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CRUEL ACTS by Jane Casey: Book Review

Leo Stone, aka The White Knight, is poised to be released from prison.  He was sentenced thirteen months earlier when he was found guilty of murdering two young women.  Now evidence has come to light that a juror disregarded the judge’s instructions and looked up Stone’s past on the internet.  He discovered Stone’s previous convictions for assault, told other jurors, and posted the results on the net.  Based on that information, a mistrial is declared and Stone is released.

Detective Sergeant Maeve Kerrigan and her supervisor Detective Inspector Josh Dewent are assigned to review the case and find sufficient evidence to put The White Knight back in prison.  Both murdered women shared some characteristics–they were young, attractive, walking to their flats alone late at night.  Maeve is convinced that another woman, Rachel Healy, was also Stone’s victim, but because her body hasn’t been found there wasn’t any forensic evidence to include her in the case against Leo Stone.  But that isn’t going to stop Maeve from investigating on her own time.

Stone was convicted of the murders of Willa Howard and Sara Grey.  Interestingly, the responses of the victims’ parents are totally different, and they can barely stand to be in the same room together.

The Howards are convinced that Stone is the man who murdered their daughter Willa, and they are beyond angry that he has been released, even though there are plans to retry him.  The Greys, on the other hand, are angry that Stone, whom they believe is innocent in their child Sara’s death, has been imprisoned while the real murderer is free.  They have no intention or desire to help Maeve and Josh in any way.

Leo’s son, Kelly, has been in touch with the Greys ever since Stone was sent to prison, and he has convinced them that his father is innocent.  Kelly is earnest and charming, but although he has convinced Sara’s parents of his father’s innocence, he has been unable to influence Willa’s.

Maeve’s investigation into the missing Rachel Healy uncovers a very different type of woman.  Unlike Willa and Sara, Rachel was not shy and unsure of herself, rather the opposite.  Maeve first talks to Rachel’s sister, and Zoe tells her that they didn’t have a close relationship.  “She said I wouldn’t approve of what she’d been doing.”  This picture of Rachel was confirmed when Maeve interviews her former boyfriend, who describes Rachel as someone who liked to live on the edge, someone who liked danger.  He unwillingly tells her, “She wanted to be hurt….That was what she enjoyed.”

Cruel Acts is a look into secret lives and deadly secrets.  Maeve and Derwent disagree on almost everything except for the most important thing–learning the truth and putting the evildoer behind bars.  Jane Casey’s eighth novel featuring Maeve Kerrigan is outstanding.

You can read more about Jane Casey at various sites on the internet.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden Oldies, Past Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.

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