The Stranger You Know
A Maeve Kerrigan Mystery by Jane Casey
Review: Detective Constable Maeve Kerrigan is assigned to a team investigating the murder of a young woman found in similar circumstances to two others, suggesting a serial killer may be at work, in The Stranger You Know, the fourth mystery in this series by Jane Casey.
The victims are all laid out neatly in their homes, strangled but not otherwise assaulted, their eyes carefully removed and placed in each hand. There is no evidence of a break-in, suggesting the women knew — or at least had reason to trust — who killed them. The crime scenes have been meticulously cleaned afterwards, suggesting someone familiar with police procedures might be the killer. Maeve is initially confused when her partner, DCI Josh Derwent, isn't also assigned to the case but later learns there's a good reason why not: as a teenager, his 15-year-old girlfriend was murdered and found in remarkably similar circumstances, the killer never identified. Derwent isn't necessarily a suspect in these latest murders, and he was cleared of all involvement in his girlfriend's death, but out of an abundance of caution their supervisor is keeping him at a distance. And maybe with good reason …
Some police procedurals rely on an ensemble cast to go about solving a crime, or a series of crimes, all while the reader knows — or strongly suspects — who the perpetrator is. Indeed, in many of these books, the culprit has their own point of view. Not so with The Stranger You Know, where for starters the narrative is from the perspective of one character (Maeve Kerrigan) and the whodunit aspect is just as important as the how-are-we-going-to-solve-it element. The plotline is superbly structured, with multiple threads that are all related to the case and yet apparently have no connection to each other. That they are all so neatly untangled and resolved in the end is remarkable storytelling. Maeve's astute observations may remind one of Sherlock Holmes, but whereas he seemed to often use his talent for detail as theater, she uses hers to advance her investigation. Though probably 50-80 pages too long — a slightly shorter version would have made for a crisper flow and a more intense read — this superior mystery with its cleverly devised misdirection and adept sleight of hand in moving the story forward is highly recommended.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of The Stranger You Know for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Last Girl
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), May 2013
ISBN-13: 9780312622015; ISBN-10: 0312622015
Location(s) referenced in The Stranger You Know: England
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The Stranger You Know by Jane Casey — A Maeve Kerrigan Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: May 2014
List Price: $25.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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