Megan's Reviews > The Reckoning

The Reckoning by Jane Casey
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's review
Jan 29, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 4-stars, crime-and-mystery, fiction
Read in January, 2012

The Reckoning is a solid follow-up to the very good The Burning, but its differing plot structure and deepening character relationships make it an even bigger winner, in my eyes. It's an emotionally and intellectually thoughtful crime novel, and I find myself liking DC Maeve Kerrigan more and more.

First, Maeve is a well-rounded and believable character. Casey fastidiously shows why Maeve was a good fit for an elite task force: on the job, she's observant and analytical, and her boss clearly has a good idea of her and her strengths (and weaknesses). In her personal life, she's a lot more muddled, but I really felt for her. And, okay, yes, I'm the type of reader who goes, "Oooh, yeah, a long interlude in which she and her not-really-a-boyfriend discuss their relationship! Yay!" So I didn't mind the ebbing of the book's pace in order for Maeve and Rob to come to terms with each other, but I can see how others might get bored with the long, personal parts. Overall, Maeve's narrative is so precise and engaging, and the extra bit of humor is quite appreciated (example: the off-handed mention of a much-despised co-worker from the last book who takes a job elsewhere, and how the team held a leaving party for him but didn't invite him) to contrast with the bleakness and violence of the murders she investigates.

Second, the depiction of workplace sexism impressed me in the first book, and I was even more impressed by how Casey handled it in the second book. As much as I enjoy books where sexism is not an issue and women are empowered as a matter of course, I can really appreciate an author taking the time to show that dealing with sexism can be a crushing endeavor that requires compromises and balancing acts, and the ends do not justify the means.

Third, GOOD PLOT. By the halfway point of the book, I could not stop reading, despite the fact it was already way too late at night. The plot as presented by the back-of-the-book-blurb seems straight-forward enough: catch the serial killer murdering paedophiles. But that person is caught prior to the book's midpoint, and at that point, the story explodes into something bigger and even more complicated. Plus, the plot involves Superintendent Godley's backstory, and it's good.

Fourth, the awesome ensemble! Even more so than in the first book, I could really feel the shape and the rhythm of the team as a whole, and that's something I really love in procedurals. Holy cats, Derwent is an excellent character, complicated and energetic and straddling the realistic line between likable and unlikable, and he serves as an terrific foil/partner for Maeve. Godley sets it out plainly: their strengths and weaknesses balance each other out, and he knows Maeve will have to suffer through Derwent's obnoxiousness, and she knows she will, too. Also, I loved Liv. LOVED LIV. Yay for another woman on the team! Yay for queer characters! And Rob, as before, is adorable and funny and intense and smart.

On the downside, I was a bit dismayed by the stalking aspect of the plot (I didn't have enough time to process it, I don't think, because I'm still going "Ew!" over it, and it made me sad that she did she not suspect). I also felt that the couple of chapters from Rob's point of view were a bit jarring; I understood their purpose, but they also felt as if they came out of left field: there was no warning or precedence (in this book, at least) for the last-minute inclusion of his POV. I did, however, like Rob's find-the-mole plot, and totally understand why and how he came to be the one in charge of that investigation. I'm also glad that the inclusion of his POV wasn't for the same reasons as in the last book--Maeve doesn't lose consciousness in this one. :)

So. Really liked it, can't wait for the next one (there WILL be a next one, right?), good book yay.

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