Source: Review copy
Publication: 27 May 2021 from Harper Collins
My thanks to Harper Collins for an early copy for review
He tells you you’re special…
As a barrister, Ingrid Lewis is used to dealing with tricky clients, but no one has ever come close to John Webster. After Ingrid defended Webster against a stalking charge, he then turned on her – following her, ruining her relationship, even destroying her home.
He tells you he wants to protect you…
Now, Ingrid believes she has finally escaped his clutches. But when one of her colleagues is run down on a busy London road, Ingrid is sure she was the intended victim. And then Webster shows up at her door…
But can you believe him?
Webster claims Ingrid is in danger – and that only he can protect her. Stalker or saviour? Murderer or protector? The clock is ticking for Ingrid to decide. Because the killer is ready to strike again.
Like most crime enthusiasts. I am a fan of Jane Casey’s Maeve Kerrigan series., so an opportunity to read her first stand-alone novel was far too good to pass by. And it is, of course, a cracker!
Ingrid Lewis is a barrister. She’s good at her job and doing well when she is called on to defend a stalker. John Webster is a clever, cunning sociopath who likes to see the impact he has on his victims and to make them do things they do not want to do. Ingrid gets her client an innocent verdict, but it seems that, rather than being grateful, her success has only served to intrigue him and now it is Ingrid who is the focus of his nightmarish attentions.
Ever since he walked free, Ingrid’s life has turned to dust. She becomes the target of texts and emails, he posts fake videos designed to destroy her reputation and even sends risqué material to her boss. His campaign of harassment peaked when her house burned down and she lost the love of her life, her fiancé Mark. Everywhere she goes she has to be constantly on her guard, checking to make sure she isn’t being followed.
So after she lends a colleague her distinctive umbrella and that colleague is the victim of a tragic accident, Ingrid is sure that John Webster has killed the wrong woman and that John Webster’s real target was Ingrid herself.
Jane Casey does an excellent job of depicting the life of a woman who is being stalked. The level of obsession of stalkers is so creepy and very chilling and we can see how much of Ingrid’s life is curtailed by the constant feeling that she is being watched and followed. Not even a restraining order makes much difference, though the one she had has now expired.
Now she’s living in an open plan loft apartment in a gated community and yet still she does not feel safe. With good reason, it transpires…
Casey’s tense and dramatic story shifts from past to present as we learn through witness statements, court scenes, and from police interviews what has transpired in the past in Ingrid’s cases and in her own past. It’s fascinating to hear the cases she has handled and the ways in which people behave…you know reading this that these cases all have the stamp of authenticity on them and despair at the irresponsible behaviour of so many.
There are many strands to this novel and at times I found myself wondering how reliable a narrator Ingrid herself is, given everything she has been through it’s not surprising that she can’t trust anyone and feels hunted and under strain.
Then a death occurs and Ingrid is convinced that she is onto something and determines to follow up her instincts, especially when she can’t get the police to treat her as seriously as she would like. Fortunately she has DC Adam Nash to turn to. Sympathetic to her cause, despite the lack of any evidence, he agrees to help her with her enquiries.
From then on Ingrid is in the midst of a whirlwind of events and Casey throws the reader’s expectations up in the air and plays with them as if they were part of a plate spinning trick. Riddled with twists and turns, false leads and expectations, Casey has created a humdinger of a creepy and menacing psychological thriller that is deliciously clever.
John Webster and Ingrid are great characters; he is cunning, malevolent and utterly ruthless without morals or scruples – a Moriarty type of figure. Ingrid is strong woman with good instincts who has been manipulated and ground down by her Webster until she has no idea who she can trust. But if she trusts the wrong person, her life is at stake.
I spotted one element of the wonderful layered creation that is The Killing Kind, but the whole thing is put together so cleverly that it hardly matters; there are so many thrills, twists and surprises in this intelligent and deftly plotted novel that I could still be surprised and delighted at how it all comes together.
Verdict: A beautifully layered, cleverly plotted, pacy novel with lots of surprises that kept me reading. Definitely recommended.
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Jane Casey is the author of nine Maeve Kerrigan novels (and the Jess Tennant Mysteries (How to Fall, Hide and Seek, Bet Your Life)as well as two stand-alone novels The Missing and The Killing Kind. A graduate of Oxford she also has received a M. Phil from Trinity College, Dublin. Born and raised in Dublin, she lives in London where she works as an editor.