Monday, April 14, 2014

The Burning: Jane Casey


From the summary at Amazon:
Maeve Kerrigan is an ambitious detective constable, keen to make her mark on the murder task force. Her male colleagues believe Maeve’s empathy makes her weak, but the more she learns about the latest victim, Rebecca Haworth, from her grieving friends and family, the more determined Maeve becomes to bring her murderer to justice. But how do you catch a killer no one has seen when so much of the evidence has gone up in smoke?
This is another mystery novel that focuses on the search for a serial killer. The bodies that are found are gruesome but there is not a lot of violence. The emphasis is on the methodical sifting through clues, and data, and CCTV tapes looking for evidence to solve the crime.

I thought this was a fine police procedural. I liked the emphasis on Maeve as the lone female policewoman in her group, and the issues that this caused (for her). It was realistic (I think) in that many men she worked with treated her well, others went out of their way to poke fun or make things difficult for her. Yet, Maeve is always determined to do a good job and keeps plugging away. There are no perfect characters in this book; all of them are human with flaws, arguing and making mistakes.

For me, the element that elevated this beyond the standard police procedural was the use of two primary narrators, both female. The alternation between the two gives the reader some insight into knowledge that Maeve does not have.

I also liked that this had a very exciting finish. I felt the resolution was fairly obvious, but I was still glued to the book in the last 75 pages.

Check out these reviews which came out closer to when the book was originally published: At Petrona, and at Reactions to Reading.

I initially was offered this book to read by the publisher. There was a limited time to access it and I saw that I was going to miss that, so I purchased the e-book.

There are more books in this series and I am interested in trying the next one. When I finished this book, I read the first chapter of The Reckoning provided at the end of the e-book and it was appealing.

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Publisher:  Minotaur Books; Reprint edition (August 30, 2011); originally pub. 2010
Length: print length 368 pages
Format: e-book
Series:  Maeve Kerrigan, #1
Genre:  Mystery, Police Procedural



18 comments:

  1. I really want to read more books by Irish women writers, and this sounds good, with women ptogagonists. However, the TBR list is so huge, but I will add it on.

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    1. Kathy, I want to read more books by women writers from any country, but it was a plus to read an Irish writer. And the protagonist has Irish background, although the book is not set in Ireland.

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  2. Really glad to hear that it's not too gruesome because I really can't cope with that in most genre efforts (I just sklip the pages) - really horrible things happen say in John Irving's books too but they are handled with such humour and empathy that it has a very different effect on me as a reader - is this one set in the UK? Sounds really good and I;ll see about getting it - thanks.

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    1. Oh my gosh, I cannot believe I did not mention the setting. The story is set in London.

      The book I am reading now (Original Skin, David Mark) is too gruesome but written so well (so far) that I am trying to ignore the gruesomeness.

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  3. Tracy, I have to get down to reading more crime fiction by women writers and about women characters. The last one I read had a female homicide detective, one of many assorted characters, and I was happy the author gave her the grand finale, so to speak. She is also the lone woman among the bunch of police investigators.

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    1. Prashant, One review I read mentioned that the women detective in a male-dominated profession was not original, but there are so many more police procedurals starring men ... so I was not sure what the complaint was. I have read one other book in the same vein recently, but I am not getting tired of them yet.

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  4. Tracy - I'm so glad you liked this novel. I think you're absolutely right that it's set apart from the rest, so to speak, by Maeve Kerrigan's character. I like Casey's writing style, too, and she's developed some of the other characters effectively.

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    1. Margot, I did enjoy the book, and liked the characters. They seemed realistic (as realistic as characters in fiction can be).

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  5. I have this on my reader! Looking forward to it! Also have a David Mark but not that one.

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    1. I am sure you will like this, Peggy. Look forward to your review.

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  6. Kind of like the sound of this, but it bears similarities to lots of other books that I already have, (police and serial killers) though there are maybe enough differences to make it worth a look - female author, strong female characters and voices.

    Time factor and a ramped mountainous pile rules it out for now.

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    1. Col, probably not gritty enough for you, but if you ever decide to try it, it does come from a different point of view. I am interested to see if future books in the series are similar in structure. But like most series I start, don't know when I can get back to it.

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  7. I really enjoyed this one as well! It was a surprisingly solid start to this series and I am eager to continue on with the next book as well! Glad to hear that you enjoyed it!

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    1. Hi, Samantha, I appreciate you commenting. I checked out your review and I am glad you enjoyed it too.

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  8. I bought this book a long time ago. I'm in no rush to read it since it's another serial killer type of story and I'm sorta tired of those. Blame my mood. Thanks for the review Tracy.

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    1. Keishon, I haven't read many serial killer books lately, because I got turned off by one very gruesome one, so this one did not bother me in comparison.

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  9. I've seen a few reviews of this, and yours makes me want to read it. I'll get round to it some time.

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    1. Moira, I am partial to police procedurals, and this one fit the bill, and with a female author and protagonist.

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