Source: Review copy
Publication: 2nd March 2023 from Harper Collins
My thanks to Harper Collins for an advance copy for review
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.
I am a sucker for the kind of police procedural that has central characters in a will they/won’t they situation. Whether it is Ruth and Nelson or Maeve and Josh, I just can’t wait to see how the next case bleeds into the central relationships.
Jane Casey’s writing feels effortless as she draws you into the latest case. Maeve Kerrigan, however, isn’t finding life quite so effortless. In fact she is really struggling. The events of The Cutting Place have left her battered and bruised, mentally more than physically, though that, too.
She’s overseeing the murder of consultant Dr Hassan Dawoud in a hospital car park. Darwoud’s husband would be the obvious suspect, but he has a cast iron alibi. DC Georgia Shaw is finally showing signs of being able to step up to the plate, but Maeve just does not feel up to supervising her to the best of her ability.
Josh can see that Maeve is struggling and so, when he finds himself faced with an angry politician demanding action over the death of a vulnerable adult, he resolves to make the most of it and to take Maeve with him on an undercover job.
Davy Bidwell was found dead in a derelict house in Acton. Judy Thwaites had been looking after him for a few days and Davy’s family believe that Judy is part of a team exploiting vulnerable adults. They’ve managed to rile up the Mayor and action is now being demanded.
So Josh and Maeve head to West Idleford where Judy Thwaites lives in Jellicoe Close, a quiet street where the neighbours all know each other and socialise together. Posing as a young couple in love, Josh and Maeve purport to be house-sitters for an academic who is conveniently on a lecture tour out of the country. They’ll not only be house sitting, but also looking after Pippin the dog.
It’s the ideal situation for Josh to look after Maeve and the closeness that they have to feign leads to undoubted strong chemistry and a tension between them that shimmers and simmers unbearably under the hot summer sun and in the dark, stifling nights. The atmosphere only serves to highlight how claustrophobic the whole set up is for Maeve, who was already struggling to relax.
The Close is a book that you just soak up. The neighbours in Jellicoe Close form a tight knit community with everyone knowing, or wanting to know, everyone else’s business. It’s not long before Maeve feels threatened by the local letch despite the fact that she and Josh are clearly hanging on each other’s every word.
But, as you might expect, not everyone in Jellicoe Close is what they seem. Behind the net curtains lies more than one unpleasant occurrence and Maeve and Josh find themselves investigating many of their neighbours; at least one has murder on their mind. Meanwhile, you can’t help but be drawn into the complex relationship that is developing between Josh and Maeve.
Verdict: This is a terrific read with favourite characters developing their long running relationships at the same time as investigating really tricky crimes. Beautifully written, fast-paced and incredibly tense in all kinds of ways, this is a proper page turner from Jane Casey.
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Jane Casey was born and brought up in Dublin. A former editor, she has written eleven crime novels for adults and three for teenagers. Her books have been international bestsellers, critically acclaimed for their realism and accuracy. The Maeve Kerrigan series has been nominated for many awards: in 2015 Jane won the Mary Higgins Clark Award for The Stranger You Know and Irish Crime Novel of the Year for After the Fire. In 2019, Cruel Acts was chosen as Irish Crime Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards. It was a Sunday Times bestseller. The Killing Kind was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick in 2021, and is being adapted for television. Jane lives in southwest London with her husband, who is a criminal barrister, and their two children. Photo:Annie Armitage