I love murder mysteries. They are some of my favorite books, but I don’t read a lot of them. Why? Most are poorly done. If I can guess who the murder is five pages in, I don’t want to finish the mystery. If I get to the end of the book and the identity of the murder is a complete surprise out of left field and doesn’t make sense, I probably won’t read another by that author. I want to be surprised, but I want to be left bread crumbs, clues that make sense, so that I can investigate the crime along with the main character and come to the same conclusions. There aren’t many series like that, but I have finally found one that I love. The Maeve Kerrigan series by British author Jane Casey is a fantastic read full of intense imagery and clues. Set in London, Detective Constable Maeve Kerrigan is on a squad of police officers who investigate the most horrific or high profile murders. As one of the only women on the team she can be underestimated, a mistake for any criminal. Here is a break down of all of the books.
A serial killer is on the lose. He has already beaten four women beyond recognition before lighting the bodies on fire, earning him the nickname, The Burning Man. DC Maeve Kerrigan is on the task force that is working to bring him to justice, when a fifth body, Rebecca Haworth, is discovered. As Kerrigan digs deeper into the fifth victim’s life she starts to realize that The Burning Man might not be responsible after all and a second killer is on the loose. Kerrigan is the narrator of the book as well as Louise, Rebecca’s best friend, to give more perspective into Rebecca’s life. A life that seems idyllic and wonderful on the outside, but under the surface is dark and desperate.
Somebody is murdering pedophiles. Murdering and torturing them. DC Maeve Kerrigan is no stranger to violence, but even she is shocked by the amount of violence in these murders. Many people feel like justice if finally being served, but Kerrigan doesn’t want anybody to think they should take the law into their own hands.
The Reckoning is one of my very favorites of the Maeve Kerrigan series. The case takes so many twists and turns during this book that by the end you forget it even started with a pedophile serial killer.
The Last Girl
Philip Kennford has made his name defending the nation’s scum. He isn’t much better himself, know for his womanizing ways and openly favoring one of his twins over the other. When his wife and favorite twin are found brutally murdered in their home, Dc Maeve Kerrigan has her work cut out for her trying to get to the bottom of the mystery with very little physical evidence and a very uncooperative family.
I thought I had this one figured out more than once, only to be proven wrong. I love it when I am surprised by the ending!
The Stranger You Know
When a serial killer starts killing women all over London, DC Maeve Kerrigan is asked to help investigate without her partner DI Josh Derwent. The reason? The murders are very similar to a murder that took place years ago in which Derwent was the prime suspect. He was never convicted but no other killer was ever caught. She must work to clear his name, while it seems like the rest of the force is working to convict him and worse, he wants to be included in the investigation even though Kerrigan has strict instructions not to let him.
I figured out this one long before the end of the book, but I couldn’t figure out the motive! It was a fascinating look into the back story of one of my favorite character Josh Derwent.
It starts with one police officer being found dead in his car in the middle of a park. It seems like a coincidence that he is a cop until another one dies and then another. The police are running scares because no one knows when the cop killer will strike next. The killings are random, different divisions, different ranks, different areas. There is very little to go on when DC Maever Kerrigan and her partner DI Josh Derwent pick up the case. This book struck me a lot like The Reckoning, cases within cases, something I really like because it helps keep you guessing until the very end. An ending that I can’t lie, left me slightly heart broken.
After the Fire (I was given a copy of this book for review purposes)
After a fire tears through a North London apartment building three causalities are found. Two bodies are found locked in a flat and the third is a well known politician that chose to jump to his death than be rescued. Was the fire an accident? Was it arson directed at the politician? That is what DC Maeve Kerrigan intends to find out, but as they learn more about the residents of the building it seems like the fire could have been meant for any one of them.
This one is a favorite for sure. I loved finding more about each of the victims little by little discovering that maybe they weren’t as innocent as they first seemed.
The Maeve Kerrigan books are hands down my favorite mystery novels I have read in a long time. Kerrigan is a likeable character who is good at her job. She stands as a tough but feminine female in a man’s world and she does it well. She isn’t superwoman, she is intensely flawed in her personal life that leads to some frustration from the reader, but it is part of what keeps you reading. Each book could stand on its own as a separate novel, but the are parts of her personal story that flow from book to book. The author is good at explaining any previous information so that you could easily read one book without having read any of the previous.
The other characters are likeable even with they are making mistakes. DI Josh Derwent is obnoxiously sexist, but is hilarious and always on his toes. Part of me loves his personality in this series because it makes him the perfect police partner without feeling like he is a potential romantic partner. He is fiercely loyal to Kerrigan and they make a great crime solving team. Kerrigan seems to get used to him and learn to play off him as the series go, so they become a funnier and funnier partnership.
These are murder mysteries for sure, there is talk of blood and crime scenes and the very messed up serial killers they end up catching. I wouldn’t recommend them to anybody who isn’t up for that. I usually classify it as Law and Order SVU in a book, but set in England. There is also quite a bit of hard language in them, enough that I wouldn’t recommend them to my extremely conservative mother, but they are still easily one of my favorite series of all time. They are page turning, captivating books with a few laughs and a few heartbreaks and a lot of police work.