This is French's second novel. I read her first book, In The Woods, but I can't, for the life of me, remember what it was about. Apparently the main character in The Likeness, Cassie, was a primary character in her first book. That was totally lost on me. Fortunately, you don't need to have read In The Woods to know what is going on in The Likeness.
The Likeness takes place in Ireland, where a Trinity college student has been found murdered in a cabin. Although Cassie Maddox works in the domestic violence unit, she is called back to work undercover on the Murder Squad for this case. We get hints of her previous time on the murder squad, which she left after nearly getting killed while undercover. Despite her hesitation, Cassie is drawn to this case, partially because she is bored with her current unit, and also because the victim bears a striking resemblance to herself. So much so, that Cassie is able to pose as the victim, Lexie, and continue Lexie's life with her four unknowing roommates.
At its heart, this is a murder mystery, from the perspective of an undercover cop. We have the usual suspects, the not so usual suspects, and a lot of emotional baggage thrown in for many involved. The pace of the story is a bit slow. It took me several months to read the book - I would read it between other books. As the story evolved, I found myself more interested, but I can't say I was entrenched in it. I wasn't a fan of many of the main characters, either. Lexie's four roommates are all Trinity College students, academics. And if you want to stereotype an academic (no TV, listening to old music no one's ever heard of, peppering your conversations with literary references, blah blah blah) then you have that in this book. I was annoyed with the roommates' pretentiousness. My apologies if you do any of these things, but trust me, it's not to the extent as this lot. If it is, we're probably not friends anyway.
So I guess I kinda have a meh feeling toward this book. It wasn't horrible, but it is one I'll probably quickly forget. If you have nothing else to read, it will do. But don't go out of your way to buy it.