My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I don't consider it fair to review a book I haven't read from beginning to end, so I don't do that. But I will read a book that is a part of a series even if, as in this case, it is #4 and I haven't read #1 through #3. I believe a good novel should stand on its own. The Stranger You Know (Maeve Kerrigan #4) had enough in it to keep me reading, but probably would have been better if I'd read the earlier books. Rob, the man with whom Maeve is in a relationship, was gone throughout most of this book, so I didn't get to see that aspect of her character. Also, this story is focused on Josh Derwent, a character who might have been more sympathetic if I'd read the other books. The way the crime was solved depended a bit too much on theories working out through luck, although reading the other books wouldn't have helped that issue.
The main plot is about workplace politics. In this case, the worker, Maeve Kerrigan, is a detective with the London police and is called on to be part of the team investigating a serial murder. However, she's told that while working on this case she is not allowed to have any contact with her regular partner, Josh Derwent. Although Maeve Kerrigan listens to direct orders, she has a mind of her own and, if circumstances require her to ignore the orders, she doesn't hesitate. There's a team leader who has her own set of issues regarding Derwent. She's a minor character in this book, but I thought her relationship with Kerrigan was intriguing.
Jane Casey's decision to emphasize situations that could occur in any workplace is an interesting choice. There was more tension in wondering if Maeve would get caught than there was in wondering if the murderer would get caught. A lot of time was spent on Josh's background, which helped explain his interest in this particular serial murder, but it didn't explain his personality, which came across as obnoxious and self-absorbed.
Overall, The Stranger You Know is an interesting book and Maeve Kerrigan is a well written character. It's a good read, but I would suggest starting with the first book in the series.
Steve Lindahl – author of Hopatcong Vision Quest, White Horse Regressions, and Motherless Soul
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