of belonging. Soon, though, Cassie learns that Whitethorn is the subject of local lore and a decades-long target of village hostility. And as Cassie goes deeper into Lexie’s world she realizes that Lexie’s secrets may be more dangerous than anyone imagined. Meanwhile, Frank and Sam worry that Cassie is getting a little too close to Lexie for comfort, endangering the investigation and, quite possibly, her own life in the process.
With her richly nuanced characters and deep psychological insight, Tana French explores themes of self-invention, deception, and the ways truth can emerge from even the most convincing disguises. Set against a backdrop of tightly knit class and cultural tensions, The Likeness goes beyond the conventions of the whodunit to comment on the inequities and misguided values of modern society. In her second novel, French, a seasoned actress, proves that she’s also a writer of distinction. Her taut and riveting narrative enchants and thrills at every turn.