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Let the Dead Speak by Jane Casey

Let the Dead Speak

by Jane Casey

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Let The Dead Speak is the seventh novel in the Maeve Kerrigan crime series, which is one of my favorites.

Maeve Kerrigan is on a homicide team in London, one of only a few woman. She mostly works with Detective Inspector Josh Derwent, with whom she has a complicated and interesting relationship. Josh is attractive and apparently irresistible to women. Although he and Maeve spar repeatedly, Maeve knows Josh would defend her with his life, without question. But she is prickly about taking care of herself, whether or not she always can. Trying to figure out how they really feel about each other is one of the appealing aspects of the series.

In this installment, Maeve has been promoted to Detective Sergeant. A new woman, Georgia Shaw, has been assigned to the team as Detective Constable, and Maeve takes a dislike to her. Maeve thinks Georgia was hired to fill a quota and didn’t deserve to be on a murder investigation team. But she feels guilty for thinking that: “…that was exactly how the other members of the team had felt about me when I joined.”

They are called to the scene of what looks like a gruesome murder at the flat of Kate Emery. Kate’s 18-year-old daughter Chloe encountered the bloodbath when she unexpectedly returned early from a visit with her father and stepmother. The only problem for the murder team is that there is no body.

Chloe goes across the street to stay with the neighbors, the Norris family, who are active in the Church of the Modern Apostles, an evangelical charismatic church. They never approved of Kate, nor of Chloe, but the mother, Eleanor, feels harboring Chloe is the “Christian” thing to do. In addition, Chloe is friends with the Norris’s daughter Bethany.

The father, Oliver Norris, insists Maeve investigate a good-looking neighbor boy, William Turner, who was accused of a stabbing some years earlier, but was exonerated. Turner, in Norris's opinion, pays too much attention to the girls on the block, making him a potential sinner.

Developments in the personal lives of Maeve and Josh are interwoven into the story. Josh wants to quit because the job is interfering in his new relationship with his girlfriend Melissa and her four-year-old son Thomas. He moved in with them, but Melissa doesn’t like his job:

“‘The hours. The stress. The fact that I don’t talk to her about what we do. She says I shut her out.’ He glanced across at me. ‘She’s right. It’s deliberate.’”

He’s not only protecting her; he’s protecting himself. “I don’t want her to know about the things I think about.”

Maeve reminds him “You wanted to be with Melissa because she was the light in the darkness.” But Maeve is worried for him. She muses:

“[Melissa] loved what he did and who he was, I was sure of that. And then she ran up against the reality of his job. He wouldn’t be easy company to live with, whether you understood him or not, but she couldn’t understand him the way I did. I saw what he saw. I heard what he heard. She couldn’t begin to guess why he came home snappy and withdrawn, or why he was short with her now and then.

But you couldn’t change him. You’d destroy everything that was good in him if you tried to make him into something docile and peaceful. She’d kill their chance of being happy together unless she accepted him for what he was.”

Maeve has problems of her own. It has been a year since her boyfriend Rob left without so much as a good-bye. She is lonely, and can’t help wishing Rob would somehow decide to come back to her. (No one else hopes this; as Josh pointed out in the previous book, “he raped you, he lied to you, and then he cheated on you.” But as is sometimes the case with victims of domestic violence for complicated reasons, Maeve made excuses for Rob, and still wanted to be with him.)

Meanwhile, the team finds out more and more strange things about both Kate and her neighbors, and finally a body is found, but it is not Kate’s.

Unraveling the twists and turns of the plot keep the reader glued to the pages.

Evaluation: Casey held my attention throughout, as she always does. I love her recurring characters, and can’t wait to see what happens to members of the team next. ( )
  nbmars | Apr 30, 2018 |
LET THE DEAD SPEAK is the 7th novel in the Maeve Kerrigan series. A sobering thought for me given how much I liked this character in book number 1 and yet still I've now managed to miss books 2 through 6. Which means I can definitely say even if you've never read any of this series, LET THE DEAD SPEAK will work well.

A police procedural in style, LET THE DEAD SPEAK relies heavily on character interaction between Kerrigan and the team that she works with. There are a few tensions dotted throughout which are mostly self-explanatory, in particular there's obviously some clouds over Kerrigan from the recent past. When eighteen-year-old Chloe Emery's mother disappears, leaving behind signs of a bloody struggle, the entire team are baffled by the missing body. Despite that tension between within the team, they do manage to stay focused on the investigation that leads them to some dodgy neighbours and some very odd outcomes.

The plot here is an interesting undertaking with some elements that are going to be easy to pick, and much that remains unclear right until the end. Without a body, Kerrigan and her team are forced to focus on the possible why's of Kate Emery's fate, rather than the how or who up front, meaning this is a good old fashioned investigation in many ways, working each lead as it appears, weeding out a wide range of red herrings and possible suspects by coming to understand the victim, her family, and the immediate neighbours.

The use of first person narrative by Kerrigan works well here, giving the reader an inside view on the frustrations, achievements and feelings around an investigation like this. Peppered as it is with acerbic humour and plenty of barbs and cracks from colleagues, the perspective creates an immediacy and realism that wouldn't necessarily work as well with a more observational style.

About the only thing that readers who are new to this series might notice is that there is obviously back-story to Kerrigan's recent promotion, and her relationship with DI Josh Derwent - that alone should be enough of a reason to plug the gaps in reading the series, but it really shouldn't stop anybody from starting with LET THE DEAD SPEAK if that's the best option available. A series definitely worth reading whatever order you opt for.

https://www.austcrimefiction.org/review/review-let-dead-speak-jane-casey ( )
  austcrimefiction | Sep 21, 2017 |
Let the Dead Speak by Jane Casey is the seventh installment in the Maeve Kerrigan Novels. Chloe Emery returns home to 27 Valerian Road in London from visiting her father to find blood in almost every room of her home. DS Maeve Kerrigan (she got a promotion) and her team are assigned the case. There is plenty of blood, but they have yet to find Chloe’s mother, Kate Emery. Maeve starts out by questioning Chloe, and then proceeds to canvas the neighbors. The police bring in dogs to sniff out the victim, but they are unsuccessful. They do, however, uncover some helpful clues. Then Chloe and her friend, Bethany Norris disappear. Were they taken or did they take off on their own? What is going on in this neighborhood (and I thought I had troublesome neighbors)? Maeve, with the help of DI Josh Derwent, must discern fact from fiction to identify the culprit. Maeve will need to work quickly before more blood is spilled.

I had a hard time wading through Let the Dead Speak. The writing style is awkward/stilted ((clunky is a good word). The story lacks flow (an easy style of writing) which makes for a hard to read story (insert yawn here). Let the Dead Speak sounded like a thrilling mystery novel, but, in the end, I was bored. The mystery may seem complex, but the solution is not. I solved the mystery early in the book (I would say how early, but then I would be giving away a spoiler). The suspect pool is small. Let the Dead Speak is a novel I read, but I was not pulled into the story or engaged. I did, though, find a great cure for my insomnia (I have suffered from it since middle school). One chapter and my eyes started drooping. I woke up with my ebook nearby and off (happened twice in one night). My rating for Let the Dead Speak is 2 out of 5 stars. I especially disliked the transcript chapter (that is when I fell asleep for the second time). The author needed to add more suspense and a surprising twist (and shorten the book). The basic premise had potential. I do want to warn readers that Let the Dead Speak contains foul language, violence, and intimate relations. Unfortunately, the Maeve Kerrigan series is not for me. ( )
  Kris_Anderson | Aug 11, 2017 |
This was my fourth book by Jane Casey and as usual, she did not let me down. This one begins with a teenager coming home early from her dad's home from a weekend stay. The real reason why is given later in the book, but the beginning having you believe it was because of her stepmother. And, believe me, if I had a stepmother like that, I don't think I would ever go to my dad's house. She is just one person in a very long list of suspects in this book.

The teenager, Chloe, is a little slow and when she opens up the front door to her house, all she can see is blood everywhere. However, because Chloe is what she is, she thinks its dirt and wonders how it got everywhere like it did.

On to the investigation, Maeve Kerrigan is called in to determine what actually happened in Chloe's house and the story enfolds into a very strange case.

As usual, there is the action and suspense that is typical of any Jane Case book. Also the entertaining and enjoyable factor that I have come to expect with her books. A story that will have you guessing and guessing again and again.

Thanks to St. Martins Press and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. ( )
  debkrenzer | Jul 25, 2017 |
have only read the first title in this series, so it was nice to re-acquaint myself with Maeve Kerrigan, recently made a DS. Obviously quite a lot has happened in her life in the intervening years.

Something appears to have happened to Kate Emery and the police decide to treat it as a murder although there is no body. This allows them to call on more resources than if they were just investigating a missing person. However forensic experts feel that the story told by the blodd spatters in Kate's house don't add up. Kate has left behind her wallet, her credit card, and to all intents and purposes this points to an abduction.

Chloe then disappears with the neighbour's daughter and fears are held for their safety. After a couple of days a traumatised Bethany returns without Chloe. Kerrigan's investigation ramps up.

The plot explores the relationships within an investigative team, and the roles played by systematic following of procedure, and intuitive leaps. ( )
  smik | Jul 1, 2017 |
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"When eighteen-year-old Chloe Emery returns to her West London home she finds her mother missing, the house covered in blood. Everything points to murder, except for one thing: there's no sign of the body. London detective Maeve Kerrigan and the homicide team turn their attention to the neighbours. The ultra-religious Norrises are acting suspiciously; their teenage daughter and Chloe Emery definitely have something to hide. Then there's William Turner, once accused of stabbing a schoolmate and the neighborhood's favorite criminal. Is he merely a scapegoat, or is there more behind the charismatic fa?cade? As a body fails to materialize, Maeve must piece together a patchwork of testimonies and accusations. Who is lying, and who is not? And soon Maeve starts to realize that not only will the answer lead to Kate Emery, but more lives may hang in the balance. With Let the Dead Speak, Jane Casey returns with another taut, richly drawn novel that will grip readers from the opening pages to the stunning conclusion"--… (more)

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