Craven by Melanie Casey

cravenBook Title: Craven, Book Two of the Cass Lehman and Ed Dyson series
Author: Melanie Casey
Publisher: Pantera Press
Genre: Crime
Release Date: June 1st, 2014
Book Synopsis: A reluctant psychic, a troubled detective… and a deeply twisted serial killer.

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 first 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 police 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?

~*~

Picking up a year after where the devastating and traumatic events for both Cass and Ed left us in Hindsight, Craven brings a new world of threats to Cass and those she cares about. Things start out innocently enough in Adelaide with Cass house hunting. Though a vision of a death in one house, foreshadowed in the prologue, counts that house out. An effective way to bring Casey’s fans back into the fold, and reintroducing us to Cass and her gift, was the vision she had about the death that had taken place there. I would have liked to have known more about that victim and the case, but it served its purpose in the context of the novel and plot that was to follow.
Also in Adelaide, is Detective Ed Dyson, her former boyfriend and the police officer she assisted in the Fleurieu Killer case back in Jewel Bay twelve months ago, working with a new partner, in the Major Crime Investigative Branch, or MCIB, on a twelve-month secondment. When her car is vandalised, Cass calls Ed for help, spurring on a series of events that continue to throw them together, along with Dave, Ed’s new partner, and the only person Cass has been able to confide in since her move to Adelaide, Claire. Along with investigating his serial killer, Ed is thrown back into Cass’s life, trying to protect her from a stalker, yet little do they both know the danger hiding in the shadows that will befall them in the closing chapters of the novel.
Again, Casey has had me on the edge of my seat, with many sleepless nights out of a desire to find out what happens next and fear of the serial killer. I feel this fear is what makes her novels exceptionally well written, because I definitely felt the fear Cass felt. I felt her sleeplessness and I also felt her uncertainty about things. There were moments of sadness though, and moments where I wanted to shake some of the characters into thinking sense – again, this is why I loved this book, because the characters were so believable. They weren’t just black and white, they had grey areas and were flawed: nobody is perfect. Cass and Ed illustrate this in a wonderful way. I am looking forward to reading future Cass Lehman books, and I recommend the series to crime lovers anywhere.

Hindsight by Melanie Casey

hindsightBook Title: Hindsight, Book one of the Cass Lehman and Ed Dyson series
Author: Melanie Casey
Publisher: Pantera Press
Genre: Crime
Release Date: May 1st, 2013
Book Synopsis: Cass Lehman has a terrifying ‘gift’…The youngest in a family of extraordinary women with supernatural talents, Cass is cursed with the not-so-sexy gift of seeing the past…but not just any past; she sees death. For years she’s hidden herself away in her family home. Now, desperate for a better life, she ventures into sleepy Jewel Bay, only to stumble upon murder and mayhem and a killer at large who’s long been lurking in their midst. Taking a chance, Cass volunteers to assist Detective Ed Dyson with the investigation. Will Cass be able to save the latest victim – and herself?

~*~

As a lover of crime books, it took me less than a week to devour this book on my commute to and from an internship. Each page took me along Cass’s journey through her gift and isolation further and further, giving the reader an understanding of Cass that they can carry with them through the reading, and I quite like how the author revealed Cass and what she had been through to us throughout the novel, but at exactly the right times for readers to know. Aside to this, we have Cass, living at home in her twenties, struck by fear of her gift, and doing what she can to avoid it being triggered if she crosses a path where someone has died in the past. Cared for by her mother and grandmother, who also have manifestations of psychic gifts, Cass is sheltered until she meets Ed.
When Cass met Ed Dyson, his sneering attitude, along with the same attitude his partner, Phil, exhibited towards Cass, made me step back from him at first, yet as we learnt more about him and what had happened to his wife, Susan, and as his relationship with Cass developed, I grew to like him, and sympathise with him. I wanted him to find out what had happened to his wife, and when Cass made a connection between several of the victims, this became the turning point in their relationship and their quest to work together to find the perpetrator of the heinous crimes, the serial killer operating within the same time frame every year, leading to a breakthrough in the case of Ed’s wife, Susan. The raw emotion of the characters, especially Ed, when he linked his wife’s case to the other murders with Cass’s help with what seems like an inconsequential or coincidental link, and one that had been brushed aside by the detectives investigating, even Ed, leapt right off the page and kept me reading to see if the link Cass made between the victims became a tangible link instead of a coincidence that the detectives would soon follow.
It is this coincidence that leads them to bring in a suspect towards the end of the novel, and events following Cass attempting to confirm his identity cause a rift between Cass and Ed, and her life is soon in danger. Will Ed be able to save her before it’s too late?

This book had everything a good crime novel should have for me: an dark yet intriguing mystery, characters who have weaknesses and strengths we get to experience, a tight story line and a bad guy who is creepy, slimy and who we want to see chucked jail. A very good first novel from Melanie Casey.