Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Cruel Acts – Jane Casey

Crime Fiction – Series
5*s

Maeve Kerrigan is my kind of protagonist and so I was absolutely thrilled to see that she was back and I’m pleased to say my high levels of anticipation were fully met.

When double murderer Leo Stone is freed because of irregularities with the jury process. Superintendent Godley tasks Maeve Kerrigan and Detective Inspector Josh Derwent to re-examine the evidence, and quickly, to ensure that the case against him is absolutely watertight – the thought of such a dangerous man being allowed to roam free is completely repellent to the hardworking officers. Maeve is quick to alight on another potential victim of Leo Stone but before she has time to devote too much attention in that direction there is another killing similar to those Leo Stone was convicted of. Could it be that the team are investigating a miscarriage of justice after all?

I love this series so much because in part, the characterisation is superb. Maeve is a strong, tenacious and capable officer who knows her own mind and that alone is very appealing. The fact that she is a bit standoffish with her colleagues only serves to endear her to me even more as she is often quietly funny in her dealings with them. But her role is backed up by a whole host of old friends from the previous books. I’m particularly enjoying watching Maeve’s slightly tense relationship with the younger officer Georgia while slipping into a slightly easier relationship with Josh in this episode. Although we have some of the back story of Maeve’s life outside the police this perhaps doesn’t have as much room in this episode as it has done so previously, but fear not there is enough to keep things interesting…

It doesn’t matter how good the characters are in crime fiction if there isn’t a jolly good mystery to be solved and once again Jane Casey far from disappoints. This is a fairly complex investigation given that we know who the key suspect is, the time-line, the forensics and pretty much everything in between, or do we? This is the beauty of the plotting one bit of information can turn everything on its head and unfortunately there are multiple strands to be teased out and worked individually before the team can be certain what happened to the poor women that crossed the path of a murderer.

With engaging writing to finish the triad for the pinnacle of success in crime fiction, Jane Casey reminded me she really is one of the best of the new generation. While the storyline featuring serial killers are nothing new, she manages to keep it feeling fresh with her sharp observational writing that all too easily conjures up the desperate need to catch a killer that must infiltrate such a major investigation in real life.

A most satisfactory read finishing with a solid resolution – I do hope Maeve is back soon.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to the publishers HarperCollins UK who allowed me to read an advance copy of Cruel Acts ahead of publication on 18 April 2019.

The Maeve Kerrigan Series in Order

The Burning
The Reckoning
The Last Girl
The Stranger You Know
The Kill
After The Fire
Let the Dead Speak

First Published UK: 18 April 2019
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
No of Pages: 400
Genre: Crime Fiction – Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

After the Fire – Jane Casey

Crime Fiction 5*s
Crime Fiction
5*s

Another superb outing for Maeve Kerrigan in this, the sixth in the series. Although it isn’t necessary to have read the previous five books, in my opinion, you are missing out if you don’t read this series in order.

So what happens? Well there is a fire, always good when the title links to the content, at Murchison House on the Maudling Estate, the scene of the action in book five, The Kill. The fire took hold of the tenth and eleventh floors of the tower block and one of the fatalities is MP Geoff Armstrong but no-one knows what he was doing there. On the eleventh floor two bodies are found but with no identification, the police need to find out who the victims are and why they were locked into the flat. Added to that there is a boy who has lost his mother, an elderly woman who may have the key to the mystery and a young girl who has suffered horrific burns. The more the police probe, the more secrets are uncovered, but the investigators struggle to decide who was the target and what the motive was for this terrifying act of arson.

Luckily for us, but perhaps not so fortunate for Maeve. the new boss DCI Una Burt decides contrary to her previous thoughts that she should partner Derwent specifically to investigate whether the controversial MP was the target of arson and unsurprisingly she would like the result before the last embers of the fire have burnt out. I have to admit at this point that I love Derwent…. He is annoying supercilious a womaniser and anything but a team player but there is something about him that appeals strongly and I am amazed that Maeve remains more or less impervious to his charms.

I’m a huge fan of Jane Casey’s books, and this one was, if anything, even better than those that have preceded it. The characters are an absolute delight, particularly Derwent who is arrogant and refuses to follow orders but who every now and again shows his softer side, something that is even more apparent in this outing. But the author doesn’t just confine her great characterisation to the police force, the victims and the bystanders are so realistic that I felt I knew them even if some of them are predictably repulsive.

There are multiple strands to the story, but at no time is there any hint of confusion as these are expertly handled, including the reappearance of Chris Swain the man who is stalking Maeve. This is a great story arc which despite being an extreme example accurately portrays the absolute single-minded nature of this kind of perpetrator.

Added to the great characters, a complex but not confusing plot, there are a few contemporary issues to explore and finally, there is no mistaking the setting, a North London council estate. I recommend this series to anyone who says they like crime novels, there isn’t another series quite like it!

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Random House UK who allowed me to read this book which will be published next week, 18 June 2015.

Maeve Kerrigan Series in order

The Burning

The Reckoning

The Last Girl

The Stranger You Know

The Kill

After The Fire

 

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

The Kill – Jane Casey

Crime Fiction 5*'s
Crime Fiction
5*’s

Maeve Kerrigan is back and if like me you were eagerly awaiting this episode, you won’t be disappointed. If you haven’t read any of this series yet, you are missing out.

Jane Casey’s books contain a superb array of complex characters, not for her the caricature of a policeman (or woman), mother, schoolteacher or member of a gun club. No, instead the characters have layers, even Josh Derwent, Maeve’s superior officer, who spends most of his time being the most obnoxiously sexist man you’d ever have the misfortune to spend time with, turns everything on its head with a kind word or action where you’d least expect it. Maeve, is a real woman too. Yes she is brave but she has a loving side, she is a good counter-balance to Josh and I love her put-downs, particularly when suffixed with ‘Sir’!

Not only does The Kill have the wonderful array of characters, including those from the previous books but it also has a plot that feels current and fresh. The Police are being targeted by an unknown assassin and the media aided and abetted by a politician trying to make a name for himself are keen to point out that the Metropolitan Police have bought this on themselves when they shot and killed an innocent boy. The boys mother provides a dignified display and brief sound bites to the press, pleading for peace on the streets of London. Jane Casey is careful to give her reader the references to connect to the story, most notably the riots in England in 2011, without ramming the point home. For those of us that watched those very real incidents unfold, that is all that is needed to connect to the fear of what would happen if lawlessness was allowed to go unchecked for any length of time.

But this is fiction, and Josh and Maeve are working, along with the rest of the team, to put the pieces together and find the killer and in the best tradition of a good story, just as you thought it had all been worked out there are some more loose ends to tie up!

I have found all the books in this series compulsive reading, the pace is just right, although like me you may need to forgo so sleep or suffer a racing heart as the killing escalates and the violence seems unstoppable. All this is softened with by the perfect ratio of Police work to personal life, moving the story forward while giving the reader more than just endless action scenes.

I was delighted to receive a copy of this book from Amazon Vine in return for this honest review ahead of the publication date of 5 June 2014.  If this series has passed you by, here is The Maeve Kerrigan Series in order:

The Burning

The Reckoning

The Last Girl

The Stranger You Know

Jane Casey’s debut novel was a stand-alone read The Missing where the police are looking for a missing girl, Jenny. In a strange twist Jenny’s teacher, Sarah Finch knows what the family are going through, her brother also went missing as a child.

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Stranger You Know – Jane Casey

This is the fourth book in the Maeve Kerrigan series which I was lucky enough to receive a copy in return for this unbiased review.

Synopsis

He meets women.
He gains their trust.
He kills them.

Crime Fiction 4*'s
Crime Fiction
4*’s


That’s all Maeve Kerrigan knows about the man she is hunting. Three women have been strangled in their homes by the same sadistic killer. With no sign of a break-in, every indication shows that they let him in.

But the evidence is pointing at a shocking suspect: DI Josh Derwent, Maeve’s colleague.

Maeve refuses to believe he could be involved, but how well does she really know him? Because this isn’t the first time Derwent’s been accused of murder…

Maeve born into a family of Irish stock is an attractive female detective with maverick tendencies who has worked with Josh Derwent closely.  In previous books Maeve has found herself in some pretty uncomfortable situations having acquired a stalker and a fellow policeman boyfriend and a boss who is taking money for information along the way.

Maeve’s relationship with Josh Derwent has been difficult, she finds him hard to deal with but when she is told to keep her superiors suspicions secret she doesn’t know what to do for the best.   To make it worse the young women that he is suspected of killing are all believed to be linked to a killing 20 years previously so Maeve is juggling a cold case review as well as dealing with the horror of lonely young women being killed in their own homes.

This is a solid good read, the plot holds together well with Jane Casey weaving the story with wry humour and clever observations through a number of characters, both suspects and witnesses, time periods and across London boroughs.  I thought I had the killer quite early on but I was wrong which is a bonus and marks this out as a good book.   The characters have developed well with Maeve coming across far better than she did in the first outing.  This book also gives us much more of an insight into Josh and why he acts the way he does.

This works well as a stand-alone book but I’m sure anyone who picks this one up will be strongly tempted to buy the three previous books.

Previous Books in the series

The Burning

The Reckoning

The Last Girl

Jane Casey has also written

The Missing