Where the Bodies Are Buried is the latest work from Scottish crime writer Christopher Brookmyre, best known for his comic crime novels. His latest book is just as richly Scottish as his earlier work, but it is his grittiest and most realistic novel yet.
When small-time heroin dealer Jai McDiarmid turns up dead one fine Glasgow morning, no one is that surprised – he’d been sleeping with a drug trafficker’s girlfriend and had made himself a lot of enemies – so many, in fact, that Detective Superintendent Catherine McLeod doesn’t know where to start when she is assigned to the case. Meanwhile, out-of-work actress Jasmine Sharp is doing her best to be a private investigator, but her PI mentor Uncle Jim, who was meant to be showing her the ropes, has just disappeared in mysterious circumstances. She begins looking at the open cases that Jim was investigating – which sends her into trouble, fast. And when she soon finds out that Jim’s disappearance has something to do with Jai’s death, she teams up with Catherine – and together they stumble upon an old open case which throws everything into question. In Glasgow, nothing is quite what it seems.
About Christopher Brookmyre
Since his award-winning debut novel Quite Ugly One Morning, Chris Brookmyre has established himself as one of Britain’s leading crime novelists.
A Scottish crime novelist known for his satirical gore fests (One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night, 1999, etc.), Brookmyre here begins a new, straighter-faced procedural cop series. After a drug dealer is killed, Detective Catherine McLeod must penetrate not only the net of secrecy surrounding criminal lowlifes in “Glesca,” but also the questionable motives of her superiors. Meanwhile, Jasmine Sharp, a slip-up waiting to happen, must get her act together after her uncle goes missing. He was working on a cold case involving the disappearance of a couple and had told their now-adult daughter he had news for her. Following clues to a women’s shelter, Jasmine gets paired off with a handyman who goes by the unlikely name Tron Ingrams. After an attempt is made on her life, or his, he reveals he’s really a bent cop’s son, Glen Fallan, a name in one of her uncle’s files. As more people are killed, maimed or disappear, Catherine’s story becomes joined with Jasmine’s and her former boss’ pronouncement becomes apparent: “This is Glesca. We don’t do subtle, we don’t do nuanced, we don’t do conspiracy…We do tit-for-tat, score-settling, feuds, jealousy, petty revenge. We do straightforward. We do obvious. We do cannaemisswhodunit.” A brainy, barbed noir, this book takes its time setting the scene and establishing its characters. Most of its violence occurs off the page. But with its contrasting protagonists (it’s easy to envision a series built around the endearing Jasmine), local color and language and skillfully orchestrated sense of bad things to come, the novel maintains a solid grip on the reader. – Kirkus Reviews
Where the Bodies Are Buried by Christopher Brookmyre
Barnes & Noble Review – July 18, 2012 (Excerpt)
The title of a Christopher Brookmyre novel often tells you a lot. All Fun and Games Until Somebody Loses an Eye, for example, or A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away seem to promise anarchic violence, quirky characters, and ironic humor. Tough Scottish humor, as it happens, leavened with Elmore Leonard-like flourishes. Brookmyre’s latest novel, Where the Bodies Are Buried,sounds straightforward by comparison, and thankfully it is. Brookmyre is at his best when he writes plainly instead of straining for noir effect.
Here he first describes his city, in summer. “It didn’t seem like Glasgow,” he writes, “…the clouds had rolled in on top of a sunny day like a lid on a pan, holding in the warmth, keeping hot blood on a simmer.” He then introduces the city’s leading gangsters as they stand around a beaten drug dealer who is about to be shot in the head. There is Big Fall, Wee Sacks, and the Gallowhaugh Godfather, who looks “older even than his scarred and lived-in face would indicate; a face you would never get sick of kicking.”
Gangland politics may have prompted this killing, while police politics are a separate matter — or are they? When Detective Superintendent Catherine McLeod begins to investigate the squalid assassination, her search soon leads into the shadows where filthy deals are made between cops and villains. This is a shock, but not a revelation, to a woman who has seen it all. Observing a new colleague as they drive to the murder scene, McLeod notes, “The girl was keen, give her that, but the guy would still be dead when they got there.” Brookmyre’s laconic humor freshens a potentially stale character — the female police officer who is also a wounded child, an exhausted mother, and an insecure lover — and also jolts the narrative out of its predictable ruts. When McLeod is called to a fire-gutted building owned by a crime boss, for example, she muses that “Frankie wouldn’t be losing any sleep over it. What with being dead and all.” [Read the full article...]
DOODLEBUGS & SPITFIRES Memories and Short Stories by Peter Carroll
“Doodlebugs & Spitfires” is a delightful collection of memories and short stories written by Peter Carroll, the author of “Queen of Misfortune,” in his trademark poetic and profoundly thoughtful style.
Most of his stories, previously published in limited form in local English newspapers and magazines, like “Brave New World”, “The Forties Street Tradesmen”, “Doodlebugs”, or “The Christmas of 43” evolve around his childhood in the Northern part of London during and after World War II. He describes the horrors that came with the V1 flying bombs, nicknamed the “Doodlebugs.” Heroic British pilots in their “Spitfire” airplanes would attempt to divert the flying bombs from the populated areas, sometimes successful, and sometimes not.
We are the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud. The Washington Post
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