The Likeness

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The Likeness
The Likeness.jpg
AuthorTana French
SeriesDublin Murder Squad
PublisherViking Penguin
Publication date
17 July 2008
Media typePrint (paperback)
823/.92 22
Followed byFaithful Place 

The Likeness is a 2008 mystery novel by Tana French. Set in Ireland, it is the second volume in French's Dublin Murder Squad series.

Plot summary[edit]

The story follows the efforts of detective Cassie Maddox to determine the circumstances surrounding the death of Lexie Madison, a young woman who is her doppelgänger.[1] The dead woman not only resembles Cassie but also was living under an alias the detective used in an earlier undercover assignment. A senior police officer, Frank Mackey, convinces Cassie to impersonate the dead woman to investigate her death and to discover who she really was.

As the investigation proceeds, Cassie becomes consumed by her impersonation of the murder victim. She forms deep bonds with the dead girl’s four housemates, who are suspects in the murder. Boundaries begin to blur between Cassie's real and undercover identities.

Critical reception[edit]

In 2009 the book was shortlisted for the first annual Ireland AM Crime Fiction Award.[2]

The Irish Independent praised the "elegance and insight" of French's writing and described the book as "a brilliant thriller, beautifully written."[3] Laura Miller of included the book among the ten on the Salon Book Awards 2008, writing that "The hypnotic prose and eerie atmosphere conspire to make this ostensible mystery novel much, much more than it appears to be."[4] In a more critical vein, Janet Maslin of The New York Times commented that French "could have achieved the same effects much more succinctly in a more tightly edited version of this same story. But Cassie herself remains a strong enough character to sustain interest."[1]


Cassie Maddox was a character in French's 2007 In the Woods. Her partner in In the Woods, Adam "Rob" Ryan, is mentioned briefly in The Likeness. Frank Mackey appears in French's later novels Faithful Place (2010) and The Secret Place (2014).


  1. ^ a b Maslin, Janet (17 July 2008). "The Case of the Dead Doppelgänger Turns a Detective's Life Inside Out". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
  2. ^ Burke, Declan (12 April 2009). "Showdown for the Irish cream of crime writers". Irish Independent. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
  3. ^ McWeeney, Myles (26 July 2008). "Tana French and the Trinity murderthe likeness". Irish Independent. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
  4. ^ Miller, Laura (8 December 2008). "Salon Book Awards 2008". Retrieved 25 November 2011.

External links[edit]