- 01 Jun 21
The Thrilling Kind
Another proper whodunit from the nigh on flawless pen of Casey, this is a stand-alone story as opposed to an entry in her long running Maeve Kerrigan series. Belinda Grey borrows younger barrister Ingrid Lewis’ umbrella and is then killed in a traffic accident, but was there more to it? Lewis suspects that John Webster might be involved; a client who got a bit too close following a stalker accusation that she successfully defended him from - although we are skilfully shown the impact of such a result on the unfortunate woman on the other side of the courtroom too. Things ended very badly for all concerned apart from Webster, with a knife in the bathroom, and the bad man turning his attention towards the woman who allowed him to walk free.
As far as we know from what we’re told, Lewis’s life started, once Webster came into it, to go right off the nice, middle-class rails it was rolling on – videos turned up on the internet that threatened her reputation, her house burned down, and she split from her fiancé.
Because of all this, she’s perhaps understandably paranoid when Belinda’s last ever attempt to cross the street fatally fails. Soon there's a broken car mirror, a station sighting of the bad guy, and an unwelcome gift of the sort that you used to have to go to Amsterdam to buy, all indicating that Webster has re-emerged. And then things turn really nasty.
Casey is the very definition of the dab hand at this kind of thing, and while Lewis’s character is a good one – just ambitious enough, flawed as the rest of us, increasingly freaked out by what’s going on around her - or nearly falling down on top of her - and trusting when she perhaps should not be, the real star here is Webster, a horrible bastard, but an undeniably clever one. Everything he does is questioned by the reader because of our knowledge of their past, thereby driving the plot forward, and leaving us pleasingly unsure of what's what.
It's a good plot too, with timeline jumps and the regular introduction of further twists, turning the whole thing on its head a few times, and wrong footing the smug reader who thinks they’ve cracked it only to discover a few pages later that they haven’t. I’m talking about myself here, of course, because it tripped me up more times than a small dog. Perhaps you’ll be able to correctly point the finger after a few chapters, although I seriously doubt it.
A press release arrived only last week, announcing that the Sony Pictures Television backed Eleventh Hour Films secured the rights to The Killing Kind before it even left the warehouse, which should keep the author in ballpoints and blotting paper for the foreseeable. It’s no surprise though as Casey’s name on a dust jacket is a mark of quality and this is the sort of thing that the front-of-house tables in bookshops were invented for. If you are lucky enough to go off somewhere this summer, bring this with you.