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Let the Dead Speak by Jane Casey

March 1, 2017

In the chilling new crime novel from award-winning author Jane Casey, Detective Maeve Kerrigan and the murder squad must navigate a web of lies to discover the truth…

A murder without a body

Eighteen-year-old Chloe Emery returns to her West London home one day to find the house covered in blood and Kate, her mother, gone. There may not be a body, but everything else points to murder.

A girl too scared to talk

Maeve Kerrigan is young, ambitious and determined to prove she’s up to her new role as detective sergeant. She suspects Chloe is holding something back, but best friend Bethany Norris won’t let Maeve get close. What exactly is Bethany protecting Chloe from?

A detective with everything to prove

As the team dig deeper into the residents of Valerian Road, no one is above suspicion. All Maeve needs is one person to talk, but that’s not going to happen. Because even in a case of murder, some secrets are too terrible to share…

 

This is the 7th Maeve Kerrigan book, (though it reads perfectly well as a stand-alone novel) and the newly promoted Detective Sergeant is still finding her feet in the new role. Added to which, D.C. Georgia Shaw, a rookie, has been assigned to her team and the two are not finding it easy to work together, not least because Kerrigan isn’t overly impressed with Shaw’s lack of skill in the job.

Adding the irrepressible and irascible D.I. Derwent to the mix creates a great set of characters to whom the reader can really relate. I love the Kerrigan/Derwent team – they sizzle and spar off each other like a pair of sausages on a barbecue , and the addition of Georgia Shaw just adds a slice of pepper to the fire.

Eighteen year old Chloe Emery has returned early from her father’s house to her home in Putney. The house is covered in blood and there’s no sign of Chloe’s mother, Kate, yet her passport, keys, handbag and other daily use items are still in the house. Her neighbour, Oliver Norris has given Chloe a lift from the station and calls the police as soon as he sees the state of the house.

For D.S. Kerrigan, this is a case that screams out to be treated as murder. Casey very much keeps the crimes in this book close to home. It is a story of love and lovers, faith and infidelity, family and the lengths they will go to in order to protect each other.

Chloe is looked after by the Norris family; she and the Norris’s daughter, Bethany are best friends. Chloe will hardly speak to Kerrigan and Bethany is very protective of Chloe.

Oliver and Eleanor Norris are Bethany’s parents and they also have Oliver’s brother, Morgan staying with them. None of these people are attractive characters and they set about pointing the finger of blame at another neighbour who lives just down the street.

So we have a murder investigation with no body and a cast of characters who are suspicious from the outset. But no-one is saying anything; these are people who have way too many secrets to hide.

And yet, the joy of this book is that it has a completely believable plot, realistically drawn characters, and a sense of ironic humour which gives the characters a great deal of depth and strength.

As the body count rises Kerrigan and Derwent seem to be no closer to the truth and Kerrigan is prepared to put herself in harm’s way to get the answers she so desperately seeks.

Casey excels at building her characterisation and her plot fairly hums with the sounds of twists and turns that are rich and ultimately very satisfying. Her writing is sharp and focussed and she plots really well.

Let the Dead Speak is not only a terrific police procedural, it is also a highly enjoyable, gripping and sometimes emotional read.

The ending is not predictable (always a plus) and I really enjoyed it.

Let the Dead Speak is published by HarperCollins UK, Harper Fiction on 9th March 2017

 

 

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