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A series that's getting better and better,
This review is from: The Stranger You Know: (Maeve Kerrigan 4) (Hardcover)
Jane Casey is a born crime writer, and the high standard she achieved at the beginning of her career hasn't dropped; indeed, she goes from strength to strength. The plot of this novel shows that from the start she has had a complex plan for long-term story/character development, suggesting a confidence that was well-founded - and it's an engrossing read, not least because it goes a long way to explaining Detective Inspector Derwent's character and motives. His working and personal relationships with Maeve are becoming increasingly fascinating, and the scope for further developments in this respect is huge, which is a pleasure to anticipate.
On the negative side, some aspects of the plot (well described in other reviews) stretch credibility:
* (NB: potential spoiler here): although the murderer's pathology and behaviour was utterly convincing (and brilliantly conceived), his ex-girlfriend's decision in terms of the relocation she makes after he leaves her is psychologically unlikely.
* Rob's boss flirts with professional suicide in doing what she does to Maeve; it's serious misconduct, given the trauma that Maeve suffered after a similar provocation.
* the assault that occurs in the aftermath of that incident would surely result in a long custodial sentence for the perpetrator: the police and the courts don't take kindly to assaults on officers of the law, whatever the extenuating circumstances.
There's a howling error, too: Lionel Orpen's forename changes to Leonard, and then back to Lionel. But well-written and gripping story-telling always wins the day, and this really is an excellent novel that rises above the usual standard of crime writing. The procedural element is convincing (even if Maeve and Derwent are allowed to break the rules now and then!), and the banter between the officers is consistently funny and believable. Best of all, in Maeve and Derwent she has created the most enjoyable and compelling police pairing I have ever encountered, and my response to Derwent's behaviour is becoming as complex as his intriguing personality. So is Jane Casey the new queen of Irish/British crime fiction? I believe so.