my tragic right hip

Busting out bad joints all over the place

May 17th, 2012

#43 – The Burning by Jane Casey

The space in my reading life that I used to, and still sometimes do, fill up with chicklit, you know, those super-tired, really-late-at-night-can’t-sleep moments, has been infiltrated with a longing for gruesome, intriguing mystery novels. So, when I skipped ahead to my stack of Cs, I pulled The Burning by Jane Casey off the shelf. Powered by an ambitious young DC name Maeve Kerrigan, the central crime revolves around a serial murderer who stuns his victims and then sets them on fire. Gruesome, check. And when a fifth body shows up, that of a beautiful, but troubled (isn’t that always the way), ex-PR girl, Maeve’s convinced that it’s a copycat killer, and she’s assigned the case.

Interspersed with Maeve’s narrative, is Louise’s–she’s one of the dead girl, Rebecca’s, best friends (also called “Bex.”). The two together form a better picture of the victim, and you immediately get the sense that Louise is a highly unreliable narrator, which was intriguing for me. However (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER), if you subscribe to the Law & Order guest star gimme school of thought, you’ll soon become convinced, as I did, that Louise isn’t all she appears to be…

Casey’s writing style really pulses the action forward, and I appreciated that–the book suffers a little from the more-is-more school of genre writing. Our heroine’s fighting crime, involved in a bad relationship, fighting with her mother, and so on. And Casey could have streamlined a lot more in terms of the descriptive writing, it got a bit much at points (we didn’t need to know the ins and outs of a character’s work life that we meet once and who has absolutely no relevance to the plot, you know?). And if you’re going to write from a third character’s perspective, don’t wait until the middle of the book to do so–I would have enjoyed his (Maeve’s partner’s) POV throughout the book. But, overall, I enjoyed the novel, especially the end bits. The violence was it entirely Mo Hayder-level believable? Not really, but Casey absolutely has promise.

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Girl with titanium hip will rock. Girl with titanium hip will write. Girl with titanium hip will read. Girl with titanium hip will battle crazy-ass disease called Wegener's Granulomatosis. Now stuff that in your spelling bee!

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