Aussie Book Review | Craven | Melanie Casey

"Cass thought she had experienced every kind of death...

Moving to the city, Cass Lehman hoped to leave her recent notoriety behind her. Her ability to experience the final moments of a violent death helped the local police capture a serial killer, but also meant she was almost his final victim...

With a place of her own and a new job, things are looking up for Cass. But just as she starts to feel settled, Cass is targeted by a deranged stalker.

Are the personal attacks linked to a string of unsettling deaths that have left the police stumped?

Her 'gift' is called on yet again by the one man she vowed she would never contact. Cass and Detective Ed Dyson are thrown back into each other's lives but can they overcome their feelings to put an end to the terror?

Will her experiences of death reveal the mind of the killer... or is there no such thing as a happy ending?”

Can I just start this review off by saying that I am really loving this series! I’ve never really been a fan of stories told in series but these days I find myself reading more and more of them and, in particular, anticipating Melanie Casey’s next release.

With the third, Missing, already having arrived on my doorstep, I was compelled to read this one before venturing into the third so that I didn’t lose my way in terms of how reluctant clairvoyant Cass Lehman has developed.

Continuing the story a few months after Hindsight (my review here) left off and Cass and Ed Dyson parted ways, Cass is still trying to come to grips with her gift off retrocognition and it seems that the more she uses it, the more she discovers about it, even if it does involve reliving the final moments of a victim’s death at the scene of a crime.

Having left the safe confines of her childhood home in Jewel Bay, she now lives in Adelaide (two hours away) and is currently a tutor at the Uni. When one of her new students recognises her, her tutoring position becomes entwined in her past and she finds herself the victim of a stalker.

Ed, the detective with whom she worked on a case in Jewel Bay (the one that made her a household name) is currently on secondment with the Major Crime Investigative Branch (MCIB), a division of the Adelaide Police, and has recently been presented with a case that’s proving to be far more complicated than he and his new partner, Dave, first thought. When Cass calls him for help after her car is defaced on the Uni’s premises, he’s not only surprised that she has moved to Adelaide but happy that she is trying to forge her way to independence.

It’s not long though before Ed’s undeniably familiar pull has Cass becoming embroiled in his investigation which involves trying to figure out the murder of a young man who appears to have been linked to a local Narcotics Anonymous Group. If there is a deranged serial killer on the loose how is Cass’ gift going to aid her and the police in bringing them to book?

Melanie Casey is an author that gets me as a reader. She might write crime cum police procedural cum suspense with a touch of the supernatural but her characters are not stereo-typical of most of this genre. Both Cass and Ed are people I can empathise and sympathise with because they are both flawed, thus making them real and relatable.

Written from the perspectives of Cass in the first person and Ed in the third, we get a good feel for both of these characters as well as some spine-tingling moments that had me not wanting to go near any of the windows in my house while it was dark! Seriously!

Her characters are believable and she doesn’t take Cass’ gift over the top. Perhaps that’s what I like about the struggles and challenges that Cass is faced with in not only learning to accept that what she has been gifted with is important but that she is also pretty much an average human being.

Melanie is a great storyteller and, while she doesn’t know what it’s like to be a psychic, she conveys Cass’ ability and fears well. She also knows how to maintain the pace and suspense and there’s no denying that this series is going to take her places with lovers of the genre.

A well-balanced story that will take you along for a ride through the sights, smells and sounds of Adelaide as Cass and Ed follow the procedures of an investigation while discovering more about one another, this is a well written, fast-paced and engrossing second addition to the series.

I wish to thank Pantera Press for providing me with a hard copy for review.

About the Author

Melanie Casey was born and lives in South Australia with her two young children and her husband (who didn’t know he was marrying a writer when he walked down the aisle).

After studying English Literature and Classical Studies, Melanie shifted to Law, and now works in government.

A chance meeting with a high school English teacher in the supermarket made Melanie realise that she should be doing what she’d always loved, writing! Another period of study, this time at the Professional Writing School of Adelaide’s College of the Arts ensued, helping Melanie acquire the skills she needed to put her plan into action.

Hindsight was her debut novel, the first in a crime trilogy featuring Cass Lehman and Detective Ed Dyson. Craven was released in 2014.


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