The Stranger You Know
By Jane Casey
This is the fourth book in the Maeve Kerrigan series. I have not read the other three and this is perfectly readable as a stand-alone novel.
With three dead women all with a similar m.o. Maeve Kerrigan and her colleagues in the Met have a serial killer on their hands. Unfortunately suspicion falls onto DI Josh Derwent, one of Maeve’s colleagues. The case is closely connected to another one twenty years earlier which DI Derwent was a suspect.
The first three quarters of the book is a real page turner and gripping. It is well written and the characters are good. (Probably because they have been developed over four books.) Maeve is a likeable woman with her humour and intelligence. There are a couple of little niggles; her comments and thoughts on how attractive she is to the opposite sex can sometimes come across as a little adolescent. Also her ESP left me groaning; where she ‘just knows’ who the killer is. Especially when she ‘just knew’ it was someone else a few pages before. But on the whole a good character.
The same cannot be said for Chief Superintendent Charles Godley who, while he seems to be an able leader, is a corrupt policeman. In thrall to a drug’s baron, exchanging information for money, he has somehow persuaded Maeve to keep this a secret. Justifying himself with ‘at least I know how much information has been leaked’.
But the main character for me is DI Josh Derwent. He is overbearing, annoying, bullying, sexist, misogynistic and any other un-pc characteristic you can think of. He is also loyal, good, caring, hard-working and moral. The backdrop of this story focuses on Derwent, perhaps showing why he has become such an embittered man.
His character is the one you want to reappear on the page time and again and the dynamic between Derwent and Maeve is a strong one.
There is the tiniest of sub-plots running through the book which culminates in a scene just over halfway through; where I was left feeling: what on earth does that have to do with anything? And I still feel, even knowing how it was encompassed into the story, that it was shoe-horned in. The ending, I felt, fizzled out just a little after such a strong first three quarters of the book.
Having said that I did enjoy the book and will definately read the other Maeve Kerrigan’s in the series, and I will look out for any other Jane Casey novels.