Sunday 20 October 2019

Whip-smart detective back on beat

Crime: Cruel Acts

Jane Casey

HarperCollins €15.99

Cruel Acts
Cruel Acts

Breda Brown

Jane Casey is one of Ireland's best-known crime writers and this is the eighth novel in her series featuring Detective Sergeant Maeve Kerrigan. Born in London to Irish parents, Maeve works in the murder squad and here she concentrates on Leo Stone, a man convicted of murdering two women and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Now, just a year later, he has been released on a technicality and is claiming he is totally innocent of the murders.

With a re-trial in the offing, Maeve and her partner DI Josh Derwent re-examine the evidence and, before long, they discover links between Stone and a possible third victim. But the more Maeve uncovers, the more she starts questioning whether Stone did commit the crimes or is he the victim of a miscarriage of justice.

When another woman disappears, Maeve and Derwent have to quickly figure out if this is the work of a copycat killer, or have they been wrong about Stone from the start?

With Cruel Acts, Jane Casey has delivered another taut, well-structured and multi-layered thriller powered by a tenacious, whip-smart and likeable detective.

There is also a range of very plausible red herrings and engaging sub-plots to keep you wondering.

Casey's strength also lies in her ability to scene set, resulting in a very visual novel which rockets from one page to the next, making you feel as if you are working side by side with Maeve on her grim mission. While the narrative deals with hardcore crimes, the ongoing banter between Maeve and Derwent adds many moments of humour and lightness.

The Maeve Kerrigan books work as standalone novels. However, read as a series they offer an intriguing insight into Maeve's journey from ambitious young constable to respected detective.

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