BOOK REVIEWS

The Burning by Jane Casey

An absorbing investigation lead by a determined and engaging protagonist.
DC Maeve Kerrigan is tasked with questioning the relatives and friends of the latest victim of a serial killer known as The Burning Man…expect that Rebecca Haworth’s murder may be the work of a copy-cat…
A fast-paced plot-line that switches between Maeve and Louise, Rebecca’s best friend. Louise is hiding something from us, and the way in which Casey switches from one woman to the other, creates further tension. Maeve’s investigation leads her to interrogate and question a lot of different people. Regardless of their age and of their relation to Rebecca, these scenes were vividly rendered. The dialogues and the actions of the various characters rang through to life. Casey creates incredibly believable conversations, so much so that even characters who make only brief appearances are as fleshed out as the novel’s main protagonists.
Maeve is an energetic and ambitious DC. She is driven to do a good job: while she might not be too self-assured, she believes in her abilities, and in her own judgement. It was refreshing to read of a female detective who isn’t merely ‘strong’ but who is very nuanced. She could easily amuse readers but she could also reveal very affective fears. The treatment she is subjected to, due to her ‘Irish-ness’ and her gender help us understand her.
The only ‘fault’ I can pinpoint is in the character of Rebecca’s ex-boyfriend. He was not very believable, and his motivations and personality were inconsistent.
Overall, this novel packs a suspenseful exploration of a troubled woman’s life. I deeply appreciated how cleverly Casey presents Rebecca to us: the various characters Maeve questions give very conflicting impressions of Rebecca.

My rating: 3 stars

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