Flesh Wounds by Chris Brookmyre
With Flesh Wounds, Brookmyre returns to the more emotionally nuanced Glasgow crime world of Where the Bodies are Buried and When the Devil Drives (signalled, ironically enough, by the use of the more familiar 'Chris' rather than the 'Christopher' linked to his darkly humorous earlier novels and recent computer-games SF title, Bedlam). Once again we're with actor-turned-private detective Jasmine Sharp, Glasgow-based Detective Superintendent Catherine McLeod and the wiry Glaswegian gangster in both their lives, Glen Fallan – now accused of shooting a criminal rival.
Brookmyre regularly flicks his strongly paced narrative between McLeod, who's initially pleased to have "one killer dead and another one dead to rights," and Sharp, who discovers that her late mother was "involved" with Fallan's alleged victim. There's still little love lost between the two women – McLeod at one point describes Sharp as a "real pain in my arse sometimes," – but this is a believable relationship between two very different women coming from very different directions. Flesh Wounds is a thrilling page-turner with real heart, a wry smile and an honest understanding of the price paid for violence; it's the work of an assured writer whose skill and maturity leave the reader genuinely satisfied. [Paul F Cockburn]