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on 16 March 2004
I really like all of KB's novels, they have this characteristic ironic tone about them, as it is recounted in first person. Also, without going into much gory details, I find the crime writing suspenseful and entertaining. It also balances well character development and storyline, making for a very satisfying read.
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VINE VOICEon 24 June 2000
Val McDermid started off by writing five schoolgirl mysteries, the "Lindsay Duncan" series. She then wrote five Kate Brannigan books before joining the big league with her mature works beginning with "The Mermaid's Singing". The Brannigan books are very satisfying light mysteries set in a working-class England that rings very true to one who experienced it first hand. I recommend buying all five Brannigan books, then reading then in chronological order starting with "Dead Beat". By the time to finish the five, you'll wish that Ms McDermid had written more of them.
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on 28 June 1999
Crackdown was the first novel I read by Val Mcdermid and it was brilliant. Kate Brannigan is certanly one of the best female private investigators every created, and I look forward to reading more novels featuring her.
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on 28 February 2016
Kate Brannigan is back, and this time it's personal!

This was the third outing for Kate Brannigan who works as a private detective, and is junior partner in the firm of Mortensen and Brannigan, specialising in investigating 'white collar crime' in the Greater Manchester area in the 1990s. The novel opens with Kate and her boyfriend Richard posing as a married couple seeking to buy a smart new sports car in a bid to uncover an internal scam being run by the network of dealerships. Everything seems to be going smoothly, and they collect the car a couple of days later. That is where things start to go wrong.

Although they are supposed to return the car, Richard, a rock journalist, decides to drive it to a concert he has to report on. Almost predictably, the car is stolen outside the venue. However, a couple of nights later, attending another gig in a different part of Manchester, Richard spots the car parked up, and, still having the keys with him, he decides to repossess it. He is stopped by traffic police a few minutes later, and as they find a package containing two kilos of crack in the boot, he is arrested and the police want to throw away the key. Brannigan is left to try to discover the truth.

Like the other Kate Brannigan books, this is a gripping and cleverly constructed story. Kate Brannigan is a very engaging, empathetic and plausible character and narrates with a wry humour. The action is fast-paced, with Kate mixing with a variety of characters from the seamier side of life. Val McDermid's later novels became known for their goriness, with victims suffering acts of macabre violence. Those books, including the series featuring Carol Jordan and Tony Hill proved very successful, and the violence never seemed gratuitous. The Kate Brannigan novels, however, don't go down that route. There are certainly some extremely unwholesome characters, but their crimes remain relatively conventional. A very entertaining and well-weriiten story.
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on 9 September 2000
Brannigan at her best! Set in Manchester, UK Kate Brannigan Private Investigator deals with a case close to home. A number of the well defined characters from other Brannigan novels appear together with a new set of opponents. The story line is very close to the true events regularly reported in the papers, shootings and drug dealings, but with a twist!
Good novel to read during a weekend. Read it quickly and the pace will catch you.
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on 23 August 2013
Once again, Val McDermid has succeeded with an exciting, edge of your seat thriller, which is laced with humour all the way through.

Very entertainig and easy to read into the night, because it's impossible to put down!

My only regret is that I have only a few of Val's titles left to read now!
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on 11 January 2014
Best read in the right side but even so it didn't matter! Having read all five I have enjoyed them all & would recommend them. They keep you guessing as to who dun it but it all comes together in the end.
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on 3 March 2014
Val McDermid does it again.10/10, a well crafted story with believable characters. I highly recommend the Kate Brannigan series. M
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on 27 February 2013
This is much better A good storyline and kept me interested to the end Would recommend this book to friends
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on 23 April 2006
I can't believe this book was written by Val McDermid. I've read four of her novels so far - The Mermaids Killing, The Wire In The Blood, The Torment Of Others and The Distant Echo - all of which I thought were brilliantly written and full of suspense.

But Crack Down seems to be missing everything I so loved about Val's other books. It is... well, boring. Not much is happening at all throughout the entire book. Yes, there are lots of little jokes, most of them in a sarcastic manner which is entertaining at times but that's about it, everything else is just boring.

PI Kate Brannigan chases after the bad guys who are responsible for her boyfriend Richard being in prison for handling drugs. Surprisingly, those so-called bad guys play a rather minor role in the book, as does Richard himself. Kate keeps chasing those (very, very dangerous it says in the book) drug lords at a quite leisurly speed so it's a miracle she always catches up with them exactly when the big deals happen.

As a matter of fact, everything seems to fall into place automatically for her. Of course she's never in any danger herself because the criminals don't even notice her driving behind them for hours on end on the motorway and through the cities and don't ever catch on when she gathers bags of evidence against them.

The characters in this book are so uninteresting, I virtually had to force myself to finish it at all. Honestly, I couldn't care less about the whole thing.

Yawn...

In my opinion - no matter how much I enjoyed her other novels - Val has done a poor job with this book. And her character, Kate Brannigan, does nothing for me at all. I certainly won't read any other books from the Brannigan series.

I can't believe this book has come from Val McDermid!

Save your money - don't buy this. Or borrow it from the library if you must.

A great book by Val which I can't recommend enough, is The Distand Echo - now that's a brilliant novel with a good story and interesting characters, a book which is full of suspense and twists right to the end...!
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