After The Fire begins a few weeks after the previous book, The Kill. Some of the storylines continue, namely we find ourselves again at the Maudling Estate. Plus, Maeve's stalker, which we first met in The Reckoning, appears again. You may be wondering if you need to read previous books before this one. Well, that's always my preference. The author actually has a note in the front of the book stating that it isn't required to understand this book, but she does say that some story arcs continue over. Your choice. Here's the beginning of After The Fire:
There were 224 residents of Murchison House on the Maudling Estate in north London, and on a cold grey late November day not one of them was expecting to die. Some were hoping to die. Some were waiting to die. But no one actually expected to die that day.
A fire breaks out in Murchison House on the Maudling Estate and races through several stories of the housing project in a very short period of time. As might be expected, the elevators are unworkable, the smoke alarms may or may not be operational, the CCTV cameras are damaged, and so the residents make a mad dash down the stairs to the ground level. It's unclear which floor was the actual centerpoint of the blaze - the 10th, 11th, who knows? After the fire is extinguished and many people are taken to the hospital, several bodies are found. One of them is MP Geoff Armstrong, a character that we met in the previous book. He seems to have jumped to his death from an upper story window. And he is the reason that our police crew, DC Maeve Kerrigan, DI Josh Derwent, and my 'favorite' boss (not even) in temporary command, DCI Una Burt, are brought in to investigate.
OK, as I've shared before in my reviews of previous books, I love these characters. I love Maeve and I love Josh Derwent. Many people think of him as bullying and controlling. He is. I still love him. I feel that I see his deep loyalty and honor and goodness underneath. He is very prickly and rude at times. However, he has a definite soft spot for certain people or types of people. And he is Maeve's friend, even if he isn't always the most gentle or kind of characters.
Maeve herself is a bit odd in this book. I'm worried about her, but think part of her issues may be due to the stress of the stalker. She is still too wrapped up in how she is perceived in her job. She won't ask for help. She thinks that Rob's leaving is her fault (I disagree). She's not in the best of health. I'm hoping that she will be in a better place in her head in the upcoming books.
So, some overarching issues are resolved in After The Fire. Some are not. All the questions about the fire and the angles included regarding the residents of Murchison House are mostly cleared up and are not all that hard to figure out. But there are some great scenes here and great tension and thrills. There is sadness and grief. I was pleased overall. And will I read the next book in the series? Absolutely. Now to wait for it.
After The Fire was just recently published in the UK. I ordered it from there. Not sure what the publish date will be for the US - perhaps next year? It would be nice if all books would come out at the same time all over, wouldn't it? The first book in this series is The Burning. I recommend that you meet Maeve Kerrigan. Jane Casey's writing is addicting for me.