Cover image for The skeleton road
Title:
The skeleton road
Author:
McDermid, Val, author.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, [2014]
Physical Description:
406 pages ; 24 cm
Summary:
"In the center of historic Edinburgh, builders are preparing to convert a disused Victorian Gothic building into luxury flats. They are understandably surprised to find skeletal remains hidden in a high pinnacle that hasn't been touched by maintenance for years. But who do the bones belong to, and how did they get there? Could the eccentric British pastime of free climbing the outside of buildings play a role? Enter cold case detective Karen Pirie, who gets to work trying to establish the corpse's identity. And when it turns out that the bones may be from as far away as former Yugoslavia, Karen will need to dig deeper than she ever imagined into the tragic history of the Balkans: to war crimes and their consequences, and ultimately to the notion of what justice is and who serves it"--
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780802123091
Format :
Book

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FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
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FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
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Summary

Summary

Internationally best-selling crime writer Val McDermid is one of the most dependable professionals in the mystery and thriller business, whose acutely suspenseful, seamlessly plotted novels have riveted millions of readers worldwide. In The Skeleton Road , she delivers a gripping standalone novel about a cold case that links back to the Balkan Wars of the 1990s.

In the center of historic Edinburgh, builders are preparing to demolish a disused Victorian Gothic building. They are understandably surprised to find skeletal remains hidden in a high pinnacle that hasn't been touched by maintenance for years. Who do the bones belong to, and how did they get there? Could the eccentric British pastime of free climbing the outside of buildings play a role? Enter cold case detective Karen Pirie, who gets to work trying to establish the corpse's identity. And when it turns out the bones may be from as far away as former Yugoslavia, Karen will need to dig deeper than she ever imagined into the tragic history of the Balkans: to war crimes and their consequences, and ultimately to the notion of what justice is and who serves it.

The Skeleton Road is an edge-of-your-seat, unforgettable read from one of our finest crime writers.


Author Notes

Val McDermid was born in Scotland on June 4, 1955. She was the first student from a state school in Scotland accepted to read English at St Hilda's College, Oxford. She graduated in 1975 and became a journalist. She wrote her first novel at the age of 21. It didn't get published, but she turned it into a play entitled Like a Happy Ending. It was performed by the Plymouth Theatre Company and was later adapted for BBC radio. Her first book, Report for Murder, was published in 1987. She is the author of the Lindsay Gordon Mystery series, the Kate Brannigan Mystery series, and the Dr. Tony Hill and Carol Jordan Mysteries series as well as several stand alone books including The Distant Echo, A Darker Domain, Trick of the Dark and Out of Bounds. The Mermaids Singing won the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel of the Year.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* The Balkans conflict ended two decades ago, but war-crimes tribunals continue even now, a testament to the scale and barbarity of the atrocities committed; and more than a few novelists have mined the Balkans tragedy for compelling plotlines. McDermid is the latest. DCI Karen Pirie (A Darker Domain, 2008) catches a cold case when a skull is found in an Edinburgh building that has been unused for decades. Forensic wizardry identifies the decedent as Mitja Petrovic, a former general in the Croatian army and the significant other of Oxford professor Maggie Blake. They met and fell in love in Dubrovnik during the Serbian siege of the city. Blake is mystified: Mitja simply vanished from her life eight years before. Investigators for the International Court are also puzzled. They believed Mitja was responsible for the murders of 11 Serbians who were just about to be arrested for war crimes. But Mitja's been decomposing the whole time, and it's up to the determined DCI Pirie to unravel the mystery. The plot is nearly as complex as the Balkans' historical enmities, but McDermid makes it accessible by shifting focus among the brilliantly sketched primary characters. The Skeleton Road is beautifully written, deeply intelligent, carefully researched, and thoroughly compelling.--Gaughan, Thomas Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

The discovery of a man's skeleton atop an Edinburgh building slated for demolition kick-starts Diamond Dagger Award-winner McDermid's hit-or-miss follow-up to 2008's A Darker Domain. Det. Chief Insp. Karen Pirie identifies the remains as those of Gen. Dimitar "Mitja" Petrovic, an intelligence expert with ties to the Croatian army, NATO, and the U.N. Karen learns that he had lived for years with Oxford University professor Maggie Blake, who met the general during her time as an academic in Dubrovnik during the Balkan conflict. Maggie, who hasn't seen or heard from Mitja in eight years, always assumed that he returned to Croatia. The answers lie in the past, particularly the bloody Serb-Croat conflict in the 1990s, so it's inevitable that Karen and Maggie end up traveling to Croatia. McDermid does a fine job recreating the brutal Balkan years, but the characters lack depth, leaving readers yearning for the richness of her long-running Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series. Agent: Jane Gregory, Gregory & Company. (Dec.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

When a skeleton with a bullet hole in its skull is found in a parapet of an abandoned building in Edinburgh, the case is clearly in DC Karen Pirie's Historic Case Unit's jurisdiction. The body turns out to belong to a Croatian general who worked with the UN War Crimes Tribunal following the Balkan Wars in the 1990s. As a result, Pirie's investigation ranges from Edinburgh and Oxford to Dubrovnik and Sheviningen, and, as it turns out, she is not the only one following the trail or seeking justice for the dead. VERDICT The backdrop of the Balkan Wars result in some unexpected plot twists but also leads to a loftier examination of the morality of vengeance. However, Pirie's humor and tenacity balance the larger issues, introducing a crime novel that is both enjoyable and irresistible. [See Prepub Alert, 4/21/14.] Lisa O'Hara, Univ. of Manitoba Libs., Winnipeg (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.