I have become a serious fan of Jane Casey and her Maeve Kerrigan police procedural series.
Maeve is 28, and a Detective Constable for the London Police Murder Squad. She adores her boss, Superintendent Charles Godley, but he pairs her with a brash newcomer to the squad, Josh Derwent, insensitive and sexist. In fact, this is how most of the squad fellows are except for Rob Langton, with whom Maeve has been having a surreptitious on-and-off relationship. Members of the same squad shouldn’t date, and moreover, Maeve is terrified of commitment; afraid of getting hurt. Rob is a sweetheart though: diplomatic, clever, tough when he needs to be, and patient and understanding about Maeve.
The Crime Squad gets involved in solving a complicated set of murders – someone is killing pedophiles who have been released from prison, and the police struggle with the unwelcome task of working on behalf of very unsavory victims. Amidst it all, Maeve tries to sort out her personal and professional relationships. She also becomes endangered herself of course, but this gets resolved in a most felicitous manner.
Discussion: Unlike many police procedurals, the crime is as intriguing as the characters. The characters are more interesting than most as well, because rather than the usual protagonist problem of alcoholism or corruption, you have a fairly attractive female trying to deal with a squad full of “good old boys.” Additionally, Maeve is Irish (though English-born), and the English and Irish still have plenty of unresolved tensions between them. The criminals are nuanced, or explainable if not, and their deeds do not seem unimaginable (as with so many crime novels).
Evaluation: I think Casey has done a great job of creating a book with a compelling plot and a cast full of characters I care about and want to see again. This is a series worth checking out! (The Burning is the first book in this series. (See my review here.) This is book two. It is not essential to have read the first, but it too is a good book, and will fill you in on how Maeve and Rob got together.)
Published in the U.S. by Minotaur Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press, a division of Macmillan Publishers, 2012