Kathleen's Reviews > The Reckoning

The Reckoning by Jane Casey
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's review
Apr 03, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: awesome-woman-author, detective-series, police-procedural
Read from March 22 to April 01, 2012

The police in London are discovering the tortured and brutally maimed bodies of pedophiles: a priest, a family man, and a societal introvert, all seemingly unrelated in life. Are these acts of vengeance? Thrill seekers? Sadists? And, as the police are questioning even themselves, should the killer be arrested, or given a medal? Detective Constable Maeve Kerrigan, a female junior detective in a male-dominated field of work, believes that no matter how heinous the crime, no one deserves the horrific deaths she is investigating. And, no one should be allowed to take the law into their own hands.

Working with a new partner, Detective Investigator Josh Derwent, a chauvinist bastard who flaunts his seniority by telling Maeve "just stay out of my way and watch and learn", ramps up her stress level. Aggressive, rude, humorless, and a bad driver, Derwent prefers Maeve not think or make a move without his approval. Supposedly he is an accomplished detective, but it is hard to get past his personal drawbacks and see this. Also working in the Serious Crimes unit with Maeve is her lover, DC Rob Langton, a man she cannot, for many reasons, make a commitment to. His easy-going personality and dedication to Maeve help balance out the inconsiderate Derwent.

As Maeve tracks down the serial killer, another twist in the mystery is revealed: the teenage daughter of London's most notorious gangster is missing. Working on this angle of the case, Maeve realizes that the teenager is not the only woman to have disappeared. The magnitude of the case expands exponentially. And Maeve's co-workers, Derwent, her boss Superintendent Godley, Rob, and the only other female DC on the squad, Liv Bowen, all start to reveal facets previously concealed to her. Just when you think Derwent couldn't be more of twit, we see a different side. Her usually composed boss is not entirely immutable. Rob can lose his cool, especially when it comes to Maeve. And, if this series continues, I hope DC Bowen has a larger role; she was a welcome shift away from all the testosterone.

The story is well written with multiple twists, misleads, and a few distractions thrown in to purposefully sidetrack the reader. "The Reckoning" is a perfect title for this book. It's not only the criminals who receive their retribution, the victims find recompense, and Maeve and her co-workers all have their moment of reckoning. And this being the second book with DC Kerrigan, the reader can see how her character has grown, become more experienced with her line of work. However, as she still has to fight for recognition as an officer who just happens to be a woman, I don't understand why, at time, the author has Maeve unbutton her shirt in order to accomplish her work.

For new readers, this can be a stand alone novel. The last book with DC Kerrigan, "The Burning", was written from the different perspectives of Maeve and another character, with a short chapter told from Rob's point of view. This book is narrated by Maeve until close to the end when, perhaps unnecessarily, Rob takes over for two chapters. A narration by Maeve could have easily recounted the entire story. But, I like the author and the way she writes an intricate police procedural with good pacing and I hope DC Maeve Kerrigan has another book in the future.

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