In her tense new mystery, The Stranger You Know, Jane Casey poses a chilling question: How well do you really know the people that wander into your life? That's the dilemma Detective Constable Maeve Kerrigan is faced with when she begins hunting down the elusive and sadistic killer stalking the streets of London. This task would be disturbing enough, but soon, the evidence begins to point toward the one man she would never suspect: her partner. It's a thrilling read, and it just might inspire you to take a closer look at that new co-worker. Our reviewer writes: "Casey expertly dangles the solution just out of Kerrigan’s reach, putting readers in the roles of the pursuer and the pursued until the final pages." (Read the full review here.)
We were curious about the books Casey has enjoyed reading lately, so we asked her to recommend three recent favorites, which she graciously agreed to share.
By Donna Tartt
This is a book I’ve waited twenty years to read. The Secret History was like a door that opened on new possibilities in crime writing and novel-writing in general, and I still feel a thrill of excitement when I reread it. I loved The Little Friend but The Goldfinch is a true successor to Tartt’s debut. The book is about a missing masterpiece, and in some ways it’s a crime novel, with gangsters and art thieves and blackmailers all pursuing the painting. Really, however, it’s an 800-page meditation on art, trust, love, grief and friendship, and it’s still a page-turner. Her ability to capture an atmosphere is second-to-none; her descriptions are ravishing and her characterization is delicately shaded but unforgettable. She brings the same intense scrutiny to bear on down-at-heel suburban Las Vegas as the antique-filled elegance of New York or the narrow streets of a wintry Amsterdam. I lived in this book, and I wouldn’t have minded if it had been twice as long.
By Daphne du Maurier
After The Goldfinch I needed to read something dark and brooding, with beautiful settings for ugly deeds. Du Maurier’s classic novel was the perfect choice. The second Mrs. de Winter comes to Manderley, her husband’s enormous country house by the sea, and discovers that her dead predecessor is still a presence there, refusing to be forgotten. The descriptions are vivid and the atmosphere appropriately stifling as the new bride is threatened and overwhelmed by her new role. There is nowhere for her to hide – no privacy with the house full of servants and no guidance from a husband who seems to expect her to pick up where Rebecca left off. The dark figure of Mrs. Danvers is like a shadow across the page, and du Maurier never goes too far with her; she’s threatening but always believable. As the dream-like haze of the first half dissipates and the reality of what happened to Rebecca intrudes ever more forcefully, the book becomes as accomplished a thriller as you will find.
Never Look Back
By Clare Donoghue
I don’t read crime novels when I’m writing one – I find it hard enough to keep track of my own plots without puzzling through other people’s twists and turns! When I finish a book I always have a huge stack of novels waiting for me. I try to keep up with new crime writing, especially debut authors. There’s nothing more exciting than finding a fresh new voice. Never Look Back is a London-set police procedural about a stalker who is hunting young women. For me, its strengths lie in the characterization, particularly Detective Inspector Mike Lockyer and his second-in-command, Detective Sergeant Jane Bennett. Lockyer has a troubled past, an autistic brother, concerns about his adolescent daughter and a whole host of other issues, but they never weigh down the plot. Bennett is more self-contained and I can’t wait to find out more about her.
What have you been reading lately?
(Author photo by Annie Armitage)