Book review: Melanie Casey 'Craven'

Book review: Melanie Casey ‘Craven’

This is the second novel by Adelaide-based crime author, Casey, again featuring Detective Ed Dyson and clairvoyant, Cass Lehmann.

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UnknownThis is the second novel by Adelaide-based crime author, Casey, again featuring Detective Ed Dyson and clairvoyant, Cass Lehmann.

Casey gives us a, generally, enjoyable read, as her characters track down a serial killer who seems to be targeting members of a Narcotics Anonymous group. As an avid reader of crime fiction, I am always happy to give a new author a try, and I must admit to enjoying following the landmarks of Adelaide that I know so well.

However, Casey delivers a plot that is lacking in any psychological depth or reality. Contemporary crime fiction has come a long way since Agatha, Dorothy, Ngaio et al, and we expect a bit more from our authors in the way of psychological research.  She has also taken the difficult path of structuring the story half in first person (from Cass’s POV,) and half in third person, which I just found slightly irritating.

The idea of putting a clairvoyant in the mix is a good one, and certainly more artistically acceptable since Allison Du Bois’ “Medium” series. Casey has done a nice job in giving Lehmann quite a specific gift, in that she can feel how someone died, in certain circumstances. Dyson is also a likeable character, and the two of them enjoy an on-and-off romantic relationship.

Like many genre novels, dialogue is stilted and unrealistic, and characters are somewhat lacking in depth. But we readers are fairly forgiving of these failings in our genre of choice.

Over all, the story moves along at a pace, and is certainly an easy, light read. With some better “perp” profiling, this could become a solid, if not ground-breaking, crime series.

Worth a look.

Reviewed by Tracey Korsten

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