By Olga Nuñez Miret
I’ve realised that recently I seem to have been reading random books in series, sometimes series I had visited before, and it has worked surprisingly well…
The Close by Jane Casey (Maeve Kerrigan, N. 10)
The gripping new detective crime thriller featuring Maeve Kerrigan and Josh Derwent from the Top Ten Sunday Times bestselling author
‘I loved, loved LOVED The Close. If you haven’t read Jane Casey, start immediately – excellent police procedurals with DELICIOUS sexual tension’
Marian Keyes, the Sunday Times No.1 Bestseller
‘With each book in this series, Jane takes us deeper into the lives and minds of her characters. THE CLOSE thrums with the tension of a classic crime thriller but more than that it ties us tighter to the fates of Maeve, Derwent and the wider cast in new and unexpected ways. If this wasn’t already one of my favourite crime series, THE CLOSE would have catapulted it up there. Brilliant’
Sarah Hilary, author of Someone Else’s Skin
‘Jane Casey is writing the most dangerously addictive series in crime fiction and The Close absolutely sizzles with her trademark tension’
Erin Kelly, the Sunday Times Bestseller
At first glance, Jellicoe Close seems to be a perfect suburban street – well-kept houses with pristine lawns, neighbours chatting over garden fences, children playing together.
But there are dark secrets behind the neat front doors, hidden dangers that include a ruthless criminal who will stop at nothing.
It’s up to DS Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent to uncover the truth. Posing as a couple, they move into the Close, blurring the lines between professional and personal as never before.
And while Maeve and Josh try to gather the evidence they need, they have no idea of the danger they face – because someone in Jellicoe Close has murder on their mind.
About the author:
Jane Casey is an Irish-born author of crime novels. She was born in Dublin in 1977 and grew up in Castleknock, 8 km (5 mi) west of the centre of Dublin. She studied English at Jesus College, Oxford.
Her first book, The Missing, was published by Ebury Press in February 2010. It was shortlisted for the Ireland AM Crime Fiction Award. She then began a series of novels featuring Detective Constable Maeve Kerrigan:The Burning, The Reckoning, The Last Girl, The Stranger You Know and The Kill (which was shortlisted for the Ireland AM Crime Fiction Award 2014). She has also begun a series of novels for young adults, featuring her character Jess Tennant: How to Fall, Bet Your Life and Hide and Seek.
I read and reviewed book 7 in Casey’s Maeve Kerrigan’s series some time ago, enjoyed both, the police-procedural/mystery plot and the characters, and now, after reading book 10, my emotions are pretty similar, although there have been many changes.
First of all, yes, this can be read as a stand-alone, although, of course, much of the background and many of the nuances, especially in the relationship between the two main protagonists, DS Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent, can only be deduced or guessed at. I don’t think that affects the enjoyment of the part of the plot centred on the investigation, although some new readers seem not to have been too partial to the “romantic” part of the plot. On the other hand, readers who have been eagerly following the series seemed to be very pleased with the turn of events and the fact that the “will they/won’t they” relationship between Kerrigan and Derwent was explored in more detail here. Personally, I didn’t mind it, because it gave me a chance to find out more things about them, especially about Kerrigan, who narrates most of the story in the first person.
We meet Kerrigan when she seems very close to a meltdown. She’s survived a violent relationship although not unscarred, and she keeps denying what is evident to those who know her best. She, who is a brilliant investigator, intuitive, and full of empathy, can hardly function at work and finds it difficult to focus and think clearly. Because of that, and despite her reluctance, she finds herself chosen to participate in a special assignment, where she and Derwent have to pretend to be a couple and infiltrate a small suburban community (the close of the title) to investigate a suspicious death nobody had picked on.
The seemingly idyllic close hides a few things (not solely related to the case that brought them there) and with another case back home also requiring Maeve’s attention, there are plenty of clues, twists, turns, red herrings, and suspects to keep readers guessing. We also have Pippin, a dog with a talent for escapism, a menagerie of characters the protagonists (and the readers) have to get to grips with, emotions and feelings (welcome and unwelcome) between them… And an anonymous and dark character, the other narrator (this time in the third person), whose thoughts and company increase the tension exponentially and make for a very uncomfortable reading experience.
The writing flows well, and although impatient readers might have preferred less time being dedicated to the everyday life at the close, I found that the changes in rhythm and the odd touches of humour worked well as they gave us more time to digest the information and at times created an illusion of domesticity and safety, making us forget the dangers and the menace hiding in plain sight.
I enjoyed the ending and even guessed some of what was going on (although it took me a while, and the author was very good at making us second-guess ourselves), and although some things are left hanging on, I am sure most readers will be happy to carry on reading the next instalments in this series. This is not a cosy read, and although they are not examined in detail or in an explicit manner, some of the subjects discussed in the book (domestic violence, exploitation of vulnerable adults, paedophilia, violence, murder…) can be upsetting, so readers need to be cautious.
In sum, this is a well-written, entertaining, and twisty book, with several solid mysteries, and a good combination of a gripping plot and interesting characters you’ll want to get to know better. I have another one of Casey’s books on my list, and I’m already looking forward to reading it.
I thank NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for providing me with an ARC copy of this book, which I freely chose to review.
Thanks to all of you for reading, remember to share it with anybody who might enjoy it, keep smiling and having fun.