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THE LAST GIRL
by Jane Casey
Ebury, November 2012
480 pages
6.99 GBP
ISBN: 0091941210


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

The wife and fifteen-year-old daughter of successful criminal barrister Philip Kennford are found murdered at their palatial home. Their bodies are discovered by the girl's twin sister who was swimming in their pool while the killer was in the house. Kennford himself gets away with nothing more than a blow to the head, which naturally arouses some suspicion. DC Maeve Kerrigan and her sparring partner, DI Josh Derwent attend the scene. Derwent in particular has no time for Kennford, a man who in his view makes his living defending the guilty, getting them off on technicalities. Kerrigan is more inclined to give the man the benefit of the doubt, but even she is chilled by Kennford's uncaring attitude to his remaining daughter, clearly the less favored of the two.

As their team juggles the Kennford murders with a series of vicious gangland killings, Kerrigan sees little of her boyfriend, fellow police officer Rob Langford who transferred to the Flying Squad once his relationship with Kerrigan became public knowledge. She's convinced that Rob is holding something back from her, but on her own admission, Kerrigan is not great when it comes to relationships.

In many ways, the central relationship in the book by far is the one between Kerrigan and Derwent. He's foul-mouthed, misogynistic and they argue like cat and dog, but when the chips are down, it's clear that he does care about her, and it's these brief flashes of humanity that make Derwent far more than a plot device to ramp up the tension with the main character. I enjoyed their constant bickering and Derwent's flashes of insight and it was good to see how they have progressed from the previous book, THE RECKONING, into more than just an uneasy truce. In contrast, Kerrigan seems to have made little headway with her relationship with Rob Langford. She's moved in with him, but is feeling trapped and not ready to make a commitment.

In THE LAST GIRL, Jane Casey has clearly started to hit her stride with both her characters and the storyline. On this occasion she sticks with Kerrigan as the sole narrator, which gives the book a single perspective that her previous story lacked. THE LAST GIRL definitely hits the ground running and maintains its pace. Elements from previous books come back to haunt Kerrigan as Casey adds depth to an ongoing series. Kerrigan makes an interesting narrator, as she's a keen observer and a very likeable main character. This is a series that I will very definitely continue to follow.

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, November 2012

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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