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4.1 out of 5 stars95
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 6 June 2012
I reviewed 'Where the Bodies Are Buried' last year, ending with "more please...and soon!" And finally, here it is. For me, this next instalment didn't disappoint - the mark of a great book for me is in its ability to keep me reading without wanting a break, and I can usually count on a Brookmyre for that. In fact this book kept me engrossed all over the Bank Holiday weekend, which conveniently saved me from having to get involved in any Jubilee celebrations - thank you for the excellent timing Mr. Brookmyre/Amazon (but that's another story!)

Back to the book and the overall style...it's certainly true that the pace of these last two novels has been far less frenzied, with little trace of the surreal humour, sweary political rants and crazy bouts of violence that we've come to expect from Brookmyre, and if you didn't enjoy 'Where the Bodies Are Buried' then I doubt this will convert you - it's definitely more of the same. But that's what I personally liked about it. The humour is understated but still crackles throughout, plus Brookmyre slowed down means a full injection of dark, well-crafted descriptions and dialogue that doesn't detract from the story, so I found more depth in this than in some of his previous novels. Jasmine Sharp and Catherine McLeod are fantastically drawn characters; the one thing Brookmyre always manages to keep consistent with his writing (in my opinion, at least!) is his ability to create real people that live and breathe almost independently from the pages. His characters - even the minor ones in most cases - always keep me hooked. So while I do agree with the other reviewers in that the Jasmine Sharp/Glen Fallan relationship seemed a little bit underplayed in this book, for me this was done realistically and with a simmering undercurrent that suggests a lot more action and development to come. Ditto Catherine McLeod and her home life, and of course in the two characters' paths crossing on various cases. There is so much potential here and I'm really looking forward to reading more about both of these characters in future books.

And so to the plot of this particular book, which was elaborate without being overly complicated or hard to follow, launching me in all kinds of different directions as I read. The final denouement left me with a few tears pricking my eyes and a real longing to read the next instalment, and as a reader I can't ask for much more than that, can I?
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This novel is the second featuring PI Jasmine Sharp and Detective Superintendent Catherine McLeod, the first being Where the Bodies are Buried. Jasmine Sharp has been asked to track down a missing person, which is quite common in her line of work. Alice Petrie is dying and wants to get in touch with the younger sister she lost touch with, actress Tess Garrion. As we know from the previous book, Jasmine wanted to be an actress herself, before inheriting her Uncle Jim's business, so she is interested in the case. She becomes more interested when she discovers that Tessa Garrion dropped out of existence shorting after working with Hamish Queen's fledgling theatre company. What happened in 1981 which meant that the company split up and all traces of Tessa vanished? Jasmine joins up with Glen Fallen to unmask a killer from a theatrical cast who include a headteacher, the head of Scottish tv drama, a horror film director, a theatre director and a minister amongst their number.

Meanwhile, Catherine McLeod is called to a corporate hospitality event, where someone linked to Jasmine's case is shot. Sir Angus McCready was hosting a Shakespeare play at his castle, when one of the guests is felled during a photoshoot. Jasmine, though, may be one step ahead - and closer to danger, as she unmasks old secrets. I really like this series, which has great characters and fantastic twists to the plot; as well as a lot of funny one liners. The next book is Flesh Wounds, which I am really looking forward to.
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on 29 July 2012
Chris Brookmyre's second 'serious' crime novel sees the returns of private investigator Jasmine Sharp, hunting for a missing person, and police detective Catherine McLeod, investigating the death of a leading figure in the arts world.

It's another fun-filled read littered with twists and turns in the plot as each of the investigators works through their clues. Jasmine has grown since her last appearance and as a character steals the show, while Catherine's appearance seems a little weaker and is perhaps slightly more of a supporting act.

There are still a few comic moments that remind of Brookmyre's previous run of thirteen humorous crime novels, but they are fewer than in the previous book and it gives the impression that he is trying to gradually distance his writing from this and transition into more serious storytelling. As a result I didn't find I enjoyed this story quite as much as Where the Bodies are Buried.

Overall though I was won over by the genius of the plot and Brookmyre's talent for misdirection. There was one thing that I thought fairly obvious throughout and was disappointed to find it wasn't a red herring, but plenty more had me baffled. I remain a Brookmyre fan.
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on 9 December 2012
A continuation of the characters in his last book with Jasmine being the lead and Catherine being mostly irrelevant to the story. It's a perfectly good read but I don't read Chris Brookmyre for "perfectly good reads", I want something a little more surprising which this wasn't. I'll continue to read his books (which says something I guess) but without the level of expectation I used to have.
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on 31 July 2013
This is the second of Brookmyre's forays into a traditional style thriller following on from 'Where the bodies are buried'. I have not read the first one, but, as usual with his books, continuity does not really matter and he subtly fills in the gaps from the previous novel.
The characters are well drawn out as you would expect from Brookmyre and the story is clever and original. While it does not have his obvious fingerprints all over it, unlike his more usual style books, it still has a the level of class and sophistication of an accomplished writer.
Great read and Jasmine is a great character, but i must confess that I'd rather see more of Angelique and Jack.
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on 22 July 2012
I'm a big brookmyre fan and have read pretty much everything I can get my grubby little mits on. This book kept me engaged and happy while I was reading it but unlike most of his other books I forgot the plot almost instantly upon finishing it.
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on 9 July 2012
I have mainly enjoyed Brookmyre's work over the years. His early works usually went way over the top, but there was always humour, some great dialogue and some memorable characters. "When the Devil drives" is his second novel as "Chris" Brookmyre and he appears to be trying to lose all traces of his past. As a result, he underplays everything, there is no humour, there is desperately stilted dialogue and the characters are completely forgettable. I would have read an early Brookmyre in one sitting. This one took me a full week, and every time I picked up the book, I had genuinely forgotten who the characters were. Not a single one of them leaps off the page and I have terrible difficulty trying to visualise his mousy little heroine, Jasmine. The plot is all over the place. There is one interesting little twist, which is more Agatha Christie than Brookmyre, but,other than that, the book is absolutely forgettable. I do hope his publishers encourage him to return to the old style that made him such a vivid and imaginative writer.
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on 2 August 2012
I've read them all. Usually put Christopher (Chris) Brookmyre on pre-order and get the hard back but I've got the Kindle now.

His early books were hilarious. Occasionally I'd need to add a warning with the recommendation to friends about lengthy "scene building" sections with "but it's worth it to get to the ending".

His first book with Jasmine was excellent a good new line for him with a strong character and good story. I won't be recommending his second. There have been lengthy chunks of wittering, boring "thoughts" of characters. There have been too many characters - not one sleuthing female but two with the dose of background family "scene setting" with the secondary one as well just to help us understand how she "solved" it.

There are also so many Shakespearean references which the author assumes every reader should understand that it comes across as arrogant and patronising. I'm a mature well educated reader looking for a good murder mystery/thriller and not a literary works to further my education.

I'm 95% of the way to the end when I should be racing to the finale and I'm off for my shower as he is now developing the baddy's relationship with another character. Sorry but for me this breaks the tension that I need in a thriller - no this is not.

Sorry, Chris, I've been with you all the way but perhaps you should stop racing to fire out the holiday read each year and wait till you have a good one. I'll wait next time till the price drops - if I bother at all.
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on 22 May 2015
The first hundred pages are dull. It really is a slow read and I found myself not reading my usual 100 pages a day but 5 to 10 at a time as it was such hard and dull work. If you have trouble sleeping then read this book in bed. For such an excellent story telling talent this was a let down. Brookmyre should stay well away from any similar attempts at this type of crime thriller least he damage his hard earned and worthy reputation. He has ventured into this arena before but those books had the necessary humour and were faster paced. This book is bogged down with not going anywhere fast detail which also lacks in humour. I know a thing or two about the detail as I have spent 28 years in the police with most of it as a homicide detective. I am not being technically picky either as this is a work of fiction, real life detective work is even more painstaking at times. 240 pages in I decided to surrender and put the book on the charity shelf of my local Sainsbury's for some poor soul to put 50p in the charity box, perhaps thinking they had got a real gem by Brookmyre. Funny enough the same book was returned about two weeks later. That could have been charitable again by the new reader after a stonking great read in their opinion or that person had also had enough and given up on it. Different books appeal to different people of course. I really like Brookmyres style and have read most of his stuff. This book is absolute pants by his standards. Go to my local Sainsburys charity shelf and get a 2 for 1 offer, this book and get a good nights sleep. Cliff zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
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on 25 June 2012
I can't understand why people have to dissect the change of style in Chris Brookmyre's book 'When the Devil Drives'.I've read all of his works and enjoyed every one of them albeit some more than others. I thought the old format and characters were getting a little bit tired so, for me, branching out in another direction is welcome relief. I just hope he does not pursue the Jasmine/Catherine line too far as it will also get tired I feel.

I just think he writes really well, the stories are nicely plotted and they are quite simply a 'good read'. I don't ask for more than that!

My only criticism of the current novel was the need he obviously felt to remind his regular readers or, more probably, bring up to date the new ones by the constant referrals to what happened in 'Where the bodies were buried'. It all felt a bit contrived and 'clunky' to me akin to what happens on 'Location, Location' or 'a House in the Country' where you get reminded of the synopsis after every advert!

Thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless and I'm already looking forward to the next
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