Oh Tana French, you are so fresh! So witty! So often walking the fine line between really lovely language and Marissa Pessl Syndrome, but never falling over. Way to reign it in.
If you loved In The Woods but felt jilted by the ending (and if this isn’t you on both counts, then I don’t know what your problem is), then The Likeness will suit you fine. Everything is resolved by the back cover, and there are no looming, stalking Bumps In The Night or unexplained child-murders. If you loved In The Woods but were more eeked out than you could handle by the heebie-jinks, everything is above-board (if a little weird at times) here. If you loved In The Woods but hated Rob Ryan, good news! He is nothing but a sour memory, and Cassie takes center stage.
Doing what, you ask?
I tell. Cassie Maddox, former murder detective, loses her shit and transfers to Domestic Violence because it’s easier to deal with (!). But then her boyfriend (who’s on the Murder Squad) calls her in to a crime scene and HOTDAMN THE DEAD GIRL HAS HER FACE! And also her name. Not, like, the one she’s has now, but the one she used that time she went undercover as Lexie Madison, gullible college stool pigeon, to blow the whistle on that drug ring.
SO! Cassie goes back undercover as Lexie, waltzing into Lexie’s weird commune-style home all, Hey there Incredibly Intimate Roommates! I was just in a hypothermic coma, which is why they thought I was dead. Also, I have some memory loss, so don’t mind me if I forget who stabbed me. Let’s just go on with our lives and try to pretend this never happened. I’ll be over here searching for clues when your backs are turned.
Cassie settles in with her four roommates and tries to sort out a.) who the knife-happy maniac was, and b.) who the hell this girl walking around with her face and her old-fake-name actually is. Before she knows it, she’s all snuggled ’round in this cozy little alterna-universe where roommates get along. And this is the thing: French makes you love the things she wants you to love. It’s not a choice. You will adore this little hippie family, because they are SO DAMNED ADORABLE! But there is always a worm in the apple, and she never lets you forget it.
I swear to you, this book will give you ulcers. What if Cassie slips up and forgets that she’s supposed to hate onions? What if she gets too snug, and shuffles off her cop suit to become Lexie Madison for reals and for evers? What if the stabber was someone INSIDE THE HOUSE!??!?! Where are my heart pills?
I usually crack open the Second Book By An Author Whose First Book I Loved with some fear and trepidation, and that went doubly so for The Likeness because everyone’s been frothing at the mouth about it and my expectations were lengthy. Expect away, friends! Tana can take it.
The Likeness keeps all nine of its caterpillars.