Wednesday, 14 October 2015

The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid

Title: The Skeleton Road
Series: Inspector Karen Pirie (#3)
Author: Val McDermid
From: Netgalley
Genre: Crime
Release Date: 2nd December 2014
Challenges: 2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2015 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

When a skeleton is found on top of a building scheduled for demolition, DCI Karen Pirie is called onto the case. Soon she begins to unravel the events that led to the man's death and discovers some true horrors relating to the Balklans conflicts. Meanwhile someone has been killing war criminals before they can come to trial and all fingers point in one direction...until that investigation crosses over with Karen's...

Before I get on with my review, one thing that needs to be said...that ending. I read it. Then I read it again. I didn't want to believe what I had read and found myself really feeling for the characters involved.

The Balklans conflict isn't one that I've ever really known about, and as such I was clueless going into The Skeleton Road, and actually I thought McDermid did a wonderful job of informing the reader while continuing her story at the same time. At times I did find myself horrified by the depths that human nature can fall to, and I thought that the balance was struck between the entertainment value of the story and the horror of what happened.

I liked Karen as a character. Even when things seemed impossible she didn't give up. Instead she worked through it logically and did what she had to do to better the cause around her. I also liked the relationship that she had with the people she worked with, they weren't all on great terms, but I thought it showed realism and at times (mainly with her DI and with River) she showed that she was more than willing to work as a team.

The mystery itself was intricate. It wasn't until very late in the day when what is a rather large hint was dropped that I figured out who had done it (though I had already linked some things together). I liked being kept on the edge of my seat, and having the mystery remaining worked really well for me.

Crime isn't a genre I've read a lot in recent years, despite the fact I'd read several of McDermid's books previously, but on rediscovering them I am finding that it's a genre I should never have abandoned!