Where the Bodies are Buried, by Chris Brookmyre

Bit of a departure from the standard Brookmyre formula, this is a relatively straightforward contemporary crime novel: Jasmine, an aspiring but as yet unsuccessful actor, is enlisted by her Uncle to do some work for him in his one-man private-eye firm. But Uncle disappears, and Jasmine is left to chase up leads from the cases he was working on in order to find out what happened to him.

This was not a bad book, but it felt a little bit tame, compared with what you'd expect from this author. In fact to start with it mostly I was reminded of the Jackson Brodie books (Case Histories etc.). Maybe that was the partly down to the Scottishness of it. The story was reasonably interesting, and kept your attention, but it sort of felt like a set up for a series of books that will involve Jasmine's further adventures, possibly as she crosses paths again with Catherine, the woman police detective who is the other main character in the book.

I did find it a bit hard to keep track of all the supporting characters - there were quite a few criminals and policemen, and not everyone was who they seemed. The ending wasn't a huge surprise.

This book comes after Pandaemonium, which felt like a bit of an attempt by Brookmyre to do something a bit different. So maybe he's just exercising his writing muscles by trying various different styles. If this book does turn out to be the genre he's decided to go with, then it would be a bit of a shame: while I'd read more books about Jasmine/Catherine, I'd rather have him doing the more "typical" stories that I'm used to. But then maybe he feels he's done as much of that sort of stuff as he can.

edit - I just checked on his website, and this is apparently the first of a series of books, which has already been optioned for TV. What a pity. The website also mentioned the bit of the book that actually concerns "where the bodies are buried", and reminded me of this aspect of the story: that when bodies are buried, they decompose and give off heat, so that aerial infra-red photography can pick them up. Well, that may be an interesting fact, but it feels a bit like one that Brookmyre heard of and thougt "wow I could use that" - without actually thinking of a very good way of using it. He didn't really make much of it in the book at all.

Completed : 08-Aug-2011

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