After a murder investigation that completely destroyed her relationship with her detective partner and best friend, Dublin murder detective Cassie Maddox moved to the Domestic Violence unit and took up target shooting to deal with her feelings of anxiety. She’s therefore surprised when her boyfriend, Sam O’Neill calls her from a murder site, and asks her to come meet him, but to make sure she wears sunglasses and a hat or some such, to disguise her appearance a bit.
Once Cassie sees the victim, she understands not only why Sam sounded so shaken on the phone, but why he wanted her to come down in person. The murder victim looks exactly like Cassie, and her ID claims that she is “Alexandra Madison”. This is impossible, as Alexandra “Lexi” Madison was a fake identity Cassie and her boss created from scratch for an undercover drug case Cassie was part of several years ago. The dead young woman could be Cassie’s identical twin, only Cassie is an only child, with no knowledge of any family connection that could explain the similarities.
Her former boss from Undercover, Frank Mackay is also on the scene, bursting with excitement because of the crazy idea he’s concocted. He wants to use Cassie’s uncanny resemblance to the murder victim to go undercover, pretending to be “Lexi” and try to ferret out who the killer is by interacting with all the people in the victim’s life. He wants to tell everyone that Lexi Madison survived her stabbing and has been comatose, giving Cassie time to study the victim carefully. Then he wants her to move in with Lexi’s house mates, go to her classes and basically pretend to be her for a few weeks to see what comes up. Hopefully the killer will be so rattled, they reveal themselves in some way.
Sam is absolutely appalled. Cassie initially refuses, but Frank is relentless and uses every bit of his former hold on Cassie to cajole, lure and entice her. He’s extremely observant and knows Cassie well, seeing how miserable she is in the DV unit and suspects there may be aspects to her last murder case she hadn’t yet processed. Here she has another shot at helping to solve a murder, from a completely different angle. After the murder investigation (not being presented as such to the suspects) still has no leads after several days, Cassie agrees to go undercover.
Having studied every piece of information they have on the victim, including very convenient cell phone videos, Cassie is able to learn the woman’s inflections, mannerisms and habits and can also study how “Lexi” interacted with her house mates. The police have let the house mates (still among the primary suspects, despite water tight alibis) know that Lexi has short term amnesia, to help Cassie cover up any initial glitches when she is living among them.
Wired for sound and armed, Cassie is sent to the big house in the Irish countryside where the woman calling herself Lexi lived with four friends – Daniel, Abby, Rafe and Justin. She needs to convince these four highly intelligent young academics, who knew Lexi better than anyone, that Lexi isn’t dead, she’s just been in a coma after a savage knife attack. Neither O’Neill nor Mackay trust the house mates, for all that their stories all match up. They believe one or several of the friends may have been Lexi’s murderer.
Full review here.