Thursday, March 05, 2009

Irish author Tana French has done it again with her sophomore effort, The Likeness. Detective Cassie Maddox, from French's first novel, In the Woods, returns smarter and sassier than ever. Listen to this plot: Years ago, before her stint in the Murder division, Cassie did an undercover job, posing as Alexandra (Lexie) Madison in an attempt to bust some drug dealers. She was stabbed in that job, was pulled out of undercover, and Lexie Madison's created identity was left hanging in the wind. Now, several years later, a body has turned up in a rural community near Dublin, victim of a stabbing, and guess what her name is? Lexie Madison. And, to make the story even more fantastic, the dead woman is a dead ringer (pun intended) for Cassie herself. In a stroke of daring, Cassie's old boss asks her to go undercover yet again, as Lexie Madison. They pretend that the dead woman was actually just injured and comotose, and Cassie steps into "Lexie's" life, into a household of four PhD students who are definitely hiding something. The story is a fascinating premise, and French pulls it off. She is so talented at character development, enabling you to get right inside Cassie's head. This is not your average crime novel. It will keep you reading late into the night.

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