Cover Image: The Resemblance

The Resemblance

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Member Reviews

This was an engaging and well-paced thriller; I started it on a plane ride, and it was a great choice to keep me entertained. I especially loved the strong sense of place Nossett created around the University of Georgia campus. Georgia grads may enjoy this book more than most readers because of the setting, though if you participated in Greek Life, be prepared to have that affiliation heavily interrogated! ;)
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This debut fiction thriller is a slooow read. Some people love that; I personally don’t. Does the ending make up for the slow burn? Let’s take a look and see…

Officer Marlitt Kaplan is our first-person protagonist. She has been given a strange case - a local university student (Jay) was killed in a hit-and-run accident, but the car that killed him was his. The person driving it looked like him, and as the car accelerated, witnesses saw the driver smiling.

This all sounds very intriguing, but it took well over the 50% mark before things started to get really interesting. It’s a classic whodunnit, with the added topic of sorority and fraternity hazing. I kept thinking the ending would be worth the wait, but unfortunately, it was as lackluster as the book.

Pros: This had an interesting plot, and the writing was great. 

Cons: I don’t care for slow books, and the ending left me unenthused. I didn’t care either way about any of the characters.

I’m giving this debut fiction three stars - it was good, but I wouldn’t choose to read it again. I think many people will really love the cozy mystery vibe, though!

(Thank you to Flatiron Books, Lauren Nossett, and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my review.)
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I chose not to review this book.  While I thought the writing was strong, the heavy-handed condemnation of Fraternities got to be a bit much.  I am no fan of those organizations in general, but this author was unable to convey the nuisance there and it began to become "all men are horrible" which just didn't really work with the plot of the novel.
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The Resemblance starts off when Marlitt is visiting her mother at the University of Georgia and  hears a noise only to arrive at the scene of a hit and run.  Marlitt and her partner, Teddy, take the case at Marlitt's insistence.  To make the case even more confusing, witnesses report that the driver of the car looked just like the victim, Jay.  

This story delves into the dark side of greek life on college campuses.  I am drawn to books promising secret societies or dark academia.  That being said, this book started strongly for me and then fizzled out.  I was interested in the mystery and crime aspects of the story, but there were many tangents through Marlitt that made aspects of the book seem less cohesive.  

Part Two kicked off with an event that took an unexpected turn and I wasn't quite sure why it was necessary to the story.  The ending of the book was both convenient and confusing at the same time.  

That being said, I did like that the ending wasn't wrapped up in a nice bow and we could potentially see more from Marlitt in the future.
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In Athens, Georgia, a quintessential college town, a fraternity brother steps off a curb in front of a number of witnesses and is killed by a hit-and-run driver.  Detective Marlitt Kaplan, visiting her mother at her UGA office, hears the commotion and is the first officer to arrive on the scene. As her investigation unfolds, questions begin to mount and Marlitt suspects that the answers lie within the walls of the fraternity house.

The Resemblance is Lauren Nossett’s debut novel and I found the premise intriguing. It is an academic thriller but it seems to have a little too much going on.  I enjoyed the first part of the book (told from Marlitt’s point of view) but then it seemed to lose focus and it pretty much derailed for me. 

There are several plot lines that seemed to be added at random and at times it simply turned into a diatribe against fraternities in general.  This is not what I expected when I picked up this book.  I believe this novel would have benefited from a little tighter storyline or maybe I was just expecting something different.  I will give it 2.5 stars bumped up to 3. 

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book for review.
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On a brisk November day, a frat member steps off the curb only to be stuck and killed by a car. The majority of people who witnessed the tragic accident said that the driver not only looked identical to the victim but he was smiling.

I was so excited to read this academic thriller however it turned into more of a police investigation type deal. Those are hit or miss for me and this one was just ok. I also listened to the audiobook and while the narrator did a great job, the story was not for me.


Thank you to netgalley and macmillianaudio for this arc in exchange for my honest review.
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Told in first person from main character, Marlitt, a detective in Athens, Georgia who is called to the scene of a murder involving a member of a fraternity. I was initially intrigued by the setting and Marlitt’s suspicions of the fraternity brothers and curious about her past connections. However, the weight of the chips on her shoulder started to bog down the whole story from her misogynistic boss to her paranoia over her coworkers sticking their noses in her cases, and her overt bias against any Greek organization and that’s just for starters. There were also a few instances of discontinuity in the narrative.

Marlitt had a little too much going on, but I was enjoying the story until the fire incident, then it just derailed for me. I think that if the story had focused on the murder investigation, the fraternity and Marlitt’s personal connection to both, the story would have benefitted. Due to her situation in the aftermath, Marlitt was making extremely poor and admittedly selfish and self-destructive decisions. The whole situation with her family and the speaking of German and its implications just never felt relevant to the rest of the story. Not recommended.

Thank you to Netgalley and Flatiron Books for a copy provided for an honest review.
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Greek life on college campuses can be full of traditions and in some cases secrets.  

At the University of Georgia the fraternity KPO seems to be filled with both dark secrets and deep traditions that are at risk of being exposed when one of their fraternity brothers steps off the sidewalk on campus and killed in what appears to be a hit and run.

Detective Marllitt Kaplan is the first one the scene and is determined to solve the case at any cost.  When the case leads her deeper into the KPO house her past experiences involving Greek life start to make others question  her need to take the fraternity down.

This thriller keeps you guessing all the way to the end as to who killed Jay, the student in the hit and run and why Marlitt is convinced it was no accident.

As someone that was part of Greek life in college I found this book very interesting to read and can see how many question that lines between what they consider family and those that only see the deep (sometimes) unbreakable traditions that some organizations hold on to.
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Thank you Netgalley and Flat Iron books for an EArc in return for an honest review.

Detective Kaplan is visiting her mom who is a professor at a college when a hit and run occurs. Witnesses are saying that the driver looked like the victim and he was smiling.

This is a police procedural that is told on one POV, detective Kaplan. It delves into the dark side of frat life and how extreme hazings are as well as how strong the brotherhood is even  if it means keeping quiet when they should speak up .  

I don't read police procedurals much so I wasn't used to reading a book from a detective's pov.
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Detective Marlitt Kaplan is first on the scene of a hit and run accident on the University of Georgia campus where she works. A fraternity brother is struck dead and what most of the witnesses can agree on is that the driver looked like the victim and was smiling. Thus begins a hunt for the killer and if they had anything to do with the victim’s fraternity. 

The book was a mix of finding out who the killer was and a deeper story about one fraternity’s hazing. I think Marlitt was too harsh a character at times. While it all ended up being interconnected, the book definitely drew me in with some of the twists. I didn’t love the ending but it’s also not wrapped up with a bow. Read this book if you like dark academia and police procedurals.

Thank you to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for this thriller. The Resemblance is out now.
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I was immediately pulled into this wonderful book through the opening action. Marlitt, a detective and daughter of a university professor, is the first responder for a horrible hit-and-run accident. The witnesses have similar descriptions of the incident, but they don't make sense. Marlitt and her partner are tasked with finding out what happened and why the eyewitness statements are unusual.

There are some very interesting occurrences, which in the end are wrapped up. One incident in particular baffled me, and I didn't think it would be explained. The end of the book brought it all together, although in a manner I was not expecting at all! 

This audiobook was narrated by a fabulous reader. She brought me even further into the story with her calming manner and ease of speaking.
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A police officer’s past is revisited when she must investigate the hit-and-run death of a college student. The premise was good but the execution could have been better. It was hard for me to stay engaged in this novel and the ending was not as climatic as I usually expect from thrillers.
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This is a fast-paced campus thriller that explores Greek life, the accompanying hazing, and outdated views of women, racial differences and, to a lesser degree, religion. It’s well plotted and reads quickly although the ending was rather convoluted.
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Books like “The Resemblance” are a thrilling example of why I love reading so much, and this is only Lauren Nossett’s debut novel. Think about that. This thrilling, intense, spine-tingling, breathtakingly written novel about male-dominated power structures, southern attitudes toward gender norms, two different kinds of brotherhoods, and a woman trying to navigate her way through a truly perplexing and seemingly improbable hit and run murder of a frat boy by someone who bears an uncanny resemblance to the dead frat boy himself. 

I really do mean it when I say this book is an absolutely thrilling reminder of why I love reading so much. Writing is an art, and just as with any other artistic medium, the point is for it to make you feel. If Nossett did one thing extremely well with this book, it was to elicit emotion. From intense rage and sadness at the statistics and reminders of what happens on college campuses, in sorority and frat houses, and to the sisters and brothers of those organizations to the bitterness Marlitt (our protagonist) feels toward the male officers she works with when they’re given the more “dangerous” cases because their boss doesn’t approve of her working the riskier investigations. There is one scene in the first half of the novel (I’d hazard it’s in the first third of the novel) that’s so well-written in its intensity, drama, panic, and trauma that I felt like I couldn’t breathe and started crying, causing me to put the book down and go outside for some air. 

And then I came right back inside and picked it back up again because I don’t resent the tears or that feeling of suffocation. A book should make you feel something. That’s what the author shoots for when they write for us, and Lauren Nossett is a great markswoman. The feelings kept coming, along with those deeply thrumming themes of power in the very dirt of Athens, Georgia and in the white male power structure and how easy it is for those golden boys to take away your autonomy, your identity, and maybe even your life simply by whispering the right word in the right ear (or the wrong word in the right ear, or the right word in the wrong ear). 

The prose in this book is so lovely that it makes the horrors of what’s going on during the book stand out that much more. The editing helps to keep that leash of suspense pulled nice and tight, only allowing for a little slack every now and then. There’s no room to breathe with solving this murder; too many cogs and sprockets made from gold working hard to wrap it all up and sweep it all away for Marlitt to rest, even after events start to escalate beyond her control. 

As far as I’m concerned, Lauren Nossett has written one of the best crime thrillers I’ve read this year, and one of the most important ones set on a college campus I’ve ever read. I can’t recommend it enough. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for granting me access to this title in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

File Under: 5 Stars Books/Crime Fiction/Crime Thriller/Psychological Thriller/Suspense Mystery/Suspense Thriller
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The Resemblance by Lauren Nossett is a campus thriller (or campus murder mystery) that explores the darkest parts of the greek life in university.

Detective Marlitt Kaplan is the first on the scene of the crime, a hit and run where a student, Jay Kemp, is left dead, too many mysteries surrounding his death. Although this book is set in a campus, it is NOT a dark academia book. I’m stressing this because I write and research a lot about dark academia, and this one definitely does not fall into the genre. Not only the narrator and main character is nor a student nor a member of faculty, but the book also doesn’t have a field of study to be explored in the narrative. It is very much a police investigation type of book, focused solely on that, and that is great! Not every book that is set on a campus is dark academia, in fact that would be the books from the campus novel genre, and the more information that is spread about that, and about the other subgenres such as campus murder mysteries the better. In fact, I was really happy to see that the publicity of this book actually marketed it as a campus thriller/murder mystery, so thumbs up for that, we do love to see a good marketing.

Back o the story, we follow the investigation of the murder of Jay Kemp, through the eyes of Marlitt. For a first person point of view this book has a very detached perspective, we do see some of the characters thinking of course, but I do feel rather distant from her. Maybe it’s the analytical and logical view the character has on life, or maybe it’s because the book focuses too much on the plot and on the investigation, not spending as much time in constructing the character or giving her other layers. Some of the information we have on this character, about her past and traumas, are thrown in sometimes during the story, one particular piece of information is only explained in the epilogue, and I did not really see the point of that, for me it did nothing to enhance the story and there would be nothing missing if it wasn’t there.

Because of this, I felt like the story did move quickly most of the time. The first 20% of the book flew by, and up until the half it you almost don’t even realize you’re reading because of how fast it moves by. The writing is simple, but effective. Again, I feel like all of this, the personality of the main character, the writing style, all suit the type of narrative that is being told. I did feel like the book suffered from a major shift in the second part, it almost felt like an entirely different book. I feel like some things could have made this transition better, because it did feel like there were some chapters missing, so maybe a little bit more writing there could have really helped the story. I felt like the tone of the story changed a lot from one half to the other, and that made me struggle a bit to reconnect with the novel, making the second half drag a bit.

It took a while for all the pieces to come together, and there were some unexpected plot twists. I think my favorite part of the novel is the focus it places on the greek system surrounding brotherhoods and fraternities in a university campus. It’s something that is very unique, and if I am correct, it is particular to the university life in America, and I feel like the author did a very good work of portraying the heavy nuances that occur in this specific lifestyle. There is always a sense of unease and fear reading these parts of the novel, and I feel like that constructed a very intense atmosphere and as a mystery/thriller book it did a good job of keeping the reader engaged, curious and afraid in equal measure.

Although there was never a moment I wanted to stop reading, which is something that speaks for itself, I do feel like this book could have worked a few things of its execution a lot better. The ending felt really rushed, I feel like the main character needed a lot more both in construction and development terms so that the reader could truly relate and empathize with her, and some other plot points (no spoilers) should also have maybe gone differently.

I feel like maybe I was just maybe really full of expectations that were not totally reached. It is not a bad book, and also not a perfect one. It just frustrates me a little that there was a lot of potential that I wish would have been utilised, making the book fall in the category of just “okay” when it could have been so much more. I do recommend checking for yourself if it sparked your interest, especially if you like murder mysteries, campus settings, and books that focus heavily on greek life.

Thank you to Flatiron Books and Macmillan for the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion!
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This book was amazing, I love a bad ass type of character and Marlitt was just it. While trying to solve this case I started to see that this woman would not give up. She needed to solve this case and she has such a heavy connection for it, it was just awesome. I hated what happened to her in the middle of trying to find justice for the frat boy, but you can tell that she just wanted justice, and, she discovered that unfortunately in those circumstances justice isn’t always served. I loved how quickly I was able to read this book, and how straight to the point the author got. Even though the ending was a little different, this whole book made me look at Frat -life differently, mainly the dangerous hazing that goes on, and the politics behind that college Frat lifestyle its crazy crap. I loved how the main character cracked EVERYTHING. This was a good one.

Thanks netgalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book.
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I have been really looking forward to this book for awhile. I thought it sounded very intriguing and expected a great mystery. Unfortunately, it left me very disappointed.

The hook of the plot is that the hit and run driver looks exactly like the victim. There was so much potential with that, but it’s almost immediately brushed aside and ignored until the final chapters – and by that point I didn’t really care anymore. The story was messy, bouncing around a lot of different ideas and not doing any of them justice. The focus seemed to mostly be on indicting the Greek system instead of the murder investigation. A lot is made of the hazing a fraternity takes part in, but it was honestly some of the mildest hazing I’ve ever read about. Don’t get me wrong, hazing is always wrong, but I felt like we were just repeatedly told how horrifying it was here, rather than it actually being that horrifying. 

Overall, The Resemblance was not for me. The writing felt very unfocused and I found myself skimming large portions of it. I also really struggled with how unlikeable the main character was. Even though the mystery does get solved, a lot of things were still left open, which leads me to believe there are plans to turn this into a series. Unfortunately, it’s not a series I’m interested in continuing.
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A solid debut mystery that tackles university and fraternity culture as well as issues in policing. It's atmospheric and tense, and it's intriguing to follow along with Marlitt as she investigates despite increasing threats to her safety. I'd absolutely read more from this author, and would love if Marlitt featured in future stories.
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Detective Kaplan arrives at the scene of a hit-and-run, she is surprised to hear the witnesses detailing that not only was the driver smiling as he hit the victim, Jay, but he also looked exactly like Jay. As Kaplan and her partner, Teddy, work to find the killer and motive, they are faced with a tight-lipped fraternity that threatens them to back off...or else. 

I do not read a lot of police procedurals, but I love shows with the subject matter so I was excited to read this.  Unfortunately I felt it fell short. The book seemed more like a warning against fraternities and Greek life than anything else. I also thought the parts about her speaking in German, and then the reveal in the epilogue, seemed completely unnecessary and I was not sure what the purpose was. 

Thank you NetGalley for the arc of this book in exchange for my honest review.  
Rating: 2.5, but I rounded up.
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If you enjoy a slow burn mystery, this may be the book for you. This book wasn’t for me.

ARC received via NetGalley.
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