I’ve got some Scottish writers I enjoy reading, like Michel Faber and Denise Mina, and am on the lookout for more. I am new to Val Mc Dermid. I’ve seen some of the PBS series Wire in the Blood, but knew this was a stand alone book, so I didn’t know what to expect from this novel.
The story moves from Edinburgh, to Oxford and Croatia, and involves serveral different points of view. There are two investigations: one conducted by Scottish police into the murder of a man whose skeleton are found in a turreted nook on the roof of a condemned building and the other conducted by two ill-equipped International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) lawyers, who are trying to discover who is responsible for a security leak that has led to the execution-style murders of a number of war criminals. These two investigations are related, and are woven in with the memories of an Oxford academic who lived through the siege of Dubrovnik during the Croatian War of Independence. While I enjoyed the sections with DCI Karen Pirie and her subordinate “Mint” (though really, her friend the forensic anthropologist is called Dr. River Wilde? Yeesh) as pure procedural , the part about the lawyers dragged for me. Maggie Blakes remembrances of her time in Dubrovnik, though, were rather compelling and just plain horrific at times. These three threads didn’t always gel for me, like they were three different endeavors mashed together. But overall it was a decent effort. I listened to the audiobook and for the most part enjoyed the different accents and idioms, just had to back track a few times through particularly thick brogues.