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21 Reviews
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read
More often than not books and films with humorous undertones tend to get less critical acclaim. Unfairly, this also seems to be the case with Val McDermid's Lindsay Gordon and Kate Brannigan books. However, after reading the superb but very dark The Mermaids Singing, and the almost more gruelling The Wire in the Blood, fans must delighted in being able to return to...
Published on 28 Sep 1999

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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great story but a little too PC for some tastes
This Kate Branigan adventure rolls along at a fair old pace and is a great read from start to finish. Val McDermid may not be the greatest writer in the world. (Check out some of her early Branigan books - they read like the work of someone straight off a creative writing course) but she is undoubtedly an excellent storyteller and gets the reader turning those pages to...
Published on 17 Oct 2001


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 28 Sep 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Star Struck (Mass Market Paperback)
More often than not books and films with humorous undertones tend to get less critical acclaim. Unfairly, this also seems to be the case with Val McDermid's Lindsay Gordon and Kate Brannigan books. However, after reading the superb but very dark The Mermaids Singing, and the almost more gruelling The Wire in the Blood, fans must delighted in being able to return to the light relief of Star Struck. In Star Struck, having bought out her partner in the detective agency, Kate Brannigan has gone solo. Against her better judgement Kate agrees to become the bodyguard to Gloria Kendal, star of a television drama that has disturbing similarities to Coronation Street. Once on board, the Manchester PI gets to experience the day-to-day goings on of a television star, and also manages to clear up a spot of blackmail as well as apprehend a murderer. With Star Struck Val McDermid and Kate Brannigan have come along way. The author, having now tackled various genres of crime writing, has honed her ability to give a greater depth to the heroine she created in Dead Beat in 1992. The plotting is taught, the one-liners are funny and come fast and furious, and all the characters are three dimensional and believable. Regardless of which McDermid books you prefer, they inevitably are a great read.
Adrian Muller.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sharp, funny and right in touch with contemporary life, 19 Jun 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Star Struck (Mass Market Paperback)
Star Struck is a must for anyone who has ever watched a soap opera. McDermid takes us inside the world behind the scenes and is not at all star-struck at the antics of the cast of her ficitonal soap opera. The dialogue is, as always, very realistic and often very funny indeed. And there's a clever murder mystery worked out as well when the Seer to the Stars gets bumped off without seeing it coming.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 4 Oct 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Star Struck (Hardcover)
More often than not books and films with humorous undertones tend to get less critical acclaim. Unfairly, this also seems to be the case with Val McDermid's Lindsay Gordon and Kate Brannigan books. However, after reading the superb but very dark The Mermaids Singing, and the almost more gruelling The Wire in the Blood, fans must delighted in being able to return to the light relief of Star Struck. In Star Struck, having bought out her partner in the detective agency, Kate Brannigan has gone solo. Against her better judgement Kate agrees to become the bodyguard to Gloria Kendal, star of a television drama that has disturbing similarities to Coronation Street. Once on board, the Manchester PI gets to experience the day-to-day goings on of a television star, and also manages to clear up a spot of blackmail as well as apprehend a murderer. With Star Struck Val McDermid and Kate Brannigan have come along way. The author, having now tackled various genres of crime writing, has honed her ability to give a greater depth to the heroine she created in Dead Beat in 1992. The plotting is taught, the one-liners are funny and come fast and furious, and all the characters are three dimensional and believable. Regardless of which McDermid books you prefer, they inevitably are a great read.
Adrian Muller.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I devoured it in one sitting, and eagerly await the next., 17 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Star Struck (Hardcover)
Gloria Kendal alias Brenda Barrowclough larger than life star of the much loved soap opera 'Northerners' hires Kate Brannigan when she starts receiving threatening letters.
The sixth Kate Brannigan escapade takes into the fascinating world of soap opera both on and off the set. Body guarding is not high on Kate's list of priority jobs, but times aren't what they were.
Kate finds herself in the midst of temperamental stars, who set great store by an astrologer Dorothea Dawson, seer to the stars. With Dorothea turning up dead, her process server getting arrested, and her tame hacker finding 'virtual love' Kate has her hands full. For those of you long term fans of Kate Brannigan, if I tell you that her process server, is Shelley's son you probably get the picture.
This is a great fast moving, fun Kate Brannigan adventure, meeting old friends and making new ones. As always with Val's books, I devoured it in one sitting, and eagerly await the next. Please keep them coming Val, they just get better and better.
Lizzie Hayes 9th July 1999
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4.0 out of 5 stars More great Kate Brannigan action, 25 Jan 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Star Struck (Hardcover)
I love Val McDermid but would have to agree with one of the other reviewers who said this isn't her best. I love the plots - the use of a 'Coronation Street' type character set in Manchester is perfect - but get a little tired with her pre-occupation with her wardrobe. Long suffering boyfriend seems as unbelievable as ever but the characterisation no doubt suffers from Val's lack of interest in boyfriends. I like him but he's never been real. If you live or have lived in Manchester and like crime fiction, this and all her books are an absolute MUST BUY. After living up there for 11 years, Kate Brannigan books are an instant trip down memory lane. If you don't know the city, you can miss a lot of the subtleties of her writing
I bought from a bookshop first day out and didn't regret it but I'd echo other reviewers who've commented that her more psychological mysteries - the Mermaids Singing and Blood in the Wire - are 5 star works and its quite hard to believe they are written by the same person
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great story but a little too PC for some tastes, 17 Oct 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Star Struck (Mass Market Paperback)
This Kate Branigan adventure rolls along at a fair old pace and is a great read from start to finish. Val McDermid may not be the greatest writer in the world. (Check out some of her early Branigan books - they read like the work of someone straight off a creative writing course) but she is undoubtedly an excellent storyteller and gets the reader turning those pages to see what happens next. Her real ability is to produce a simple yet engaging plot that makes you want to keep going until you find out 'whodunit'.
Unfortunately what lets the whole book down (and the Kate Branigan series in general) is the relentless 'right on' attitudes shown by the author. There is never any danger of the reader being allowed to forget where Val McDermid' s political and social sensibilities lie. You just know that certain groups will always be seen as 'good' and others as 'bad'. So (most) women, lesbians, gays, those differently sexual (transsexuals/transvestites) and those from ethnic minorities will be noble, put upon, hard done by and exploited. Whilst virtually all men (especially those middle class and white) will inevitably be stupid, brutish and nasty.
The only exceptions being the nerdy men (such as boyfriend Richard and Computer expert 'Gizmo' who are tolerated by the never ending stream of clever, witty, brilliant women who inhabit the Branigan books. From Kate herself to her female friends such as the ace crime reporter; dazzling Police Chief Inspector and unbeatable Solicitor. All leaders in their field and who without doubt would be at the very top were it not for the aforementioned chauvinistic, bullying but ultimately useless middle class men in their respective professions keeping them down. Indeed one ongoing male Police Inspector is so unremittingly stupid and idiotic it is a wonder he keeps his job, little loan ever achieved his rank in the first place.
The ultimate irony of course being that McDermid is as prejudiced as those she clearly sets out to parody and ridicule. Which is a shame, because if you removed the bolted on PC stuff, the Branigan Books are really very good indeed So if you want to indulge in a little feminist/lesbian wish fulfilment, this is the book for you. Those wanting more realistic crime novels, try Ian Rankin's 'Rebus' series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and humorous novel, 7 Dec 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Star Struck (Hardcover)
It started off quite confusingly as I had not read a Brannigan mystery before, but I found it was all explained very quickly once I got into the novel. One of the things I liked about the novel was the humour. It is easy to write a novel that is just facts and action, relentless, harsh prose, but this was a short novel, full of black humour that actually made me laugh out loud. I also liked the way that although the novel was very short, Val McDermid had not skimped on anything. All the elements of a good story were there and there were no leaps in logic that an unknown reader would have found hard to follow. This is a good novel for beginners to the crime world and hardened readers.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant but not vintage Brannigan, 28 Nov 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Star Struck (Hardcover)
A fast read but definitely not one of the best Kate Brannigans. The plot is strangely dated, with a strong 1980's feel, unlike the other books in the series which are topical, even trend-setting. The humour, unusually for McDermid, is flat and even her famous one-liners rarely raised a smile.
If you're a fan - you'll enjoy it but if you're looking for a really good Brannigan try Crackdown or Kick Back both are far better books.
The Mermaid's Singing' - also by the same author which won the Cartier dagger was superb.
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5.0 out of 5 stars McDemid holds up the mirror - what we see makes me chuckle, 21 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Star Struck (Paperback)
If you want fiction firmly based in a real world with real people so much so that you believe you are getting the inside story on something that really happened, this is it! I hope these characters re-appear from time to time in other novels - they MUST be still hanging around the ether waiting their chance.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff as always, 15 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Star Struck (Kindle Edition)
Great book as always , good story another one of those you don't want to put down , really enjoy this authors work
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Star Struck
Star Struck by Val McDermid (Mass Market Paperback - 1 Dec 2003)
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