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Two New Book Responses

Keys to the Repository

Technically, this is not a novel. Rather, this is a guide for the Blue Bloods Series by Melissa de la Cruz. In it, there are character biographies, a glossary of terms, and other useful information to keep the plotlines and characters in the series straight. Plus, there are a few short stories as well that are missing chapters or further insights into characters.

Unlike some readers, I went into this book knowing full well exactly what it was, so I wasn't disappointed. However, like some readers, if I had purchased it, thinking that it would be the next novel in the series, I would have been disappointed. Basically, this book is for someone who is an avid Blue Bloods fan, someone who wants to own the complete collection. Even with that said, though - and this is coming from an obsessive bibliophile, I wouldn't pay full price for the guidebook. Rather, I would wait until it was on sale (like I did) and buy it that way. Realistically, there just isn't enough substance in the publication to warrant spending full price.

A head's up, though, for all the Schuyler/Jack fans: there are couple short stories which are a must read for this couple - one, Schuyler and Jack's first meeting at their secret apartment and, two, their final meeting at their secret apartment when Schuyler leaves him.

The Likeness

This is the second book by Tana French. Her first - Into the Woods, I also read. However, leaving that aside, let's focus on this work. It's a murder mystery but told in a very unconventional manner. This will soon become apparent once I delve into a brief summary of the book. Before that, though, just know that this is richly written novel. The characters are intricately formed, the plotline is complex, and I can honestly say that I have never read another mystery quite like it. Needless to say, I enjoyed this book tremendously. It was one that was meant to be savored, read slowly so that every nuance could be appreciated, one that, when the last page was turned, I wanted more, despite the fact that I was satisfied with the conclusion and felt as though the storyline had technically been completed. Anyway....

In this work, French presents a cop who at one point worked in both Undercovers and Murder but had since transferred into Domestic Violence due to a less than savory case which was still haunting her. While in Undercovers, she and her superior created an identity, one that she assumed for months until she was stabbed and had to be pulled out of the investigation. Years later, Cassie has practically forgotten that girl, but she is quickly reminded of her own past when a dead body is found, one that is a near dead ringer for her. The case becomes even more insanely haunting when the cops discover that the corpse used Cassie's old Undercover identity. So, in order to solve the case, Cassie must re-assume her previous role, only this time she's not creating Lexie Madison; she's reforming her to reflect someone else's interpretation of the woman.

To do this, Cassie - as Lexie - goes to live with four other English doctorate students. They are an odd bunch, extremely intelligent and private, yet, at the same time, their company is something that Cassie finds herself blossoming under, something that she finds herself responding to and appreciating. She becomes emotionally involved with her suspects, which only then causes further complications in her real life, both with her career and with her own relationships, particularly that which she shares with her boyfriend, the lead investigator on the case, Sam. It turns out that the role of Lexie Madison was not the first assumed identity by the victim, so this just sends the investigation spiraling further out of control. Through lies, deception, and misdirection, Cassie - as Lexie - slowly unravels the truth, only to mar her own life up to the point where she becomes unsure if she'll be able to return to the person she was before she joined the case.

In between all this intrigue and intense characterization, there is also the lush experience of getting to immerse one's self into an entirely different culture. Because the novel takes place in Ireland, the storyline is relatable, but, at the same time, it also feels like you're on an actual journey. When reading, you leave your own setting behind and visit Dublin (and its surrounding area), something that only, in my opinion, the best books can afford their readers. Bottom Line: if you like mysteries, if you like good novels, if you prefer character driven storylines versus plot driven storylines, READ THE LIKENESS. I don't think I can be any more emphatic, so, hopefully, you'll take my advice.


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January 2014


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