Let the Dead Speak (Maeve Kerrigan 7) by Jane Casey

Maeve’s back!

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

When Chloe Emery returns home early from a visit to her dad’s new family, she is horrified to find her house covered in blood and her mother missing. Maeve Kerrigan has been promoted to Detective Sergeant, and is called to the scene by Una Burt, who’s still acting head of the team. The sheer volume of blood suggests there’s no hope the victim could have survived, so they’re treating it as a murder case, with the first item on the agenda being to find the body.

I was quite unhappy with the way the previous book ended, with Maeve and Josh turning into typically unbelievable vigilante-style mavericks, so I’m delighted to say that in this one Maeve’s back on track. There are lots of reasons this series stands out from the herd, and one of the major ones is Maeve’s refreshing normality. Of course she’s affected by her experiences, but she’s basically a good cop who works well within a team and tries to stick within the rules as much as possible. And for my money, the books are better when she does.

Now that she’s a sergeant, Maeve has supervisory responsibilities and in this one is looking after the newest team member, Gloria, a graduate entrant. Maeve’s not finding it easy – Gloria’s pretty annoying, ready to feel herself slighted for the smallest reason. But she also seems ready to develop a bit of hero-worship for Josh and Maeve’s horrified to find herself feeling a little bit jealous. It’s professional jealousy though – Maeve is still hoping that she and Rob can get back together, and every girl’s favourite male chauvinist Josh (amazingly!) has his own little family now, having taken on the role of father to his girlfriend’s young son. (My mind still boggles at the idea of him giving the boy dating advice a few years from now!)

Plotting is another of Casey’s major strengths and this one is particularly convoluted. It soon transpires that the street is filled with people with secrets and jealousies, and Kate, Chloe’s mum, seems to have been at the centre of many of them. Chloe is staying with her friend Bethany and her parents, an ultra-religious family who belong to a church that’s not quite a cult, but is tending in that direction. Chloe herself is, perhaps, a bit slow intellectually – certainly her mother had been keen to have her diagnosed as such – but some people think she’s more intelligent than she seems. She’s also physically attractive, all of which makes her vulnerable to any unscrupulous predators she might meet.

Jane Casey

As always, the writing is excellent and there’s plenty of humour to lighten up the tone. It’s narrated by Maeve in the first person, past tense, so that we’re privy to her thoughts and her rather spiky comments about her colleagues. Her relationship with Josh is more equal now that she’s been promoted – he’s still her superior, but she’s no longer the new girl. He’s still just as protective towards her though, which she appreciates even though it annoys her sometimes. And it’s nice to see his softer side peeking through now that he has his little family to humanise him.

This one would work fine as a standalone, though as usual I’d recommend reading this series in order, starting with The Burning, to get the full benefit of the characterisation, and especially the development of Maeve’s unlikely friendship with Josh. Great to have them back in action, and here’s hoping we don’t have to wait too long to see them again!

NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, HarperCollins.

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48 thoughts on “Let the Dead Speak (Maeve Kerrigan 7) by Jane Casey

  1. I haven’t read any of this series but I can tell you are a big fan, FF! This is a great review and it has rally piqued my interest for the book, I must say. So that’s a big pat on the back to the author, but a pat on the back and large glass of wine for the talented reviewer also! 😉

    • Aw, thanks, Lucy! 😀 This is one I’ve been following since the first book, so yes, I’m definitely a fully paid-up member of the fan club! She’s another one who plots a bit like the Golden Age authors though in a very modern context – but there are always clues, and red herrings and so on…

    • Ha! Sorry about that – but I’m not really sorry at all! I’ve followed this series from the beginning and always seem to be waiting impatiently for the new one… 🙂

  2. I know we’ve talked about this series before and I have book 3 on my TBR as the starting point since that’s when Josh plays prominently. I plan on squeezing this series into my summer reading schedule. Super review!

    • Thanks, Renee! 😀 I do think you’ll like this series – nearly everyone I know who’s read them has become addicted, mainly to Josh! They get a great balance between the recurring characters and the individual plots – a great way to spend a summer of reading…!

    • Ha! Me too! I always think her plotting is excellent. It always reminds me of the Golden Age authors though in a totally modern context – there are always proper clues and red herrings and so on. Great stuff! And now we all have to start waiting for the next one again…

  3. Josh? Dating advice? Heaven protect us! Very glad to hear that this one is up to Casey’s fine standards, FictionFan. I really do like the Maeve Kerrigan character, and it’s good to hear that she’s very much herself here. I like your use of the word ‘normal,’ by the way. One of her strengths as a character is that she is a real person. It makes the whole series that much better.

    • It’s a terrifying prospect, isn’t it? 😉 I do like Maeve’s normality – as you know, I’m always happier when the criminals are crazier than the detectives! And I like the balance in these – we get enough about the recurring characters to make them interesting, but not at the expense of the actual plot – great stuff!

    • This would be one of the better ines to leap in at actually. The first books had a running story arc in the background that really meant they worked better if read in order, but thankfully that came to an end in the last book, so there’s nothing really in this one that would leave a new reader too puzzled…

  4. Ah, love this series – love it. Maeve is a great favorite and, yes, I’m in the Josh fan club. I might be the president of it. Honestly, Rob bothers me a bit. Always has. Just something. Anyway, I’m looking forward to reading this one and I’m really, really tempted to do a reread of the whole series later this year.

    • Me too – I feel as if I’ve spent the last several years impatiently waiting for the new one! I do like Josh, though not as a romantic interest – neanderthal cavemen just aren’t my type… 😉 I loved Rob, and haven’t really forgiven Jane Casey for getting rid of him… hopefully poor Maeve will get a new love interest one day soon! A re-read sounds great – I wish I could cut down on new books to allow myself more time for re-reading. Maybe you’ll inspire me!

  5. Glad she’s back on track – an occasional maverick is fine, but, having just had to deal with a policeman who thought he was Rambo (I won!), I’d hate to think the real world was full of them!

    • Haha! I dread to imagine…!! But yes, I was worried after the last book, but no waterboarding in this one I’m delighted to say! I see no reason why detectives can’t solve crimes by using their brains – if it was good enough for Miss Marple and Poirot, then it should be good enough for today’s crop! 😉

  6. I haven’t read any of these, but they sound most interesting, thanks to your excellent review! Are there many in the series thus far? I find it interesting to see how an author occasionally lets the characters go off on a tangent, only to rein them back in when they venture too far off course.

    • This is the seventh, though I think there might have been an extra novella tucked in there too if memory serves me right. One of my favourite series – I always seem to be waiting impatiently for the next one! Yes, I’m glad Casey did rein them back this time because for my taste they went too far over the line in the last book and I’d’ve been sorry if they’d continued in that direction. It seemed out of character for Maeve…

  7. I have only read one of the books in the Maeve Kerrigan series and I loved it, although I think I made the terrible mistake of starting mid-series and I felt a bit lost. Yours may be the third extraordinary review that I read of Casey’s book, so I’d better start with book #1!

    • The first few books have a running storyline in the background so it is a series that’s better read in order, though each book has a plot of its own too. But it’s fun seeing the relationship between Josh and Maeve grow – he was just a side character in the beginning, but I think Jane Casey had to bring him in more due to popular demand! 🙂

  8. A great review and I’m so pleased to see you loved this one too! I liked the addition of Gloria to this as it added another layer of normality, such are the perils of having to work with other people 😉 Jane Casey does have the knack of making this all seem incredibly realistic and I did like the secondary characters in the story too.

    • Thanks, Cleo! 🙂 Yes, I liked the Gloria stuff too. I always like hearing Maeve’s internal thoughts – she’s so hard on herself. And I like that she stays loyal to her teammates even when they don’t always deserve it! 😉

    • Thank you! 🙂 Yes, it always worries me when a series suddenly takes a turn that doesn’t feel right to me – there’s one series that I really enjoyed up until book 6 when something happened that I’ve never been able to get over, and can’t bring myself to read book 7 as a result!

  9. I didn’t know about this series but I am now intrigued and I like the sound of Maeve. I try and read series in order so I will try and get the first books. Great review!

    • Thank you! 🙂 Nearly everybody I know who has tried this series has become a firm fan, so I warn you they’re a bit addictive! There is a running storyline in the background of the first few books so these do work much better if you read them in order. Hope you enjoy them! 🙂

  10. Based on your review, this book DOES sound much richer if they are read in order. Maybe the author wanted them as stand-alone novels (most detective writers do, so people can jump in at any time), but that’s not always how it turns out. Unless you get a re-cap, like a sitcom that, for whatever poorly chosen reason, does a TO BE CONTINUED.

    • I’m always dubious about whether it’s a good idea to have series that must be read in order. I’d think it would put potential readers off from jumping in, or backtracking to no.1 if they know they have to read another six books to catch up. With the old ‘tec novels it didn’t matter at all what order you read them in, so it was easy to pick any one up at a store or a library. But I suppose publishers know what they’re doing…maybe…

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