The Likeness: A Novel
by Tana French
Paperback- $13.96

New York Times bestselling author Tana French, author of The Witch Elm, is “the most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 ...

Overall rating:


How would you rate this book?

Member ratings

  "The Likeness" by storme (see profile) 10/03/09

The SMS Readers really liked this book. A couple of us had read "In the Woods" first and we recommend reading it first. We were able to piece together a few crossovers for the other members w/o giving "In the Woods" away. Tana French's writing style is interesting. Somewhat poetic, but with Irish influence. Lexi and Cassie being so similar was a little far-fetched. We liked the characters and found them to be very needy. But it worked for them on the surface. Daniel was interesting and very controlling. He had a very clever way of choosing his "friends". The dialogue at times was odd. Overall the story was good and kept you hooked. We recommend "The Likeness" It is very enjoyable and a good read. We would read another novel by Tana French.

  "Entertaining" by mgendron (see profile) 10/03/09

An interesting dilemma befalls this detective and takes her one a road not often traveled!

  "The Likeness" by Pansey (see profile) 10/03/09

I enjoyed the story and the characters involved. Read Into the Woods first to get a feel for the main character and what she has been through and why she does what she does. It is not necessary but is good for background . Plus I enjoyed it so much I couldn't wait to get to The Likeness.

  "The Likeness" by kdosburn2 (see profile) 12/07/09

This book generated some lively discussion for our club. I thought there were some parts of the story I found unconvincing, but it held my interest and was not slow or dull. Our group had no shortage of questions or comments on different aspects of the characters or the story. I think, overall, it was a "good read" for us.

  "The Likeness" by Leeny (see profile) 02/14/10

Since mysteries aren't my thing i found the novel boring and I finally started skimming through it so I may have missed some relevant parts, but being in a book club makes a person pick up a book that you may not read otherwise.

  "The Likeness-Interesting and Intriguing" by JenniferJennings (see profile) 10/15/10

  "The Likeness" by greymare (see profile) 11/23/10

  "I liked it.y" by fsteinzeig (see profile) 01/28/11

  "Undercover cop loses her objectivity." by corron (see profile) 03/22/12

Meh. Couldn't buy the premise but went along for the ride. "Liked" the book but would have preferred to have spent my reading time on something more rewarding.

  "The Likeness" by mkatz (see profile) 03/22/12

I think there are better mysteries out there. Just didn't seem realistic enough, but it was not a bad read.

  "The likeness" by PattiAL (see profile) 11/15/12

The situation was not really plausible. The relationships between the characters were a little kinky.
However, the story kept my interest, and French's writing was wonderful as usual.

  "" by mjhk516 (see profile) 10/14/15

  "" by maddief (see profile) 02/23/17

  "Boring and Slow" by MarlaTapper (see profile) 02/28/17

After 250 pages, I just didn't care whodunnit. Editor, you dropped the ball! Too slow!

  "" by KarenUK (see profile) 03/14/17

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 06/10/17

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 04/22/19

I found the premise so implausible that I gave up on trying to take it seriously and simply enjoyed what I could. There was some solid descriptive passages to set the scenes and relationships.

  "The narrator really enhances the book, capturing the attention of the reader." by thewanderingjew (see profile) 03/28/22

The Likeness-A Novel, Tara French, author; Heather O’Neill, narrator
This very engaging novel has a cryptic theme. Does everyone have a double? Is it possible to truly step into the shoes of our lookalike? Kathy Maddox is a police officer. In a past undercover investigation gone wrong, she had created the role of Lexie (Alexandra) Madison, a fake persona, in order to infiltrate a drug ring. When a young woman, coincidentally named Lexie Madison, turns up dead, she appears to be Kathy’s double. Who is the person who is now playing the role of Lexie Madison? Did her murderer think she was actually the Lexie Madison of that undercover drug investigation? Was it a case of mistaken identity or was this just a random murder, and if so, why?
Kathy’s boyfriend, Sam O’Neill, is on the murder squad. He had quite a shock when he found the body of this young woman, and at first, thought it was the woman he loved. Then he wondered, why was this woman murdered? Was Kathy safe? Frank Mackey was another investigator there. He worked with the Undercover Division. He wanted Kathy to recreate the role of Lexie Madison in order to find out why she was murdered, who was the murderer, and what was the dead woman’s true identity? Sam thought it was too dangerous and didn’t want her to do it, but Kathy thought if they might be after her, she should do it, and she believed she could safely step into the role, solve the murder mystery, and restore her reputation. She was wired up, after she had supposedly recovered from her critical stab wound, and she moved into the old house that Lexie and the four roommates now owned and occupied.
The house was inherited by Daniel March. He gave an equal share of it to each of them, and they slowly began to restore it. They had little money, so it was a slow process, but it seemed like a happy, joint venture. At first, however, Whitethorn House was in a state that could only be described as dilapidated. It was decaying and had quite often been the victim of vandalism. Why didn’t Daniel include his cousin Ned, who had wanted to sell the house and develop the land? Why did John Naylor want to frighten them away? Why didn’t the village of Glenskehy welcome them? Who was the mysterious “N” that was acquainted with Lexie, and why did they know each other? So many questions arose, so many missing answers were sought.
The other roommates, in addition to Lexie, were Justin Mannering who was very emotional, shy and also gay, Rafe (Raphael) Hyland who was quick tempered, Abby (Abigail) Stone, who seemed to be the calming element in the group, the one to turn to when things got out of hand; she was the only other female in the quintuplet of roommates. All five agreed that there would be no talk of their pasts, and all were connected in some way to Trinity College. It turned out that Lexie had multiple identities and personalities. She was a chameleon.
Who was the real Lexie and what motivated her was one of the main themes of the mystery. Another concerned moral questions. Was the investigation ethical? Would it turn up the answers sought? Would it fail or succeed? The book is long, and in many ways, it needed some editing since it seemed as if several of the tangents could have been books on their own. Who was sabotaging the group’s efforts? Who else wanted the house and why? What was troubling Lexie? What was she planning secretly? Were there any romantic involvements in the house? Did they really get along? Was one of them the murderer? Were they all innocent? Lexie was not a straight arrow. She was an enigma, but each of the characters carried their own secret burdens and were misfits of sorts.
There is a great deal of misdirection in this novel, and there were a bit too many twists and turns. Grudges and hidden secrets dominated the narrative. Deception was a common trait of several characters. Daniel seemed to be the one who was the level-headed, intellectual leader of the group, always ready with a solution or a plan for one. Is he always really cool, calm and collected, always sure of himself and his plans, or is it an act? Abby adored him. Did Rafe and Justin also adore him? What about Lexie? Although they appeared, on the surface to have the perfect arrangement, happily living together in harmony, were cracks in their relationship developing?
While the book is exciting, parts of the story were overdeveloped and some characters were underdeveloped, like Naylor and Ned. The investigation alone, with the role of a double, was enough to make the book completely interesting, so for me, a little too much time was spent on the tangents that soon became tedious. They often took over some of the narrative and distracted from the main plot. Frank’s love life seemed to be a trivial addition, and Lexie’s past became too convoluted.
Still, in the end, the story captured and held my interest. Did the killer really want to murder Lexie or was it simply an accident? Did Kathy/Lexie lose sight of her purpose, at some point, in her desire to merge with the group? Did she run the risk of betraying the very law enforcement group she was working for? Was she compromising the entire investigation or actually solving the mystery? The novel knits together many disparate themes.

Remember me

Now serving over 80,000 book clubs & ready to welcome yours. Join us and get the Top Book Club Picks of 2022 (so far).


Get free weekly updates on top club picks, book giveaways, author events and more
Please wait...