Special thanks to guest reviewer Garvan Giltinan for this audiobook review!
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by Jane Casey
read by Sarah Coomes
Maeve Kerrigan #2
2012 Brilliance Audio
15 hours 56 minutes unabridged
Genres: thriller, crime fiction
Filed in: Audiobook Reviews
4 out of 5 halos
PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: To the public, he’s a hero: a brutal killer who targets sex offenders. To most of London’s police force, he’s the suspect in a gruesome, time-consuming case to be avoided. But to Detective Constable Maeve Kerrigan, he’s a murderer - no matter the sins of his victims - and catching him is her job.
Assigned to the case with the division’s unreadable new DI, Josh Derwent, young and inexperienced Maeve is determined to prove she has what it takes to make it as a female in the tough world of the London police. But for a killer who strikes with such spectacle, this one is proving remarkably elusive. And when Maeve learns his motive might be about exacting revenge, his acts of incredible violence move from abstract justice to the intensely personal, and become all the more terrifying. Unsure whom she can trust even within her own department, and knowing that her life is at stake, Maeve will have to decide how far she’s willing to go to ensure justice is served.
Jane Casey’s taut, brilliantly executed thriller will have listeners on the edge of their seats from the opening chapter to the stunning conclusion.
©2012 Jane Casey (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Maeve Kerrigan, a young DC (Detective Constable) in London's metropolitan police department is helping to investigate a spat of brutal murders in the London area. Only the victims of these crimes are not innocent men, they are all convicted pedophiles -- or 'nonces', in The London slang. If that weren’t enough pressure for a young detective, Kerrigan also has to defend herself against institutional condescension and misogyny (mostly in the shape of DC Josh Derwent, her investigative partner). Her obviously Irish name doesn’t help matters (Maeve’s parents are Irish, while she and her brother are Londoners by birth), as she negotiates the old boys club that is the Met. Adding to these complications, Casey throws in an on-again off-again relationship with Rob, her stern but sensitive DC love interest. Yes, some of this is clichéd. But it works. What we have in The Reckoning, is a combination of gritty police drama peppered with a smattering of romance.
In Casey’s second outing with Maeve Kerrigan (the first one, The Burning, was an engaging character debut) deftly weaves Maeve’s personal life with her investigation of the murders. Because of her junior status (and the fact she's a woman), Maeve gets to take a back seat on some of the investigations, but she's not easily satisfied by paperwork and menial jobs. Likewise with some of her colleagues chauvinistic comments. Kerrigan pushes back, but never steps too sharply on toes--as much as we want her to. She's smart. Report her colleagues and risk alienation. Keeping that balance, but ultimately moving forward is one of Kerrigan's strong suits.
But Casey throws us a twist. The murderous culprit is caught midway through the story. Maeve discovers the perpetrator (caught in the act of torturing a convicted pedophile) is London crime boss John Skinner. Skinner is making his way, street-justice style, through a list of released nonces in an attempt to find out who may have kidnapped his young daughter, Cheyanne, who has gone missing after attending a dance. When the young girl’s body turns up in an abandoned warehouse, the site of a pop-up rave, the mystery takes a new route -- with a few twists along the way.
English actress, Sarah Coomes (best known for roles on the British soap, Eastenders), once again plays Kerrigan, but this time with a little more confidence. She slips between regional accents with ease, but she excels in capturing Maeve’s frustrated, yet plucky attitude. At times Maeve does come across as wishy-washy and vulnerable (and in another writer’s hands this would be irritating), yet these traits make our protagonist a little more human. Despite Kerrigan's at times ambivalent attitude to her job and love life, she's a doer.
Casey's work will call to mind Lynda La Plante's Prime Suspect and her detective inspector Jane Tennison. Imagine Casey's Maeve Kerrigan as Tennison, the younger years, and you will get a stylistic sense of what to expect. But this is by no means a bad thing. While I hesitate to use the word 'derivative' about Casey's work, I cannot help but feel I've read this story before, not only with the aforementioned La Plante, but authors such as Deborah Crombie, Mo Hayder, and Casey's fellow Irish writer Tana French, are also brought to mind. Having said that, these police procedurals, with their strong minded (but simultaneously conflicted) female protagonists, are still highly entertaining and engaging. The plots of these novelists follow a pattern (not unlike our favorite detective shows), yet we always come back to them, like animals to the comfort-food watering hole. Maeve's narrative, while never fully resolved (there are of course emotional scars for the protagonist which move the character forward), the reader, and story, find an acceptable resolution.
Jane Casey's work is like watching an episode of your favorite British TV cop show. And for that reason, The Reckoning is worth investigating.
About the Reviewer: Garvan Giltinan is an ex-pat Irishman living in America for nearly 20 years. He taught high school for ten years and currently teaches Film classes at Tufts University (Reel Violence and Noir) in Massachusetts, where he continues to write.
His stories “Resurrections and Revelations” and “Bloodied Streets,” part of the Sancho: Twisted Tales of Terror series have been published in graphic novel form by 20,000 Leagues Publications. The Sancho series was twice nominated for Britain’s prestigious Eagle Award (http://www.eagleawards.co.uk/). One of his short stories was published in The Harrow: Original Works of Fantasy and Horror. He has two novellas (The Irishman and Way Out Bloody West) and one novel (Wayne Talisman’s Long Bloody Night), available online through Amazon. Most recently he was invited to submit a screenplay -- based on his novel -- to the Irish independent film production company Doris/Magee.
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Review copy purchased from Audible.com. Audiobook review by Garvan Giltinan. This audiobook review is based on the unabridged audiobook. Come back soon for more audiobook reviews from Audiobook-Heaven.