Cruel Acts marks a welcome return for Jane Casey, a highly regarded Irish writer whose atmospheric crime novels are set in London... Casey has always been acutely sensitive to the pathological misogyny that motivates men who kill women, and this mesmerising novel shows how that hatred is passed from one generation to the next.
Irish writer Jane Casey has been turning out crime novels at a ferocious rate - this is the eighth in her Maeve Kerrigan series since 2010, as well as a handful of standalone books. All par for the course in crime fiction, but where Casey stands out is the way the quality hasn't dipped: Cruel Acts is every bit as good as its predecessor, and indeed is possibly her best work so far... From the stylistic point of view, Cruel Acts is extremely well-written. One long paragraph, capturing what it means to be young and unencumbered in a big city during summertime, is really superb - as good a piece of prose as you'll read anywhere.
Kerrigan, of course, is the book's heart. She's a tremendous character: smart, brave, determined, idealistic and basically dead-on, but not unrealistically perfect, and not without flaws.
Tense and compelling, Cruel Acts is an accomplished police procedural, but what makes it stand out is Kerrigan herself: ambitious and smart but insecure and, after a relationship break-up, emotionally raw, she’s one of the most thoroughly human and convincing police officers in the fictional ranks.