The Burning by Jane Casey

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The Burning by Jane Casey

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Louise Laurie
Reviewed by Louise Laurie
Summary: A serial killer's on the loose in London. Young women are not safe out at night but the latest victim, Rebecca, leaves a very interesting tale behind and it's up to energetic and ambitious police detective Maeve Kerrigan to fit the pieces of the jig-saw together - with some surprising results along the way.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 496 Date: November 2010
Publisher: Ebury
ISBN: 978-0091936006

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The book opens with a bunch of young women enjoying a drink-fuelled night out in the capital. And as often happens, there's always one absolutely paralytic - with drastic consequences. Casey gives her readers a sharp taste of danger early on as we accompany the unfortunate Kelly on a terrifying taxi ride. The media is stirring up a right old frenzy and calling this local serial killer The Burning Man. And yes, it's a suitably horrible title and we hear it time and time again throughout the book.

The story then cuts abruptly to the character of Louise. The typeface is different: it's larger, bolder. It takes on its own importance. And I paid close attention to what Louise had to say for herself in her precise fashion. For me, there was something 'missing' in Louise's psyche. She appeared on the surface to have it all - a charmed life. She had a good job, no financial worries and her love life? A bit hit and miss, shall we say. But was she bothered? Hard to tell with Louise. She was a dab hand at keeping her emotions in check. But why? She must have been worn to a frazzle at the end of the day.

And as the story deepens and develops, Louise sees herself playing second-fiddle to her glamorous, vivacious best friend Rebecca. Well, now that Rebecca's dead perhaps things will change. And this is where the feisty police detective Maeve comes in. You can tell early on that she's good at her job, but she's not a show-off. I warmed to her from the start. There's some lovely lines of self-deprecating Irish humour too (Maeve's of proud Irish stock).

Casey's easy, fluid style is excellent. I was able to get into the plot quickly and felt immersed in the characters' lives. The intertwining stories of Rebecca and Louise alongside Maeve (all of a similar age) also makes for entertaining reading. But there's no getting away from the fact that the pressure's on to find this serial killer before he/she strikes again. There's also the odd twist and turn to keep the reader guessing which I appreciated.

I also liked the fact that Casey gives her readers her two main characters from two different vantage points, if you like. The deceased Rebecca's life is picked over mercilessly by the police detectives as part of their job. Can they safely assume that she's another notch for The Burning Man? And as for Louise, well, she certainly works hard to present a cool, calm and collected face to the world at large. But why? And to what end?

Casey has a natural and easy style of storytelling which works. I really enjoyed this novel with its satisfying psychological slant and I think many fans of the crime genre will not be disappointed. I look forward to Casey's next book (if there is one, of course). Recommended.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this book appeals then you might enjoy Die For You by Lisa Unger.

Jane Casey's Maeve Kerrigan series in Chronological Order

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