When the Devil Drives - Chris Brookmyre
Another Tartan Noir book. I must admit to never having read any of the likes of Rankin or Banks but have enjoyed the likes of Gordon Ferris and have always enjoyed Christopher Brookmyre’s books. However with his last book and this one he has become Chris. The change in name is also reflected in a more serious writing style and whilst there are still elements of some dark humour around it is not as prevalent as before, the emphasis now is far more on the crime elements.
This novel continues the adventures of Jasmine Sharp, drama school dropout turned private investigator, with many of the same supporting cast. Jasmine is perhaps a little more assured that last time and definitely more competent. Detective Superintendent Catherine Macleod is also back but this time without the continued interplay. It is almost two stories which come together at the end, both solving the mystery without any contact between them.
The book starts with a powerful piece on the taking of a life, a confession but without knowing who is doing the confessing. It is only a few pages but that does not mean it makes it any the less of an impact.
From there we have a brief catch-up on Jasmine before she embarks on what a first should be a simple case of lost contact, trying to find a relative who had not been heard of for a while. It is of course not that simple and the story leads through twists and turns, following a relatively uncomplicated path towards the conclusion. There are a few attempted plots twists, no obvious suspect out of a number of possible. The finger is pointed a few times erroneously before finally the culprit is known.
The very final twist is not at all unexpected and, in fact almost anticipated, not so much a twist as a cliché. The unfortunate thing is that the mystery of the relationship between Jasmine and Glen Fallon which was hinted at strongly at the end of the last book is almost denied in this one or in fact explained away quite lamely. There’s not a huge body count in this book, just a brace, but as you’d expect the deaths are linked but not quite as expected. The book is not overly taxing on the grey matter but is still an enjoyable read, or at least I found it so.
I’d give it 4 Mr Mushroomheads.