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The Bone Yard by Paul Johnston
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This book is one in a series set in Edinburgh, Scotland in the 2020's after the world economy has collapsed into scattered city-states due to wars and drugs. Edinburgh is tightly run by the Guardians with the support of auxiliaries, who are referred to by their numbers rather than their names. The Guardians proclaim the city crime-free, but then hire Quint (Quintilian) Dalrymple to solve the crimes that occur. Quint is supported by a great group of friends and acquaintances who are interesting and well fleshed out. The series is amusing and entertaining.

The second book has Quint trying to solve a case where people are murdered and tapes are left in their bodies. A big clue is the Boneyard, and Quint and Davie have to find out what the Boneyard is, and how it is linked to the murders. ( )
  cmwilson101 | Mar 29, 2010 |
The Bone Yard is the second book in this series from Paul Johnston. The first was titled The Body Politic. The series is set in Edinburgh, Scotland. in the 2020s.
The world has gone to hell, and the city has closed itself off. They allow tourism, which is their main source of income. The city is ruled by a group of people known as The Council. There is also a police group known as the Guardians. Our hero, Quintilian Dalrymple, is a former guardian who now operates as a detective for hire.
Quint is approached by a citizen who is being followed/stalked, and Quint doesn't think much of it. He promises to look into it just to make the guy happy. Of course, mysteries being what they are, the guy turns up dead. And it's then that the story kicks in. The council brings him in to find the killer. He asks for and is given the assistance of his friend, an auxillary (cop) named Davie. Together they investigate the murder, which turns into murders. Along the way there are illegal drugs, strange deaths, and people hiding the truth.
The book is a great read. Social commentary mixed in by way of Quint's outlook on the future city, and who runs it. The story is tight and the investigative work believable. Quint is a hardboiled detective typical of this genre and fun because of it. The book wraps everything up in a wonderful ending that left me wanting more.
There was one thing that bugged me a bit, though. While written in the mid 1990s, this is supposedly set in the near future (2020). But the ideas are already out-dated by modern technology. People still use hand held mobiles, send letters(!), perform searches by looking up books in libraries. There is no email, internet or any of the other electronic communications that were already around in the mid 1990s, albeit only in infancy.
The only really futuristic element of the novel is the political theme of social rebellion, republican government and wasteland environment (think Waterworld without the water).
That minor quibble aside, this is a great read. ( )
  Jawin | Jul 1, 2007 |
Edinburgh 2021. Serial killing. Ian Rankin with a futuristic twist. I still prefer Brookmyre. ( )
  miketroll | Feb 21, 2007 |
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Paul Johnstonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Johnston, Paulmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0340694939, Paperback)

The Bone Yard is a dystopian thriller set in Edinburgh during the harsh winter of 2021. Rogue detective Quintilian Dalrymple, a former bureaucrat who left his high-ranking job to work for the parks service and solve mysteries on the side, sets about catching a serial killer with a peculiar signature. The killer bites out the victim's throat, cuts out the tongue, removes the genitals, and leaves in the cavity a cassette of the electric blues of Clapton, Hendrix, and others. In the allegedly crime-free Edinburgh city-state (which is expressly modeled on Plato's Republic, but in practice resembles every cliché of pre-1990 Eastern Bloc regimes), blues music is contraband. So are casual sex, monogamy, fattening foods, all drugs, and more-than-weekly showers. So why does the killer leave cryptic messages via electric blues?

Johnston won Britain's John Creasey Award for best first crime novel with 1999's Body Politic, and in The Bone Yard he possibly takes for granted that his readers already know and care about Dalrymple and his cohorts. Character development is scanty, so the playful rivalry between Dalrymple and sidekick Davie, for example, is mostly conveyed through edginess and four-letter words. Their terseness is juxtaposed against the obfuscatory language of the council, the "iron Boy Scouts" who gradually become implicated in the four grisly murders and a related scheme. The serial murderer's infelicitous musical clues lead Dalrymple to discover a dangerous drug remarkably like Viagra, which is being manufactured illegally within the Edinburgh city-state. Dalrymple travels to a zoo, a slaughterhouse, and a foul fishing boat to find the lab, which may be tied to the mysterious "Bone Yard" that the council shrouds in top-level security and secrecy. In addition, a nubile exotic dancer meets an untimely end, leading the two detectives and Dalrymple's tough ex-girlfriend Katharine to the Three Graces sex club, which caters to Edinburgh's rich and burgeoning tourist population. Readers trolling for mysteries set in exciting locales may thus be gratified by The Bone Yard, which is a blend of 1984 (though with inferior prose), The China Syndrome, and Showgirls. The plot moves briskly through dark terrain, both physically and philosophically. It's got a relentlessly downbeat tenor, but Johnston intricately ties together the threads of the four murder victims and their psychopathic killer, and the secret of the Bone Yard. --Kathi Inman Berens

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:35 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Private investigator Quintilian Dalrymple and his sidekick Davie know there's a connection between the blues cassettes implanted in the dead bodies and the "small blue tablet that causes a massive increase in alertness and sexual potency," and they believe that the answer lies in the Bone Yard, if ever they can figure out what the Bone Yard is.--Jacket.… (more)

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