Review: After the Fire by Jane Casey

Wednesday 24 June 2015
Title: After the Fire
Author: Jane Casey
Publisher: Ebury Press
Publication Date: 18th June 2015
Pages: 464
ISBN: 9780091949693
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 4.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
After a fire devastates the top floor of a tower block on the Maudling Estate, Maeve Kerrigan and her colleagues are called in. Their presence is needed because it’s a sensitive investigation – not because the blaze was caused by arson, or because several residents died, but because a body was found in the car park below the tower. It appears that controversial MP Geoff Armstrong, trapped by the fire, jumped to his death rather than wait for rescue. But what was he doing in the very unglamorous surroundings of the Maudling Estate? And why did he choose to die when rescuers weren't far away?

The police can't assume that Armstrong was the arsonist's target. As Maeve and Derwent pick through the wreckage, they uncover the secret world of the eleventh floor, where everyone seems to have something to hide. It’s a tough investigation, made harder by Maeve's private life unravelling. Without her ex-boyfriend Rob’s steady influence, she’s behaving recklessly, in a way that’s likely to harm her – or someone close to her – before long.

Sometimes it takes just a couple of paragraphs to know you are going to enjoy a book, and that was the case for me with After the Fire. I only read my first Jane Casey book last year, but immediately added her others to my TBR, and I will get to them soon! In After the Fire Maeve Kerrigan faces one of her toughest cases yet, some major developments in her personal life and in her relationship with Josh Derwent, professionally and personally.

Jane Casey writes in a way that puts you right at the heart of the story. This time around we are introduced to a number of different characters who make up some of the floors of a North London tower block on the Maudling Estate. A fire breaks out on the top floors of the tower block, some residents escaping, others not being so lucky and it is up to Kerrigan and Derwent to make sense of everything after the fire. What struck me in the beginning was the varied mixture of characters that we meet, leaving me wondering what role they would go on to play in the story. Having so many different characters allowed for a number of threads to play out as the book progressed, and for Jane to take the story in so many different directions.

Kerrigan herself is reluctant to return to the estate because of past events, but also because she can't see why it warrants hers and Derwent's attention. It soon comes to light that a rather controversial MP - Geoff Armstrong - was present in one of the flats at the time, but rather than remaining in the building or escaping he is found dead in the car park below, having fell from one of the upper floors. Why was he at one of the flats in the first place, in such a rundown, poor area? And why did he seemingly choose to die rather than wait to be rescued? As we read more he is just one of a few characters who could ultimately be responsible for the fire because of the dealings that led to him being at one of the flats in the first place. Over the course of the investigation various things come to light, long-buried secrets come out and there's more than one didn't-see-coming twist.

In After the Fire the danger could have come from anywhere, and Kerrigan and Derwent soon have a variety of puzzle pieces to put back together if they are to solve this case. I was always second-guessing every character that we met, and never knew just what was going to be around the corner which made this book a very enjoyable and exciting read. It was compelling the whole way through, and I couldn't wait to see how things would conclude. Some of the more gripping moments in the story came from the developments in the personal lives of both of our main characters, both of whom I very quickly became invested in despite still being relatively new to the two of them. Their relationship is something fans of the series really enjoy, and it is easy to see why because they have a fiery and intense relationship. Just when I thought the story was about to start being wrapped up, Jane completely surprised me and once again that adrenaline rush came flooding back for After the Fire's denouement which was just brilliant.

I finished After the Fire and immediately wanted to read more from Jane Casey. I must move the earlier books in the series up my TBR. For those who have already read those books, I have no doubt that you will enjoy After the Fire.


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