Author: Tana French
Original language: English
The eagerly anticipated follow-up to the New York Times bestselling psychological thriller In the Woods Six months after the events of In the Woods, Detective Cassie Maddox is still trying to recover. She?s transferred out of the murder squad and started a relationship with Detective Sam O?Neill, but she?s too badly shaken to make a commitment to him or to her career. Then Sam calls her to the scene of his new case: a young woman found stabbed to death in a small town outside Dublin. The dead girl?s ID says her name is Lexie Madison?the identity Cassie used years ago as an undercover detective?and she looks exactly like Cassie. With no leads, no suspects, and no clue to Lexie?s real identity, Cassie?s old undercover boss, Frank Mackey, spots the opportunity of a lifetime. They can say that the stab wound wasn?t fatal and send Cassie undercover in her place to find out information that the police never would and to tempt the killer out of hiding. At first Cassie thinks the idea is crazy, but she is seduced by the prospect of working on a murder investigation again and by the idea of assuming the victim?s identity as a graduate student with a cozy group of friends. As she is drawn into Lexie?s world, Cassie realizes that the girl?s secrets run deeper than anyone imagined. Her friends are becoming suspicious, Sam has discovered a generations-old feud involving the old house the students live in, and Frank is starting to suspect that Cassie?s growing emotional involvement could put the whole investigation at risk. Another gripping psychological thriller featuring the headstrong protagonist we?ve come to love, from an author who has proven that she can deliver.
Tana French’s second novel, The Likeness, is a suspenseful and extremely enjoyable read. Like her first (Into the Woods), it is set in and around Dublin, Ireland. The story entails an investigation of a homicide (it is a mystery, after all), but it also has something more: an inquiry into the nature of human selfhood.
Cassie Maddox used to be a detective on the Murder Squad but transferred to Domestic Violence (DV) about six months ago. Murder investigation is not the only thing she’s left behind; she also spent time as an undercover agent. In her mid-twenties at the time, she was young enough to pass for a college student and had spent nine months posing as an undergraduate named Lexie Madison, investigating a drug ring. Unfortunately, Cassie’s career as Lexie came to an abrupt end when she was stabbed.
Cassie is getting ready to head to DV one day when she gets a call from her boyfriend Sam, who still works in Murder. Could she come to a crime scene, right away? Puzzled, Cassie goes to an abandoned two-room house in the rural town of Glenskehy, where a body was found. Frank Mackey, with whom she had worked on the undercover case, is there as well. Cassie is startled by what she finds: the victim could have been her twin sister. What’s worse, the girl’s ID says her name is Lexie Madison. Here is a mystery twice over: who killed this girl, and who is she, really? Lexie Madison never existed except as an undercover front.
Whoever the girl was, she had constructed a life for herself as Lexie, a graduate student in English. With four fellow students, she shared the “big house” in town (a mansion that one of the students inherited), and judging from the videos found on her phone, they were as thick as thieves. Brought in for questioning, the four say they were together the night Lexie died and hadn’t left the house. Lexie had gone on her customary nightly walk and simply never returned.
Stymied in the investigation, Frank convinces first Sam and then Cassie that the only way to find out what happened is to send Cassie undercover as Lexie. It is a once-in-a-career opportunity for undercover work but very dangerous. Frank concocts a story that Lexie survived the stabbing and, now recovered from being in a coma, is returning home. They drop her off at the house, with the four friends waiting, and the perilous charade begins. Cassie must work to find out what happened without giving herself away by the things she doesn’t know.