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Saturday, 13 February 2016

Black Widow by Chris Brookmyre

Published by Little Brown,
28 January 2016.
ISBN: 978-1-40870-715-9 (HB)

Diana Jager was also known as ‘Bladebitch’ from her blog which brought to light sexism she encountered in her work as a surgeon; but her devotion to her work meant she had no time for love. When she met Peter, her life changed, with a whirlwind courtship and marriage - until she began to realise that he wasn’t what he seemed. Then his car is found in a river...

This book is so cleverly plotted, and with such a bobby-dazler of a final twist, that I’m scared to describe it in case I spoil your enjoyment. It’s set within the courtroom drama of the trial, but the main sections of the book are Diana, recalling her relationship with Peter from the beginning, police officers Ali and Rodriguez, the first to arrive at the scene of the crime, and subsequently following-up their suspicions that all is not as it seems, and the investigations of Jack Parlabane, Brookmyre’s series detective, a discredited journalist, who’s been brought in by Peter’s sister, Lucy, to investigate her brother’s death. As the strands move the story along, you get to know the characters, and find yourself torn between denouncing Diana as a murderess and cheering her on as a woman who stands no nonsense. The sections are long enough to draw you in, short enough to keep the book moving, and you become involved with the characters – Diana particularly, but also the police officers and Parlane. It’s set in Inverness, rural Scotland, and told with the traditional Brookmyre panache and humour.

Fast-moving and tricky as a ten-foot snake, this mixes psychological thriller, PP and PI in one glorious book. If you like Brookmyre, pre-order it from Amazon now, and cancel all engagements for the day it arrives; if you’ve never tried him, this is a good place to start.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Christopher Brookmyre was born in Glasgow in 1968.  He was educated at the University of Glasgow. His  novels mix comedy, politics, social comment and action with a strong narrative. He has been referred to as a Tartan Noir author. He lives in Glasgow with his wife and son.

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

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