May 7, 2013
Who'd have thunk English had so many variables.
I don't know whether it is an advantage that I've never read a Brookmyre novel before or
This was an interesting read; some parts grabbed me and some parts frustrated me. From the very beginning we are buried in murder and mayhem. There are two parallel stories going on at once, McLeod's and Sharp's. And Brookmyre seems to have a talent for connecting unlikely dots. There were a gazillion mysteries and none of them seemed to be related to each other, but in the end they were all woven together...and there is even a surprise ending. I had no idea it was coming, and I wanted to go back and reread just so I could find all the clues that were set out for me. However, I didn't because I have other books staring at me and calling my name.
There were parts of this book that were exciting, and moved at a pretty fast clip. However, there were parts that slowed down to a snail's pace and I had to force myself to continue reading. I liked both the main characters, although I thought the Jasmine character was a little young to be doing what she was doing. But then, she didn't do it very well, so maybe that was all right. The thing I liked about her was that she wasn't the most secure person around, which I found both irritating and fun. It was probably a good idea for Brookmyre to make her not quite so savvy when it came to being an investigator; which leaves a lot of room for development in future books.
The other character, Catherine McLeod, is more mature, more wise to the ways of the world, and made a great contrast to Jasmine. However, they didn't really meet until the last part of the book. I hope in future books, they are together more. I'd like to see how they play off of each other.
Now, on to getting lost in the book. When I watch foreign films I always watch with subtitles so I can understand what's being said. There were times in this book I wished I had subtitles to translate for me what just came out of some character's mouth. You see, this takes place in Scotland, so there were plenty of aboots, cannae, and ye ken's around. However, on top of the Scottish brogue is an abundance of what I can only assume is underworld Scottish slang, although the police were saying it too. The dialogue, while it added color/colour to the book, also slowed me down. I'm not saying the author should go back and change it to my kind of English, I'm just saying my brain had a hard time translating. There was also a wee matter of remembering who was who. I got lost trying to remember which background character did this and which did that, which one was a criminal and which was a cop, which one is a good cop and which was a bad cop, who is the head of what crime family, who is looking for whom...and they're all speaking Scottish or Scot-English or Scottish cant or English cant. I did have to chuckle a few times because I found myself getting frustrated with trying to keep track of all the talking people.
And, after that whine, I have to say for a crime story it was pretty good, I didn't figure out who it was...that might be because I couldn't keep track of everyone. And, I love the surprise at the end of the book. I will be reading the next in the series and hoping that the slang doesn't swallow me up. I am interested in following Jasmine and Catherine.
Time/Place: Present day Scotland