Friday, January 29, 2021

Review of Cruel Acts by Jane Casey (2019, Harper Collins)

Cruel Acts is the eighth book in the Maeve Kerrigan police procedural series set in London. In this outing DS Kerrigan and her boss, DI Joss Derwent, are tasked with reviewing the case against Leo Stone, a convicted killer. After a juror’s book casts doubt on the impartiality of the original trial, and the evidence of the pathologist is called into doubt, it seems likely that there will be a re-trial with Stone released from prison until that takes place. Stone was convicted for the murder of two women and suspected of killing a third. Examining the evidence, it’s clear to Kerrigan and Derwent that it’s not as convincing as they would like and one of the women’s family is convinced Stone is innocent. Not long after he is released, however, a fourth woman disappears from near to his residence though Stone appears to have an alibi. Kerrigan believes that the third missing woman holds the key to the case, but nobody else is convinced. In my view, this series is going from strength to strength, with a good balance between the mystery and investigation of the cases and the personal development of Kerrigan and her career and fraught relationship with Derwent and other colleagues. Both these elements are compelling and convincing in this instalment. In particular, the plot is very well constructed and storytelling has a nicely judged pace. There are a couple of well placed red herrings and twists and the denouement is very well done, being somewhat extended and unrushed, with decent wrap-up. Overall, an entertaining and engaging read and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

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