“There's a Spanish proverb," he said, "that's always fascinated me. "Take what you want and pay for it, says God.'" "I don't believe in God," … "but that principle seems, to me, to have a divinity of its own; a kind of blazing purity. What could be simpler, or more crucial? You can have anything you want, as long as you accept that there is a price and that you will have to pay it.”In spite of the fact that the premise of The Likeness requires a certain amount of suspension of belief, I loved this book and I can say without reservation that I’m a big fan of Tana French. Shifting to a new narrator, Detective Cassie Maddox, French injects The Likeness with enough variance from In the Woods to keep it fresh while retaining her beautifully intricate style. Cassie’s voice is different to Rob’s – but her storytelling is equally engaging, vaguely hypnotic, drawing the reader into her strange and slightly claustrophobic story. Once again, this isn’t a dry police procedural but a dark, psychological thriller that is engaging, yet elusive, never quite giving full answers and constantly moving one step ahead. French’s concept, while arguably unrealistic, is chilling enough that the probability of these events occurring never seems to matter all that much. (Also, the theory of the doppelganger is filed under “Things That Freak Me Out to an Unreasonable Degree” in my brain, so yeah, there was no chance of me brushing this book off.) The story is unsettling, particularly in the atmosphere French creates in Whitethorn House. There’s something seductive and appealing about this small, isolated world – the bubble of seclusion sheltering its unusual family unit - yet also slightly off. The balance is beautifully executed, never veering into heavy-handed theatrics, but imbued with a slightly gothic ambience. French weaves together two stories: Lexie’s and Cassie’s, twisting them around each other until they’re inseparable. Lexie’s death and Cassie’s life take on an almost symbiotic nature – the further the mystery of the murder is unravelled, the deeper Cassie is pushed into her own internal issues, and the lines between the two women blur and shift. ”I used to think I sewed us together at the edges with my own hands, pulled the stitches tight and I could unpick them any time I wanted. Now I think it always ran deeper than that and farther, underground; out of sight and way beyond my control.”I still can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something about French’s books that crawls into my head and makes me not want to put them down. I’m no judge of crime fiction, but I think I can appreciate good writing, and I think this is it.