The Burning by Jane Casey
A brutal serial killer is loose upon modern London, a killer who savagely bludgeons his victims and then sets their bodies aflame with petrol. Each of his victims was an attractive young woman and each was attacked while walking home late at night and each was battered and burned beyond recognition. Every few weeks the killer claims another life and the police are stymied as a frightened public clamors for action.
This tense story is told through the eyes of two people, Detective Constable Maeve Kerrigan–one of a small army of police detectives tasked with finding the killer–and Louise North, a lawyer and a close friend of Rebecca Haworth, the most recent victim. For Detective Kerrigan, the case has begun to consume her as she spends every waking minute working on it, at the expense of her relationship with Ian, the man with whom she lives. For Louise North, a young woman who has always lived in the shadow of her best friend, the murder challenges her to take a close look at her own life, and contemplate a future no longer illuminated by her vivacious friend.
The clock is ticking as the police race to find the killer before he strikes again, yet also with the grim understanding that their only leads come when another young woman dies and opens her past to the police. Now it’s Rebecca’s turn as every facet of her too-short life is examined, poked and prodded. An ex-boyfriend with a history of violence enters the picture, a wealthy, handsome young man who has turned his attentions toward the formerly unnoticed Louise.
Back and forth, the interweaving chapters alternate between Maeve and Louise, each woman’s story contributing only a partial picture, but when woven together reveals a complex tapestry of plot, motive, secrets, and danger.
Reviewed by Andrew MacRae, author of “Murder Misdirected” for Suspense Magazine