Six months after the events of In the Woods, Detective Cassie Maddox is still trying to recover. Shes transferred out of the murder squad and started a relationship with Detective Sam ONeill, but shes too badly shaken to make a commitment to him or to her career. Then Sam calls her to the scene of his new case: a young woman found stabbed to death in a small town outside Dublin. The dead girls ID says her name is Lexie Madison the identity Cassie used years ago as an undercover detective and she looks exactly like Cassie.
With no leads, no suspects, and no clue to Lexies real identity, Cassies old undercover boss, Frank Mackey, spots the opportunity of a lifetime. They can say that the stab wound wasnt fatal and send Cassie undercover in her place to find out information that the police never would and to tempt the killer out of hiding. At first Cassie thinks the idea is crazy, but she is seduced by the prospect of working on a murder investigation again and by the idea of assuming the victims identity as a graduate student with a cozy group of friends.
As she is drawn into Lexies world, Cassie realizes that the girls secrets run deeper than anyone imagined. Her friends are becoming suspicious, Sam has discovered a generations-old feud involving the old house the students lived in, and Frank is starting to suspect that Cassies growing emotional involvement could put the whole investigation at risk. Another gripping psychological thriller featuring the headstrong protagonist weve come to love, from an author who has proven that she can deliver.
Some nights, if Im sleeping on my own, I still dream about Whitethorn House. In the dream its always spring, cool fine light with a late-afternoon haze. I climb the worn stone steps and knock on the doorthat great brass knocker, going black with age and heavy enough to startle you every timeand an old woman with an apron and a deft, uncompromising face lets me in. Then she hangs the big rusted key back on her belt and walks away down the drive, under the falling cherry blossom, and I close the door behind her.
The house is always empty. The bedrooms are bare and bright, only my footsteps echoing off the floorboards, circling up through the sun and the dust motes to the high ceilings. Smell of wild hyacinths, drifting through the wideopen windows, and of beeswax polish. Chips of white paint flaking off the window sashes and a tendril of ivy swaying in over the sill. Wood doves, lazy somewhere outside.
In the sitting room the piano is open, wood ...
Readers expecting a light distracting English/Irish mystery might be a bit disappointed in this book. I found myself reading and rereading passages to reassure myself that I knew what events were occurring and why. This did not detract from the book's essential story but did make it more than light reading. Tana French's style of writing is unique to her in its intensity and her fascination with developing characters. After reading her first book, In the Woods, and The Likeness, I will need a romp with a few English tea-drinking murderers who are not complex and have nothing to hide, before I tackle her next book. But I am certain of one thing…I will tackle it!
(Reviewed by Patty Magyar).
Full Review (912 words).
When Cassie sees a woman lying stabbed to death who looks exactly like her, with an ID that matches the identity she used for years as an undercover detective, it seems clear that she is looking at her own doppelganger.
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