One murder might be a one-off, two might be a coincidence, but a third means there's a serial killer at work. Maeve Kerrigan is assigned to the investigating team and is shocked to discover that the chief suspect is Josh Derwent, her colleague and boss. OK, he's an unreconstructed male chauvinist pig, he's a bully and a womaniser but...a murderer? Maeve can't believe it. At least, she almost can't believe it - but this murderer is plausible, he gains the trust of his victims and his psychological profile does sound an awful lot like Derwent...and it seems this isn't the first time he's been a murder suspect...
When I try to pin down why I love the Maeve Kerrigan books so much, it comes down to two things - the characterisation and the humour. Yes, the plotting is good, the stories are complex enough to keep the reader guessing and the running story arcs add an extra layer of interest. But what lifts these books way, way above average is Casey's skill at creating completely believable characters and giving them dialogue that is both witty and natural.
Derwent has been playing a bigger role in each book and is central to this one. Despite his flaws (of which there are many) he is great fun - he takes great pleasure in winding Maeve up but she's getting better at giving as good as she gets. And beneath his macho act, there's courage, loyalty and integrity and, like Maeve, the more we get to know him, the more we can't help feeling a sneaking liking for him. They've become a true crime fiction double-act - maybe not Holmes and Watson, exactly, but perhaps Dalziel and Pascoe, or Rebus and Siobhan. But in this pairing the junior officer, Maeve, is very much the central character. Confident, ambitious and assertive on the outside, we get to see the mass of insecurities inside her head and to enjoy her often wickedly funny observations of her colleagues.
It's Maeve's normality that I love most - she has a strong relationship with her boyfriend and a family whom she loves and who love her. She's a team player who gets along well with most of her colleagues. And she isn't superwoman - she's smart, good at her job and brave when she needs to be, but she knows her limitations and is strong enough to ask for help when she needs it. Oh, and she's very likeable and very, very entertaining.
Overall, this is a great addition to a hugely enjoyable series. Highly recommended.
on 22 August 2013
Three women have been strangled in separate incidents in their homes and the crimes are obviously the work of a serial killer who manages to gain the trust of these ladies. In each case there is no sign of forced entry indicating that the women admitted the killer into their homes. This is the latest case for D.I. Maeve Kerrigan who has been drafted onto the team investigating the brutal murders. However, Maeve is shocked to realise that the prime suspect is none other than Josh Derwent who is not only a colleague but also her boss. To complicate matters Maeve has been instructed not to discuss the case with Josh.
Maeve is a complicated lady with quite a few hang-ups but she is also a highly motivated, confident and ambitious police officer with a very keen sense of humour. While Maeve is certainly the main character, Josh has been getting more coverage over the course of the previous books and he is at the heart of this story. Although ostensibly macho and chauvinistic he has an underlying core of decency and integrity and there is certainly no doubting his courage. I have become quite fond of him especially having read The Stranger You Know.
There are many surprises in store for fans of Jane Casey and this book is more than capable of standing alone but I imagine readers who have not read the previous novels in this series will want to get their hands on the earlier novels.
I love Jane Casey's writing as she manages to combine seriously gripping plots with excellent characterization and her style is both fluid and trenchant and totally lacking in affectation.
The book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger and I am eagerly awaiting developments in the Kerrigan/Derwent saga.
Jane Casey is one of the best writers of detective fiction around today and if only there were a young Helen Mirren available to play Maeve Kerrigan and an enterprising director we might have another Jane Tennison to delight viewers.
I thoroughly recommend this series to readers in general and to fans of the genre in particular.
on 22 November 2014
I really enjoyed this. When I bought it I didn't realise it was the fourth in the Maeve Kerrigan series, but it really didn't matter that I hadn't read the previous ones. Maeve is a rookie detective investigating some murder cases around London. Working with a senior officer that, to put it nicely,is a total pain doesn't make her job easy, but it gets even worse when he also becomes a possible suspect when the recent murders are connected to a twenty year old cold case where the victim was his girlfriend. As much as DCI Josh Derwent drives Maeve and eveyone crazy she doesn't believe he is capable of murder and sets out to prove it.
I've given this book four stars and already downloaded some more of this series by Jane Casey.
on 11 May 2015
Detective Maeve Kerrigan has a strained relationship with her boss - the chauvinistic, obnoxious, but occasionally charming DCI Josh Derwent. But when a recent spate of murders in London starts throwing up parallels to the murder of Dewent’s girlfriend twenty years earlier, it soon becomes clear that her superiors suspect that he might have a darker side.
Despite being under strict instructions not to talk to Derwent about the details of their current investigation, Maeve finds herself increasingly torn between following orders and allowing Derwent to help her in her attempts to find out what really happened to his girlfriend all those years ago.
Although Maeve doesn’t believe Derwent capable of killing, the cases throw up more and more disturbing similarities. As more bodies are discovered, and the cold case brings old feelings to the surface, Maeve becomes increasingly unsure if she really knows her colleague at all.
It’s an engrossing, fast paced read that kept me gripped the whole way through. It’s full of red herrings, hidden motives and unexpected twists and it kept me guessing right up until the end – just the way a detective novel should!
Maeve’s a great character – and I really enjoyed reading a crime novel seen through the eyes of a rookie cop at the bottom of the murder squad totem pole. Too often this type of book is presided over by a jaded, worn down police boss with a dark past. By contrast, Maeve’s enthusiasm and ambition shine through and give this series a fresh new feel and perspective.
This is the fourth in a series of novels featuring Maeve Kerrigan, but I picked it up and thoroughly enjoyed it without having read any of the previous novels, so it works equally well as a stand-alone novel. Because it’s well written, it’s easy to pick up on the relationships between the characters and there’s enough explanation about what’s happened before to make sure newcomers to the story are caught up. Having said that, I’ve already read the fifth in the series and I’m planning on going back to read the previous three as soon as I can!
on 14 June 2016
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. 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.
My Thoughts: May Contain Mild Spoilers
I’m really getting into the Maeve Kerrigan books. As always I like to read them in order then I can get to know the characters and their lives. What I do enjoy about the characters of Josh and Maeve is their relationship. They are always saying that they are not each others type and Maeve dosen’t particularly like Josh although she sees him as a good copper. I can’t help wondering if there is underlying feelings between them although Maeve has the wonderful Rob as a boyfriend. It might spice things up if they did have a fling in further works.
The story as thrillers go was OK, nothing fantastic but plenty to keep a readers interest. I felt the big reveal did come out of nowhere and it did throw a twist at the end. The story for me is the characters and what they re going to do next.
Overall a pacy thriller with characters that are quite likeable in their own way, and I will look out for more Maeve and Josh books.
This fourth book in the DC Maeve Kerrigan series is a return to form as I thought The Last Girl just wasn't quite a 5 star read. I loved The Stranger You Know in which Maeve finds herself on a team investigating a series of gruesome murders. DI Josh Derwent would normally be working with her so why is he off the case?
I found this to be a complete page turner and the story moved along at a fast pace. As with the last book, Derwent is a fantastic character, taking centre stage in this book for all the wrong reasons. I'm looking forward to a return to his acerbic comments in book 5. Maeve is also a great character and using her to tell the story works very well. Great stuff!
on 15 July 2013
The fourth in Jane Casey's Maeve Kerrigan series, the Stranger You Know is a gripping and satisfying thriller - the target of the investigation is a serial killer who has a distinctive modus operandi but leaves little to nothing for the forensic teams to work with. In this case, profiling (and his own history - and dare we say it, demeanour) pushes DI Josh Derwent into the frame as a suspect and it is Maeve who finds herself in the position of having to clear his name in the face of deep suspicion on the part of her colleagues that he may be behind the killings. In addition to the main plot, certain narrative threads in the previous books are picked up and developed - much appreciated by those (of whom I am one) who like to follow up loose ends from previous books - but these threads do not detract from the main story which can easily be read as a stand-alone title.
Maeve is still a young police officer but this book shows her building in confidence in her dealings with other officers and in pursuing the clues using old-fashioned legwork and deduction. She isn't perfect, of course, but her mistakes are understandable and Casey's skill is in allowing the reader to see her taking a wrong turning without becoming frustrated at her lack of Holmes-like acuity (or making her out to be an impossibly adept investigator at this stage in her career). As ever, the quick-fire dialogue is a pleasure to read - Maeve's relationships with both Derwent and her boyfriend Rob are a rich seam of banter which lightens the mood. The descriptive passages are effective too and in this case in particular one senses that Maeve's empathy with the victims gives her a view of the cases which is valued by her colleagues if not by herself. It is noticeable that although Maeve continues to feel under pressure as a result of her Irish heritage, her gender and her lack of seniority, the level of barracking from her male colleagues has diminished as her track record begins to speak for itself - a realistic trajectory for a woman in a mainly male environment.
Whether you love Derwent or consider him the greatest macho pig to grace a police procedural before or since Gene Hunt, there is a lot to enjoy in The Stranger You Know. Highly recommended.