Cover image and synopsis from Goodreads:
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 lived 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.
I loved In the Woods, and as soon as I was finished reading it, I started this book.
I loved Cassie from In the Woods, so I was really happy to see that she was the protagonist of The Likeness. The premise of this story was also really intriguing: Cassie goes undercover posing as Lexie, a girl who has been murdered (although of course part of her ‘cover’ is that she survived the attempt on her life), and moves in with the girl’s roommates.
While I found this book as tough to put down as In the Woods, it was a little difficult for me to fully grasp that Cassie was living with people who believed that she was their friend and roommate. I just couldn’t quite wrap my mind around that, although I like the idea of it. I just found myself constantly wondering how these people could possibly believe that Cassie was their friend, and I know that they tried to get around that by saying that due to her injuries, Lexie’s memory had some gaps in it, including the night of the attack on her, but it was always in the back of my mind.
As for Lexie’s friends, I got a total The Secret History vibe from them: intelligent university students who seem to have no one but each other, and who, to be honest, I mostly disliked. And when Cassie-as-Lexie started to seem as though she really cared for them, she started making some choices that super frustrated me! Like In the Woods, I often found myself arguing with the book, but not in a bad way. More in a I cared about Cassie and didn’t want her to get hurt way.
The mystery itself was really interesting, and I really enjoyed the denouement. This was definitely a page-turner, but not my favourite of Tana French’s.