The following two paragraphs are the summary of my review of THE BURNING, the first in the Maeve Kerrigan series by Jane Casey.

“As the story moves forward, the identity of the person who killed Rebecca becomes apparent but I didn’t care. It didn’t spoil the book because the author is a master of character development. Rebecca, Louise, Rebecca’s parents, boy friends present and past, Maeve, Superintendent Godly, and Detective Constable Rob Langton are fully drawn and such complete personalities that there is no chance that the reader will confuse one with another. THE BURNING is a character driven novel that tells an engrossing story. I read it in a day because I kept wanting to know more and I knew the author would not disappoint.

In describing with such careful detail the dress Rebecca is wearing when her body is found, the reader learns within a few pages that Jane Casey doesn’t squander words. Instead, she expends them to create images as fully realized as if they had been done in oils on canvas.”

THE RECKONING brings back the main characters introduced in THE BURNING, with DC Maeve Kerrigan at the center.  The word “reckoning”  is defined as “a settling of accounts”.  The nautical term “dead reckoning” describes calculating a current position based on a previous position. These two points don’t have to be part of the finite world.  “Day of reckoning”is the time when we are judged for what we have done and for what we have failed to do.

THE RECKONING opens with the settling of accounts.  Someone is killing pedophiles who have served their sentences and re-entered society successfully.  The killer seemingly has decided that punishment determined by the courts isn’t punishment enough.  The story moves from the killing of pedophiles to the kidnapping of the fourteen year-old daughter of John Skinner, the area’s mob boss.  Who would take on organized crime and what was the reason?  The story begins as one thing and then becomes something else or maybe not.  The day of reckoning, the last judgment, is in this world for some and in the next for others.  Then at the end, it becomes something else again.

If this review seems vague and disjointed, that’s because it is.  THE RECKONING is complex, it has a large cast of characters, and it has multiple strands that need to be followed and frequently untied.  To tell even a little of the story would be telling too much.  Although it has many of the same characters it is a very different book from THE BURNING.  Jane Casey has created the first two steps in what will likely be a long and successful series.  Maeve is young and only on the lowest rung of her profession’s ladder.  Her climb will be worth reading because the other characters are interesting if not always likeable.

Like THE BURNING, THE RECKONING couldn’t be put down.

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4 Responses to THE RECKONING – Jane Casey

  1. Maxine says:

    I liked this book but found it over-long and complicated, as you hint, and some of the procedural aspects seemed a little unlikely. I did not think it was as good as The Burning. I’ve recently read and reviewed the next one, The Last Girl, which is well-written but suffers from similar issues.

  2. Oh, Beth…I’ve got to read some more Jane Casey. These sound so good…and I have both THE BURNING and THE RECKONING in my TBR file. Did you see my review of Casey’s MISSING on Amazon? It’s definitely a character study.
    I’m enjoying your Facebook comments, too

    • Beth says:

      I think THE BURNING was one that gets the reader at a more primitive level; sort of “this could happen to anyone” while the vigilante concept of THE RECKONING is more like “they got what the deserved”.

    • Beth says:

      Jane, I am pretending that there aren’t anymore Jane Casey books until I make a dent in the list I have. People who disparage mystery fiction because they think it is all similar to Agatha Christie have no idea what they are missing.

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