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by Jane Casey
Ebury Press, July 2011
496 pages
6.99 GBP
ISBN: 0091941202

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

When a killer starts to target paedophiles, most people, even the police, seem to think the men are simply getting what's coming to them, but DC Maeve Kerrigan is horrified by the escalating violence and believes the victims are as entitled to justice as anyone else. Then, when a young girl goes missing, Kerrigan finds herself with even more problems on her hands, and the fact that the girl is the daughter of a well-now drugs dealer is yet another complicating factor. Kerrigan's troubles get worse when she discovers that she is under surveillance by someone who seems to be determined to make the footage they've gained available to everyone, including her colleagues, on the internet.

Kerrigan is paired up with young, ambitious Detective Inspector Josh Derwent. Like a lot of her colleagues, he's patronizing and not too impressed by any of his junior colleagues who, in his book, should be seen and not heard, and that includes Kerrigan. Whilst clearly there as a foil for her main character, Casey actually does a reasonably good job of not making Derwent too unlikeable and in general, the police characters, whilst flawed, are depicted with sympathy and a good dash of realism.

THE RECKONING progresses at a good pace. It sucked me quickly into the story and kept me engaged, being neither so complex as to be confusing, nor too simplistic to be unsatisfying. The only time I felt the narrative flow faltered badly was quite late on in the story when without warning Casey switches narrator from Kerrigan to her boyfriend - policeman and fellow team member Rob Langton. Despite the fact that previous sections of the book were labelled with Kerrigan's first name, the author had stuck with one narrator for the first three-quarters of the story, so I'd ceased to notice the relatively infrequent headings, and the shift, when it came, was extremely confusing.

As a narrative device, changing the perspective can be useful, but here it was both jarring and largely unnecessary. It would have been better to have either introduced Langton in the capacity of occasional narrator earlier on, to have accustomed the reader to such shifts, or to have stuck with Kerrigan's point of view throughout. This criticism aside, THE RECKONING was an otherwise enjoyable and competent police procedural.

Linda Wilson is a writer, and retired solicitor, with an interest in archaeology and cave art, who now divides her time between England and France.

Reviewed by Linda Wilson, August 2011

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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