I don’t know about you, but I read mysteries and thrillers the same way I eat popcorn. In big, greedy handfuls, with bits and pieces falling to the wayside. Not really savoring it, just one goal in mind, get to the end. Eat it all, finish the bowl. I’m ashamed to say that alot of times when I read a thriller, a week later, I can hardly remember what I’ve read. I read them so quickly, they just don’t have time to create memories in my mind.
I am happy to say that it was not so with The Likeness: A Novel by Tara French.
Here is the requisite jacket blurb:
Six months after the events of In the Woods, Detective Cassie Maddox is still recovering. Transferred out of Dublin’s Murder squad at her own request, she vows never to return. That is, until her boyfriend, Detective Sam O’Neill, calls her one beautiful spring morning, urgently asking her to come to a murder scene in the small town of Glenskehy.
It isn’t until Cassie sees the body that she understands Sam’s insistence. The dead girl is Cassie’s double, and she carries ID identifying her as Alexandra Madison, an alias Cassie herself used years ago when she worked undercover. The question becomes not only who killed this girl, but who was this girl?
Frank Mackey, Cassie’s former undercover boss, sees the opportunity of a lifetime. Having played Lexie Madison once before, Cassie is in the perfect position to take her place. The police will tell the media and Lexie’s four housemates that the stab wound wasn’t fatal. And Cassie will go on living Lexie’s life until the killer is lured out to finish off the job.
It’s a brilliant idea, until Cassie finds herself more emotionally involved in Lexie’s life than she anticipated. Sharing the ramshackle old Whitethorn House with Lexie’s strange, tight-knit group of university friends, Cassie is slowly seduced by the victim’s way of life, by the thought of working on a murder investigation again, and by the mystery of the victim herself. As Cassie nears the truth about what happened to Lexie Madison and who she really was, the lines between professional and personal, work and play, reality and fantasy become desperately tangled, and Cassie finds herself on the edge of losing herself forever.
I think it was the setting of the story that really set this apart from just a plain old mystery to me. The housemates in this story share this lovely old home. They don’t watch television or play on a computer, instead they spend their time fixing up the house, playing old-fashioned games and cards, talking, and reading. So, while I was keeping tabs on the mystery, I was also enjoying the lifestyle of the characters. Usually I read thrillers because I want to be caught up in the mystery and I read other books because I want to be caught up in the story and the characters, this book gave me both. This was my first book for the Notable Books Challenge, and so far I am off to a great start!
I highly recommend it, giving it 5 out 5 stars. (I’ve already forgotten how to make stars…sad, but true).