Book review: Where The Bodies Are Buried, by Chris Brookmyre

Firstly, let’s deal with the name change; Brookmyre has gone from Christopher to plain old Chris. Don’t know why, don’t really care, but it is the same person in case you are confused. Anyone who has ever read the Paisley-born author’s work will already be aware of the sardonic wit that flows throw his every publication, and this is his 11th novel.

Following on from the brilliant nigh-on sci-fi Pandemonium, Where The Bodies Are Buried is almost a return to familiar territory as Brookmyre deals with a plain-old whodunit. It is Glasgow and Jasmine Sharp, recently orphaned wannabe actress, is working with her uncle Jim in a small private detective agency; small as in it has two staff and one of them is there by virtue of sympathetic relatives.

Her life is thrown upside down when her uncle Jim disappears, her only clues being the open folders relating to the cases of Ann Ramsay and Glen Fallan. Meanwhile, Jai McDermaid turns up brutally murdered in a back-alley in the east end. Separate events with no connection, or is there?

Brookmyre takes the old Glasgow idiom (which he even quotes in the book), “When you hear hoof-beats on Sauchiehall Street you know it’s a horse and not a zebra coming down the street,” and stretches it to breaking point. The story twists and turns around an unknown centre point like octopi playing swingball – what is the connection between missing persons from a quarter of a century ago, a false alarm at Central Station and a series of gang-related crimes across the city?

The answer: Glasgow’s biggest gang.

Where The Bodies Are Buried is another read-straight-through offering from one of Scotland’s finest authors. Admittedly it is not in the same league as A Tale Etched In Blood And Hard Black Pencil and the early Parlabane books, but it is nonetheless another stonking effort.



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