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The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid - Review.

The Skeleton Road - Val McDermid

Publication Date: Available Now.

 

Source: Publisher Review Copy

 

When a skeleton is discovered hidden at the top of a crumbling, gothic building in Edinburgh, Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie is faced with the unenviable task of identifying the bones. As Karen’s investigation gathers momentum, she is drawn deeper into a world of intrigue and betrayal, spanning the dark days of the Balkan Wars.

 

So a standalone book this time (no Tony Hill), an excellent and very involving read showing once again that Val McDermid is pretty much in a class of her own when it comes to Crime Fiction.

 

Here we find Karen Pirie (A Darker Domain), on the cold case squad and tasked with discovering the identity of some remains discovered on the roof of a long abandoned building – as the case progresses she becomes embroiled in a vendetta with its roots in the Balkan Conflict.

 

Extremely gripping throughout, with a multi stranded story  and some very haunting and evocative details about the atrocities in the Balkans, this was really part murder mystery and part history lesson, whilst still being highly entertaining. Some great characters (lets hope Karen returns again one day) and a truly compelling tale of violence and judgement that was at times truly chilling, I found myself more interested in the past than the present, our victim being rather enigmatic I was really keen to find out the truth.

 

The mystery element is extremely well constructed as always, even though the murderer was fairly obvious I think that this added to the tale rather than took away from it – because the heart of the story was not “whodunnit” but a real opportunity to explore themes of loss and revenge. Ms McDermid as always does not pull any punches in her descriptive prose and this brings to horrific life the details of war and the atrocities that can occur, often unnoticed. I particularly liked how the focus was not on the “Headline” making events but rather on the smaller, violent occurrences that were going on daily and not always talked about.

 

Overall another brilliant read, some of the best crime fiction out there.

 

Happy Reading Folks!