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The Skeleton Road

The Skeleton Road [Kindle Edition]

Val McDermid
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Book Description

The Queen of the psychological thriller returns with her latest chilling novel.

Product Description

When a skeleton is discovered hidden at the top of a crumbling, gothic building in Edinburgh, Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie is faced with the unenviable task of identifying the bones. As Karen's investigation gathers momentum, she is drawn deeper into a world of intrigue and betrayal, spanning the dark days of the Balkan Wars.

Karen's search for answers brings her to a small village in Croatia, a place scarred by fear, where people have endured unspeakable acts of violence. Meanwhile, someone is taking the law into their own hands in the name of justice and revenge -- but when present resentment collides with secrets of the past, the truth is more shocking than anyone could have imagined . . .

Atmospheric, spine-chilling and brimming with intrigue and suspense, this is Val McDermid's richest and most accomplished psychological thriller to date.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 862 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (11 Sep 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IA2E72C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,566 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Val McDermid grew up in a Scottish mining community then read English at Oxford. She was a journalist for sixteen years, spending the last three as Northern Bureau Chief of a national Sunday tabloid. She divides her time between Northumberland and Cheshire

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of her best; complex and thought provoking 11 Sep 2014
By Bookie TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
Val McDermid's latest offering, The Skeleton Road, is a tour de force. In a brave and striking departure from her 'series' stories, this is a standalone psychological crime thriller. It's an excellent murder mystery which draws together a number of seemingly disparate threads.

DCI Karen Pirie heads up the cold case unit in the new Police Scotland. Strapped for resources and cash, she and her likeable sidekick have to deliver. A long dead corpse is discovered in a disused and inaccessible tower in Edinburgh. A man dies as he enters his apartment in Crete. Add an Oxford professor, war crime investigators, the Balkan conflict with themes of revenge, retribution, justice, loss and love, mix well and you have something of the flavour of this extraordinary story. I was absolutely gripped from start to finish.

A murder mystery moves seamlessly to an exploration of geopolitics and genocide; the breadth of this canvas is simply breathtaking. The plot moves back and forth between Edinburgh, Croatia and Oxford. A fascinating first person backstory is used to dramatic effect to both explain and keep the plot moving. I was reading rapidly with no idea how the threads could possibly be drawn to conclusion. And what an ending; I was left literally open mouthed at the final page. The great delight in this book is the empathy that builds for a central character. The minor players in the story are well fleshed out so people have a real feel to them. Ms McDermid knows what makes people tick. Her characters are strong and the psychological insights are perceptive and enthralling. I was left wondering who was capable of what and was wrong footed at every turn. There's a great sense of place too.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A welcome return to form... 6 Oct 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
When a long-dead body is found on the roof of a derelict Edinburgh school, the case is handed to Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie of the Historic Cases Unit. Calling on her friend and colleague, forensic anthropologist Dr River Wilde, for help in identifying the body, Karen soon finds that the victim is of Eastern European origin. So begins a case that is as much about the history of the Serbo-Croatian war of the 1990s as it is about a murder investigation.

When Val McDermid is on form she's one of the best of the current crime writers, and I'm pleased to say that she's on form in this one. Personally I'm glad to see her getting away from the Tony Hill series, which in my opinion has gone on too long and has lost its way over the last few books. (In fact, I haven't even been able to bring myself to read the last couple.) And, unlike her last foray into standalone thriller territory with the truly bad The Vanishing Point, this one is a return to her strengths as a police procedural with an intriguing and believable plot. Although much of the action takes place in Oxford and Croatia, Karen Pirie is based in Scotland and I enjoyed seeing McDermid return to her roots (which she also did very successfully recently in her take on Austen's Northanger Abbey.) Karen is a likeable detective - neither drunken nor angst-ridden, she is in a stable supportive relationship with a man she loves, and seems to get on well with her colleagues, all of which is nicely refreshing.

As the investigation advances, Karen contacts an Oxford University professor, Maggie Blake, who was involved in a scheme to bring 'underground universities' to Croatia just before the war began. While there, Maggie had fallen in love with a Croatian army officer, so stayed on once the war began.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars very disappointing 2 Oct 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have read all of Val McDermid's books but from the outset I knew I would find it difficult to get into this one. I persevered in the hope that at some point I would become gripped by the storyline, to no avail. The ending was abrupt, maybe this story is to continue into a series with a new lead character but I doubt I shall read more of this author's books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ok but not up to her usual standard 30 Sep 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It took the first third to get going. Gripping in places but not up to her usual standard unfortunately. Shame as I was really looking forward to it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another fantastic book from Val McDerid 17 Oct 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved the characters in this book. When I realized that the Balkans were going to be important to the plot it almost put me off because I know I don't know enough about the conflict but glad I continued because it spelled if out in a way that even I understood
The only disappointment was that I guessed the baddy early on in the plot. But still enjoyed it enormous my.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent until the last chapter 2 Oct 2014
Good beginning, intriguing middle, ho-hum almost domestic and certainly melodramatic ending. Apposite as the trial of Karadzic is coming to a conclusion in The Hague but this tale of a (re)vengeful serial killer is not plausibly explained nor realised, though this is fiction and any logic needs to be twisted for the sake of entertainment. The last bit involving Pirie's partner is just unnecessary.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Lady Fancifull TOP 500 REVIEWER
I had mixed reactions to Val McDermid's cleverly titled novel, a murder investigation which leads to exploring the deep issues within global conflict, and how love, in its widest reaches, and revenge, are not by any means in opposition to each other, but bedfellows.

Karen Pirie, a remarkably and satisfyingly well-functioning DCI, (not a dysfunctional `maverick'!) who heads up the `Cold Cases' Unit is investigating a dead body found in a rather surprising location. The case leads her to a meeting with Maggie Blake, an Oxford professor of geopolitics. Blake was involved in underground liberal/radical feminist education programmes, and war relief programmes in Croatia, during the Serbo-Croat and wider war taking place after the break-up of Yugoslavia.

Pirie and Blake are both strong, extremely likeable, plausible intelligent complex women, well-functioning, both have strong friendships, and either have, or had, good supportive relationships with their respective other halves. Neither are dysfunctional.

Meanwhile, during the wind-up of the war crimes investigations unit, a couple of lawyers are involved in another enquiry, as their brisk and dynamic new broom of a boss tries to uncover the reason why so many war criminals, with lengthy cases prepared against them, appear to meet underground rough justice and be offed before the slow legal wheels bring them to trial

The narrative effectively unfolds in 4 voices, and the book constantly cuts between them Blake has a third person voice in the present, though her history throughout the 90s is a first person narrative. It took me a little time to work out what was going on here, and why.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
as usual Val Mc came up with a good read.this was a slow start hence 4 stars.roll on next book.
Published 9 hours ago by sam
3.0 out of 5 stars a bit rambling, not a page turner. I did not really care what happened...
not as enjoyable as her thrillers. bring back Tony and Carol please!
Published 16 hours ago by jill richmond
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I love her writing!
Published 2 days ago by frances vig
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Got the killer half way through- but having worked through genocide in former Yugoslavia, was enthralled.
Published 10 days ago by Susan Donald
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really enjoyed the read.
Published 10 days ago by Joe Dolan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Best yet!
Published 11 days ago by greenbear
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm used to good fiction from Val McDermid and to be treated to ...
Not as enjoyable as other books by this author. I'm used to good fiction from Val McDermid and to be treated to a recent history lesson was not what I required.
Published 13 days ago by Treacle
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not as punchy as her previous stuff, but always enjoyable
Published 14 days ago by Mrs sally s Thompson
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very good indeed, but a complicated story.
Published 15 days ago by Sheila Caldwell
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and educating
It’s not often that reading a fictional novel inspires me to read some non-fiction but Val McDermid’s latest did just that. Read more
Published 17 days ago by angelao
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