For the Joy of Reading: Black Widow

Christopher Brookmyre does not need any help from me to get an audience.   If you have not heard his name by now, where have you been for the last 20 years?   You certainly are not in Scotland and you certainly are not a devotee of tartan noir.   And, if you have not met Jack Parlabane, then you may well have been living on another planet.

Parlabane is in his 40s now.   He has just been divorced from his wife, Sarah.   He is at a low ebb.   And this is when he is approached by Lucy Elphinstone to investigate the mysterious circumstances in which her brother, Peter, died.   To say that the plot is complicated and you do not know where your sympathies should lie is something of an understatement.

But what do you expect?   This is a Parlabane novel.   If it did not twist and turn through the murky underside of Scottish life, then Parlabane would have nothing to resolve.

So let me introduce you to the characters.   There is Diana, Peter’s wife, a consultant surgeon with a vengeful streak.   There is Sgt Ali Kazmi, a possibly pregnant police officer, called to investigate a road traffic accident.   There is Sheena Matheson who reports the accident on a remote Highland road and then disappears, supposedly in search of Calpol.   There is Sir Hamish, Peter’s father, a Scottish landowner with an alcoholic wife and a replacement already lined up.   There is Creepy Craig, the IT officer at Diana’s hospital.   And there are the bloggers, gamers, hackers and IT geeks who are an integral part of the plot.

I will do nothing more to whet your appetites.   Except to say that this book is a fun read, and the final twist in the plot will leave you gasping.   You will want to read this book.

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