The Likeness by Tana French
My rating: 4/5 cats
okay, i enjoyed this tana french book much more than the first one. and against all odds; the premise of this book is so staggeringly unbelievable.check it out: so there’s a murrrrrder, and the body is that of a young woman who looks just like detective cassie maddox! awesome! so why doesn’t she just pretend to be the murdered girl, slip unnoticed into her life, and take it from there? because, dummy, her “life” is made up solely of a group of four other insular postgrad nerds who reside in a huge crumbling house together, and live only for each other without any boundary issues, and with the fiercely intense loyalty that’s mostly only seen in the conjoined, and wouldn’t they notice the difference?
but she’s a really good undercover police detective, so…
i don’t care, it works, it’s fun. and it comes closer to secret history than most others claiming to be the same, but has the humility not to broadcast it on the jacket.
rewriting secret history has become a goal for suspense writers everywhere, and anytime anyone writes a book featuring intelligent young people who share secrets and there is a murder, the great donna tartt is invoked. and i remember really liking secret history, so i always read the impostors. this one, for all its necessary suspensions of disbelief, is not a bad comparison. in fact, this reminded me of the house at midnight, just in the characters’ dynamics, and the house, of course, and that was one of the better “tartty” books i have read. there are huge logic gaps and “come on!” moments, but it is a quick read and she writes claustrophobic tension very well. i had some time to kill before work yesterday and was cold and poor, so i just took the 7 train alll the way out and then alll the way back to read this – it’s completely engrossing, as long as you suppress your protests.
just one of the guys
desperately seeking susan
weekend at bernie’s
in the 80’s these secret-identity movies were ubiquitous. they all involved the seemingly implausible plot of being able to fool others into believing you were a different age, gender, race, or that you were, you know, alive.
and if we could believe it in the 80’s we can believe it now. because let’s face it, dustin hoffman wasn’t fooling anyone.
i always thought that tana french would be more psychologically complicated literary fiction than a genre-book. blame it on the trade paperback format or the awards or the refined cover art; as opposed to the more cartoony norm:
(do not click to look inside)
(almost forgot about this one – it may be my favorite. i wish it was bigger (like all girls) because mrs. jeffries hiding is pretty funny/creepy)
but it’s a mystery novel, pure and simple; suspects “confess” in long speeches, every glance can be analyzed and stripped of its meaning, detectives pull out all the interrogation clichés and there’s nothing wrong with that, because it is good old fashioned leisure reading. and that’s the genius of its presentation, and what i have learned from the identity-movies of the 80’s. if this book ever witnessed a crime, it could just be put into witness protection program with the other trade paperbacks in the general fiction/literature section, and be more or less undetectable.
unless i was on the case…