Today I am reviewing After the Fire by Jane Casey. As always, I was supplied with a copy of the book – in this case, an eGalley – in exchange for my honest review.
About the book (from the publisher): Arson, accident, or murder? After a fire rips through a North London tower block, two bodies are found locked in an 11th floor flat. But it is the third victim that ensures the presence of detective Maeve Kerrigan and the murder squad. It appears that controversial MP Geoff Armstrong, trapped by the fire, chose to jump to his death rather than wait for rescue. But what was such a right-wing politician doing in the deprived, culturally diverse Maudling Estate? As Maeve and her senior colleague, Derwent, pick through the wreckage, they uncover the secret world of the 11th floor, where everyone seems to have something to hide…
My review: This is my first encounter with one of Jane Casey’s novels. In fact, this is the most recent (published in June 2015) in her Maeve Kerrigan series. She’s written five others. Let me add that it can be read as a stand-alone novel, which, indeed, I did. But it is so well written that I am now chomping at the bit to read the rest of the books in the series in order.
Maeve Kerrigan, the protagonist of this series, is an Irish Londoner, who is excellent at her job, and clearly driven. As written by Casey, she has a heart and soul and takes her work very seriously. She also has a back story which continues in this book; a dangerous stalker and a recently ended romantic relationship. Her colleagues at the Met are richly drawn and they provide a realistic texture to the story – all of them good at their jobs, some of them prickly and hard to deal with on a daily basis.
Casey proves herself to be excellent at juggling the many plot points. It’s a complex mystery and Casey keeps the story riveting. She knows what to reveal and when, but only so much as to keep the story moving. I consider myself fairly adept at figuring out whodunnit, but Casey outfoxed me. Each time some sort of answer was revealed, I was completely surprised by the outcome.
That, my friends, is perfection.
All of the characters involved in the fire are fully fleshed out, beautifully written. The story opens with a peek into their lives right before the fire and later in the novel, the puzzle pieces created at the top of the story fit into place.
What I love about this series is that we get an understanding of the weariness and pain and sorrow that go along with police work. It’s draining, spiritually and physically, and the memories of things seen and lives lost leave their mark on each and every member of the force.
I recommend this book highly.
About the author: “All my criminal elements have some basis in reality, no matter how awful they may be. Nothing is completely farfetched.” Crime is a family affair for Jane Casey. Married to a criminal barrister, she has a unique insight into the brutal underbelly of urban life, from the smell of the police cell to the darkest motives of a serial killer. This gritty realism has made her books international bestsellers and critical successes; while DC Maeve Kerrigan has quickly become one of the most popular characters in crime fiction. He novel, The Stranger You Know, won the Mary Higgins Clark Award and she has also been shortlisted for the Irish Crime Novel of the Year Award four times, as well as the CWA Dagger in the Library Award.
Thank you to NetGalley and Ebury Press for an eGalley of After the Fire.