Review: Thriller: The Reckoning by Jane Casey
Ebury Press, £6.99
English-born of Irish parents, relatively newly minted Detective Constable Maeve Kerrigan is having a tough time trying to move her career forward against the tide of endemic chauvinism in the Metropolitan police force.
Her on/off relationship with colleague Rob Langton is strained, and then things become even more difficult when her superintendent orders her to partner ambitious Detective Inspector Josh Derwent in a double murder investigation.
As far as Derwent is concerned, Maeve's only input into the investigation should be to stand back, look pretty, let him do all the work and take all the credit.
He sees this as a win-win case since the dead men, who have been savagely tortured, are convicted paedophiles. If he solves the case it advances his career, if he doesn't, it doesn't matter as no one cares much if child molesters get killed.
But Maeve Kerrigan does. She is still new enough to her job to believe that murder is murder -- no matter what the sins of the victim.
What's more, as the investigation advances she realises that both the condescending Derwent and her immediate superiors are taking the easy assumptions as gospel, and are ignoring clues that suggest the case is far more complicated and has wider gangland ramifications than simply a lone killer targeting sexual deviants.
She also suspects that someone within her department has been leaking sensitive information to a criminal gang, that she has been covertly watched and images of her uploaded on to the internet.
How Maeve faces these challenges makes for a satisfyingly tension-filled, page-rifling read that comes with the added bonus of beautifully realised characters and elegant prose.
The Reckoning is Jane Casey's third Maeve Kerrigan novel in less than two years, and with it she moves effortlessly into the pantheon of top Irish female crime writers, a list that includes Tana French, Alex Barclay, Arlene Hunt and Niamh O'Connor.
Casey was born and brought up in Castleknock in Dublin, and went on to read English at Jesus College in Oxford, followed by an MPhil in Anglo-Irish literature in Trinity College, Dublin.
She worked as an editor of children's books in London, and wrote her first book in her spare time.
It was discovered on her agent's slush pile and was snapped up by the well-respected Ebury Press imprint who immediately offered her a multi-book deal.
Married to a criminal barrister in London, Jane has a young son.