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The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid
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The Skeleton Road (2014)

by Val McDermid

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Karen Pirie (2)

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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
another good instalment in this series. a little bit more emotional depth evolving in some of the characters, which is nice. still really enjoying the settings. it is, again, predictable, but that hasn't taken away from any of the stories for me, so far. the jump to the balkans in this book was sensitively handled, i think. i appreciated the afterword sharing where and how mcdermid acquired her information on this aspect of the story. ( )
  Booktrovert | Oct 8, 2017 |
Her best yet, I believe :) ( )
  DavidR1958 | Jul 4, 2017 |
I received an ARC copy from Netgalley.
It’s not often that reading a fictional novel inspires me to read some non-fiction but Val McDermid’s latest did just that. When a skeleton is found on the rooftop of an abandoned building the investigation spreads Europe wide and takes Karen Pirie, the investigating officer, and Maggie Blake, an Oxford don, on a pilgrimage to Croatia to discover the truth behind the violent death.
I was a teenager during the Balkan wars and clearly remember being shocked by the television pictures at the time. This novel bought back those feelings with its descriptions of the atrocities perpetuated by both sides in the conflict. I realised I didn’t fully understand the origins of the conflict so went out and bought some history books to educated myself. However the murder/mystery element of the novel does not get lost in a history lesson. It takes a while for the identity of the victim to become clear and then the motive is unclear. Is the crime linked to the conflict all those years ago or was it something more mundane?
I loved the strong female characters, the settings and the fact that I was learning something as well. I particularly loved the ending, not the usual wrapped up and solved case, shocks all round.
I’m a big Val McDermid fan and enjoyed this latest novel as much as her others. I’m hoping there’s a sequel in the pipeline.


( )
  angelaoatham | Feb 21, 2017 |
McDermid has once again crafted an engrossing mystery filled with memorable characters and questions. I still can't quite understand how all the horrific things that occurred in Bosnia and Serbia have faded so quickly and determinedly into the dim past. Without going into masses of gory details, McDermid brings those times to life through the characters she has created.

If anything, there may be a few too many characters, a few too many points of view, that occasionally slow the pace of the book. We have DCI Karen Pirie and her life partner (and fellow police officer) Phil. Pirie's on-the-job partner, Detective Constable Jason "the Mint" Murray. Prickly Oxford professor Maggie Blake, and Macanespie and Proctor, two men trying to find war criminals for the International Criminal Court. And I haven't named them all.

Macanespie and Proctor are sometimes referred to as "the dead-end kids," and they provide some much-needed comic relief while they plod through miles of paperwork in search of the bad guys. Pirie often feels as though DC Murray is the albatross hanging around her neck. The young man tends to be as thick as a plank and has absolutely no initiative, but it is heartwarming to see that he is actually learning things by working with her. Pirie does treat him well, regardless what she may think in private. There are also some highly emotional scenes when one of the characters is rushed to the hospital, and I wish I'd had a box of tissues at hand while reading that part.

Yes, McDermid has written a complex, thought-provoking story filled with complex characters. The Skeleton Road is only slightly marred by too many shifts in points of view. It reminds me of why I like Val McDermid's writing so much-- and why I shouldn't take so long to read another of her books. ( )
  cathyskye | Jan 9, 2017 |
A gripping read with a cracking ending. Hope there will be another outing for DCI Karen Pirie. ( )
  sianpr | Nov 5, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Val McDermidprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cohen, MarcCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Havenaar, WillemCover photo skullsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hidalgo, Pablocover photo stone alleysecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
MJC DesignCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Porter, DavinaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Geography is about power. Although often assumed to be innocent, the geography of the world is not a product of nature but a product of histories of struggle between competing authorities over the power to organise, occupy and administer space.

Critical Geopolitics

Gearóid Tuathail
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For my Jo:

'But this dedication is for others to read: These are private words addressed to you in public.'
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Sunset is often a glamorous business in the Cretan holiday harbour of Chania. (Prologue)
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When a skeleton is discovered hidden at the top of a gothic Victorian building in Edinburgh, which is scheduled for renovation, Cold Case Squad detective Karen Pirie is given the task of identifying the decades-old bones. Her investigation leads her back to past conflicts, false identities and buried secrets..… (more)

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