The Reckoning (Maeve Kerrigan Series #2)by Jane Casey
To the public, he's a hero: a brutal killer who targets sex offenders. To most of London's police force, he's the suspect in a gruesome, time-consuming case to be avoided. But to Detective Constable Maeve Kerrigan, he's a murderer—no matter the sins of his victims—and catching him is her job. Assigned to the case with the division's unreadable new DI,
To the public, he's a hero: a brutal killer who targets sex offenders. To most of London's police force, he's the suspect in a gruesome, time-consuming case to be avoided. But to Detective Constable Maeve Kerrigan, he's a murderer—no matter the sins of his victims—and catching him is her job. Assigned to the case with the division's unreadable new DI, Josh Derwent, young and inexperienced Maeve is determined to prove she has what it takes to make it as a female in the tough world of the London police.
But for a killer who strikes with such spectacle, this one is proving remarkably elusive. And when Maeve learns his motive might be about exacting revenge, his acts of incredible violence move from abstract justice to the intensely personal, and become all the more terrifying. Unsure whom she can trust even within her own department and knowing her life is at stake, Maeve will have to decide how far she's willing to go to ensure justice is served.
Jane Casey's taut, brilliantly executed thriller will have readers on the edge of their seats from the opening chapter to the stunning conclusion.
“Casey has succeeded in writing another impossible-to-put-down thriller with surprising plot twists and well-developed, intriguing characters. Readers will want to know what happens to Kerrigan next!” Library Journal (starred review)
“Genuinely suspenseful and extremely well written with just a touch of The Internet Is Going to Kill You, The Reckoning will keep readers turning pages long into the night and pushing the book on friends the next day.” RT Book Reviews (4½ stars, Top Pick)
“In sharp and supple prose, Casey illustrates both the nitty-gritty work and the keen instincts that solve crimes in this police procedural with a feminist bent, a worthy sequel to the well-received The Burning.” Booklist
“A neatly drawn study of male-female working relationships, commitment phobia and the grimier aspects of police work.” Kirkus
“An enticing mix of police work, romance, evildoers, sex, and sexism. . .Casey surrounds Kerrigan, an appealing blend of confidence and self-doubt, with a large cast of well-drawn characters, including Godley and Skinner. Admirers of Elizabeth George's ensemble police mysteries will find a lot to like.” Publishers Weekly
“Compelling. . .Casey's writing is assured and the story deftly drawn.” Irish Echo
“A satisfyingly tension-filled, page-rifling read that comes with the added bonus of beautifully realized characters and elegant prose. [Casey] moves effortlessly into the pantheon of top Irish female crime writers, a list that includes Tana French, Alex Barclay, Arlene Hunt and Niamh O'Connor.” The Irish Independent
“Astute, complex, layered--and very twisted. You'll remember this one for a long time.” Lee Child on The Burning
“Irish author Casey's impressive series debut, a taut serial killer thriller, delves deeply into the psyches of three women… Casey expertly combines a perceptive crime drama with an insightful look at the women's overlapping problems.” Publishers Weekly (starred review) on The Burning
“Casey rarely puts a foot wrong in this enthralling example of a bait-and-switch novel. . .Parallel first-person narratives from either side of the thin blue line contribute hugely to the novel's page-turning quality, although the author's success here is largely due to her superb characterizations. . .The Burning confirms that she's a talent to watch.” Irish Times on The Burning
Read an Excerpt
By Jane Casey
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2012 Jane Casey
All rights reserved.
If anyone had asked me, I'd have lied and said that being a detective was like any other job — a lot of routine and a bit of excitement now and then. The truth was, in fact, that it was like no other job in the world, except that there were good days and bad days. But the bad days were really, truly, epically bad. The bad days were spent standing too close to a decomposing body, trying not to gag. The bad days were random acts of violence on empty streets late at night with no witnesses. The bad days were domestic punch-ups that had got out of hand, dead drug addicts in dingy bedsits, elderly shut-ins whose neighbors only cared enough to call the police when the smell was too revolting to bear. I didn't care to count up how many days were bad ones; I suspected I wouldn't like the answer. But I could deal with it. I could cope.
I wasn't sure, however, that I could cope with my new case. More specifically, I wasn't sure that I could cope with my new boss. I wasn't at all sure I could stand it if all the days were bad, if every minute was another minute closer to breaking my spirit. I stared out of the car window as I half-listened to the driver beside me and wished I were somewhere else, with someone else.
It wasn't like me to be so unenthusiastic but nothing about my current situation was good. I was on my way to a crime scene I didn't want to face, accompanied by Detective Inspector Josh Derwent, one of two new additions to the team at that level. He and the other new DI, Keith Bryce, had worked with Godley before. That was about all they seemed to have in common. Bryce was quietly melancholy, and his face was as rumpled as his suits. Derwent was younger and had a reputation for being obsessively hard-working and infinitely aggressive. As far as I could tell, he liked fast driving, soft rock, and the sound of his own voice. Rumor had it he didn't like junior detectives to answer back. Handle with care was the advice circulating in the office, and I watched him covertly as he drove, heavy on the accelerator, heavy on the brake, swearing and spinning the wheel one-handed as if he were in a games arcade rather than pushing to make time on traffic-clogged London streets. Magic FM blared from the car radio, middle-of-the-road music at its most blandly inoffensive. Derwent sang along occasionally, unself-conscious even though he didn't know me at all. Not that I was likely to make anyone feel on edge, least of all him. I was the most junior of detective constables and he was an inspector, fifteen years in the job.
I had been prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt. I had suffered enough from misplaced gossip, from the assumptions made about me based on my looks, my height, my youth, my name. So when Superintendent Godley summoned me to his office and I found Derwent there already, leaning up against the glass wall that separated the boss from the rest of us, I didn't expect trouble. I should have known better. Even someone as inexperienced as me knew that when the superintendent didn't meet your eyes, it was time to get nervous.
"Maeve, you haven't met Josh Derwent yet, have you? He's taking the lead on a new job we've picked up in Brixton — a double murder, of sorts."
Derwent acknowledged me with a fleeting look, no smile. He was of average height but thick through the neck and shoulders, muscled like a bulldog. He was too rugged to be called handsome but his close-cropped hair, strong jaw and broken nose, and the tan he'd earned while training for marathons, made him distinctive. You'd certainly think twice before getting into a fight with him. The marathon running was a hobby that had raised eyebrows among my colleagues, most of whom counted a short jog to the vending machine as exercise. According to them, long-distance running was public masochism and a further sign that Derwent wasn't to be trusted. For my part, I couldn't work out how he found the time to train, but otherwise I didn't care. And he was certainly in great shape. It was really only the fact that he was standing in the same room with Superintendent Godley that made him look ordinary, but then there were comparatively few men who could measure up to the boss. Tall, with hair that had turned silver-white when he was still a young man, Godley was startlingly attractive. He must have been aware of the effect he had on people, but he seemed to be utterly without vanity. No one would dare to underestimate him because of his appearance; it was impossible to mistake what lay behind his brilliant blue eyes for anything but a sharp, focused intelligence.
But today, for some reason, the focus was off. Godley looked strained and sounded distracted, fumbling among his papers for the notes on the new case and not finding what he was looking for.
"I don't have the details to hand, but we've got two men, both tortured to death, bodies found within a mile of each other in the last twenty-four hours. Josh, I know you want to get going, so tell DC Kerrigan what we know so far while you're on the way."
It wasn't like Godley to be vague. One of the things that made him an outstanding boss was his command of each twist and turn in every case his team worked. I hesitated for a second before following Derwent out of the room. It wasn't my place to ask the superintendent if he was okay. Besides, I had problems of my own. Derwent could have looked more thrilled at the prospect of working with me. Maybe he had heard something about me from someone else on the team. Maybe I had made a bad first impression. Maybe he was just in a bad mood. Sitting next to him in the squad car, it was difficult to tell.
"Earth to DC Kerrigan. Come in, DC Kerrigan."
I jumped. "Sorry. I was miles away."
Derwent had interrupted his monologue about other motorists' shortcomings to ask me a question, and I'd missed it. He was looking at me impatiently, tapping his fingers on the edge of the steering wheel as the lights in front of us stubbornly stayed red.
"I asked you what you made of Godley's briefing. I thought you might have some insight to share." The sarcasm was biting and I managed not to wince. Just.
"The boss didn't say much. Only that there were two similar deaths in the same area."
"And that didn't make you think? Didn't make you wonder what's going on?"
"I don't know enough about either case yet to make any assumptions," I said levelly. "I don't want to jump to conclusions without knowing the facts." The facts you were supposed to share with me ...
"That's fair." Derwent was nodding as if I'd passed a test I didn't know I was taking. "Let's talk through the facts. Yesterday evening, Mrs. Claudia Tremlett called her local police station to report her husband missing. Ivan Tremlett was a self-employed software designer who lived in Clapham, just off the Common. He rented office space down the road in Brixton because he had three small children and they made too much noise for him to be able to work from home. He had two rooms above a laundrette and it was his habit to lock himself in. He was extremely security conscious, not least because he had quite a lot of expensive computer equipment. He didn't see clients at his office so he wasn't set up to receive visitors. Mrs. Tremlett became concerned when he failed to return home by six o'clock, because he always followed the same routine — out in the morning by half past eight, back by half past five. She had tried to raise him by phone, but got no reply from the mobile or landline. Mrs. Tremlett was extremely distressed on the phone and worried about her husband's safety. She convinced the sergeant to dispatch a unit to check that all was well."
"And it wasn't," I said knowing the answer.
"It was not. Mr. Tremlett was in the office, all right, with his computers, but neither they nor he were in what you might call a viable condition. Mr. Tremlett's injuries were not compatible with life."
It was typical police understatement: the phrase generally meant someone who was so very dead it was hard to recognize them as having been human in the first place. "Who took the case? Lambeth CID?"
"They did the initial work. Didn't take it too far — they just took statements from the people working in the laundrette, and Mrs. Tremlett, and secured the scene. In fairness, they didn't have much of a chance to get stuck in, because this came in at lunchtime."
"This" was the crime scene that was our eventual destination, if the traffic ever released us. But Derwent hadn't finished with the software designer yet.
"The last time anyone heard from Tremlett was around two yesterday afternoon when he spoke to his wife. The computers had been smashed to bits, but we might be able to raise something off a hard disk to tell us when he last used them — that could give us a better idea of when he was attacked, but let's say it was between two and five yesterday afternoon."
"Not so far. No one in the laundrette heard or saw anything. It's a noisy place, apparently — machines on the go all the time, people in and out. Besides, no one really knew Ivan Tremlett was there. He kept to himself, and his office had a separate entrance, so they wouldn't have seen him or anyone else coming and going." The car in front of us braked and Derwent's face lit up with a demonic glow. He grinned at me. "Here's where it gets interesting."
I smiled politely in response. Interesting was never good, in my limited experience.
"Around one o'clock this afternoon, the control room received a nine-nine-nine call from the address of a forty-three-year-old male, an unemployed gentleman by the name of Barry Palmer. He lived alone in a two-bedroom house. His sister had become concerned about him, not having heard from him for a couple of days, and had gone around to see if he was all right. She had a key to his front door, so she let herself in. The house had been ransacked. She found her brother in the front room."
"And he was dead."
"Very much so."
"Did he die before Ivan Tremlett or after?"
"Good question. I don't know the answer, as it happens, but Dr. Hanshaw is meeting us there. He'll be able to tell us more."
"Why are you linking the two murders?"
"There were similarities between the two crime scenes — obvious similarities, as you'll see when you have a look yourself. I take your point about not making assumptions, but take it from me, we're looking for the same killer or killers."
"So what do Ivan Tremlett and Barry Palmer have in common? Who would want to kill them? Did they know each other?"
"Gold star to DC Kerrigan. Those are exactly the right questions to ask."
I felt patronized rather than encouraged, but at least the inspector seemed pleased. I was beginning to feel a mild, fragile sense of optimism. Maybe the new DI wasn't so bad. He would have to be something special to be worse than his predecessor, the rat-faced Tom Judd, a charmless manipulator who had taken a totally undeserved promotion and was now leading a robbery team in the East End. The team had held a massive leaving party to celebrate. We hadn't made the mistake of inviting Judd himself.
"I don't know if they knew one another, but I can tell you one thing Tremlett and Palmer share. They both have criminal records. And there's no shortage of people who might want to see them dead." Derwent paused to let that sink in. I waited patiently for the explanation. "Tremlett pleaded guilty to downloading child pornography three years ago. He was working for a small company in Kent and they found it on his computer. He did nine months. Lost his job, not surprisingly, so he set up on his own once the dust had settled. It explains why he kept himself to himself."
"And the security he had on his office." I frowned. "So they've got kids, and he's a convicted sex offender, but Mrs. Tremlett was happy to have him in the family home?"
"Apparently so. We can ask her about that. Wouldn't be the first wife to be in denial about what she'd married."
"If this all happened in Kent, did anyone in the local area know about his conviction?"
"Something else to ask her about, but Lambeth CID say not. He was on the register. No record of anyone making inquiries about him, though."
The sex-offenders' register wasn't open to general access, though a recent law made it possible for members of the public to check whether individuals were listed on it, and for what. But they had to be suspicious to begin with. The ordinary punter in the street didn't seem to realize that, for the most part, the sex offenders who were really dangerous were the ones you would never, ever suspect.
"What about Mr. Palmer?"
"Mr. Palmer is different. He was a known pedophile. Last October he was released from prison after serving a seven-year stretch for raping two little girls. Against the advice of his probation officer, he went back to Brixton, to the house where he had lived when the abuse took place. Not unexpectedly, the local community didn't put out a welcome mat for him. He reported a campaign of harassment ranging from name-calling to a paper bag full of dog shit that was dropped through his letterbox. They'd set fire to it first, so when he went to put out the flames by stamping on it, he got it all over himself."
"That old trick."
"He should have known better," Derwent agreed. "He had trouble with graffiti — scum out, kiddyfiddler lives here, that kind of thing — and the locals wouldn't speak to him or serve him in shops."
"Why did he want to come back?"
"I spoke to his probation officer just before we left the nick. The house was his mother's. She died while he was inside, so it was vacant when he got out. He needed somewhere to stay and a rent-free home was appealing. His sister wouldn't have him living with her. She's got kids herself. Palmer swore he was innocent and the sister says she believed him, but you wouldn't take the chance, would you?"
"Not if there was any alternative." Nothing that I'd heard so far sounded like good news. "So there are a million suspects and when we ask around, no one is going to have seen or heard anything."
"That's about right."
"Brilliant." I looked at him, curious. "This is shaping up to be a nightmare case. You don't seem too worried."
"It's win-win, isn't it? If I solve it, I get the credit for clearing up a double-murder. If I don't ..." He shrugged. "No one much cares about the victims, do they? No one is going to be demanding pedophiles should be better protected."
"Realistic. Anyway, don't worry about it, sweetheart. We'll work it out together. I'll make sure you're not left out at the prize-giving."
I restrained myself from rolling my eyes. Fantastic. Another copper who was going to talk down to me just because I was female. Sweetheart, my arse.
Derwent was still talking, oblivious. "According to the boss, this is an important case and needs sensitive handling. That's why he assigned you to work on it with me, which makes some sort of sense. The last thing I need is one of those hairy-arsed DCs from the team clumping around offending the families by saying the wrong thing."
"I'll do my best to avoid that," I said stiffly.
"That's the thing. You don't have to say anything at all. Just stand back, look pretty, and let me do all the work." Derwent squinted out through the windscreen and I was glad that he didn't look in my direction, because the expression on my face was nothing short of murderous. "This should be an easy gig for you. Just stay out of my way so you can watch and learn."
Just like that my enthusiasm for the new case, and my new colleague, slipped all the way down to zero.
And things were only going to get worse.
Excerpted from The Reckoning by Jane Casey. Copyright © 2012 Jane Casey. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
JANE CASEY is the author of two previous novels. 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.
JANE CASEY is the author of two previous novels. 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.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >
I am enjoying this series, and the second book was not a disappointment. In fact, Ms. Casey further developed the characters in both interesting and entertaining ways. Although an English police procedural, Ms. Cases manages to avoid the sometimes plodding way these types of books can be written. She includes interesting and varied characters, adding just the right touch of humor and personal interaction. I will continue with this series.
A tour de force - interesting and believable characters, engrossing plot, fluebt writing. Much better than her first book in this series (which was by no means a bad book).
Started out with promise but goes downhill rapidly.
I'm enjoying this series quite a bit. They are never predictable.