I almost literally could not put down Tana French’s first book, In the Woods. It gripped me so firmly that I read all 460-some pages in just over a day so I started The Likeness with very high expectations; expectations that at first it couldn’t live up to. The premise, that detective Cassie Maddox could slip undercover into the life of a murder victim without the victim’s best friends detecting anything amiss, felt so unfeasible I kept setting the book aside and couldn’t sink into the story. But The Likeness wouldn’t stay set aside; I kept picking it back up, each time enjoying the beautiful language, the intriguing, compelling characterizations, the Irish small town and university settings, and the skillful, suspenseful weaving of past and present until I was completely caught and forgave and forgot the improbable set up. Cassie is ripe for professional and personal misjudgments. She has no close family, she recently lost her partner, she’s not ready to deepen her relationship with her new boyfriend and then she’s thrown undercover, using the identity of a murder victim, into the home of a family-like group of post-grad students whose accepting, simple lifestyle tempts her to stay undercover with them forever. But nothing is simple when someone’s been murdered. The Likeness is ultimately another haunting book, and I will definitely be trying its sequel, The Faithful Place.