The Burning – Jane Casey


This crime novel about the hunt for a serial killer called The Burning Man (because that’s what he does to his victims, after pummeling them to death) was something of a strange experience. The central character – Maeve Kerrigan – is an interesting enough female police detective, who has to cope with the expected alpha male environment of the cop shop, all the while trying to solve crimes. However, I wasn’t entirely convinced by her narrative.

The book is written in alternating first person viewpoints, switching between Maeve and a person of interest: Louise North. North was a friend of The Burning Man’s last victim, and Maeve wonders if that victim’s boyfriend may be the killer, and may be setting his sights on North as the next victim.

North’s narrative is more convincing in places, but still doesn’t quite carry me along with any sense of dread or excitement.

The combined narratives (and other characters’ contributions) do tell a decent enough tale, but I had things worked out well before the half way point, and didn’t feel the quality of the writing was good enough to make the rest anything but a slog.

Spoiler Alert!

All of that having been said, there were some purple patches. For example, I thought the showdown with The Burning Man was damn fine, and enjoyed a couple of the encounters Maeve had with her boss.

On the whole, it was OK. And that’s as far as I am prepared to go.

[I want you to know, I showed great restraint, and never said this book was a slow-burner, that failed to spark my interest, nor set the heather on fire, and could not match the hype. nor…]