For whatever reason, I am not reading this series in its chronological order. Usually, not my style, but this fantastic crime novel was absolutely worth it breaking with my habits. The fascination Val McDermid brings with her writing style and her crime novels are fascinating. Don´t ask me WHY that is. The author has a way that catches you no matter if you want it or not.

The Skeleton Road
by Val McDermid
Inspector Karen Pirie #3
Publisher Little Brown on September 11, 2014
Genre Crime
Pages 406
Format Hardcover

When a skeleton is discovered hidden at the top of a crumbling, gothic building in Edinburgh, Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie is faced with the unenviable task of identifying the bones. As Karen´s investigation gathers momentum, she is drawn deeper into a dark world of intrigue and betrayal. Meanwhile, someone is taking the law into their own hands in the name of justice and revenge – but when present resentment collides with secrets of the past, the truth is more shocking than anyone could have imagined …  
Karen Pirie has to investigate the finding of a skeleton, that was found in a building in Edinburg. She has no idea where to start, but her instincts show her that something is very wrong. And that someone has started a revenge trip, leaving a trail behind.

In this crime novel comes a war into the game, which left many scars and even more dead. Val McDermid uses a clear but powerful language her writing is simple but effective and she has a brilliant way to get the reader into the pages. This crime novel is very haunting, full of great dialogues and scenes and shows a psychological finesse which is extraordinary. There is no word wrong placed, no line too much, or something missing at all. From the first till the last line your captivated and every page brings something new, something that makes it even more captivating and thrilling. 

The Balkan Wars brought, like every war, a lot of pain, loss, cruelty, and other crimes to the people. But when a man gets to know, that he is the reason innocent people had to die and he does what he has to do, it becomes even worse. All those feelings, the hate, the absurdity, and the incredible rage and wrath when a country has to learn that those, who were responsible for that war weren’t to be punished or lived a life with special treatment in prison after all that horrible things they´ve done I only know from the perspective of a few people I know for real in life. And from what I could hear in the news. But to read about it, to see some real historical facts brought into a crime novel that is part fiction and part real – that was incredibly amazing to read. Yes, I have the distance a reader has who had never to experience the cruelty of war (and hopefully never will!) but that doesn´t change the fact that Val McDermid has used it as a great plot. 

The author writes with style, grace and shows the horror of that war as well as the horror it still brings to the people even after all those years. And what it looks like when someone uses that war as an excuse to do revenge for something that had actually nothing to do with that war at all.

No matter what kind of character the author brings into her story, they all have one in common: they convince without question. There is a depth in some of them, a dark side, and don´t dare to hurt them – it won´t become you. 

Prof. Maggie Blake was left by the love of her life without a warning from one second to the other. But she never gave up the hope that he´ll come back one day. When she has to learn the truth, she´s devastated and as well relieved. But when she gets to know that the person who was responsible for his death, and that she trusted that person with her life, something makes click inside her. Believe me; you will feel the chill running down your spine the moment she gets the important fact about the murderer.

Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie is very good at what she does. Even when her boss thinks otherwise about that, but he´s got no proof to get her out of his office. She knows how to fight him, how to handle him and she knows exactly what to do, and when to do. But when some men start to interfere and ask her a lot of questions she gets pissed. She agrees with gritted teeth to work with them, but under her conditions and they´re not at all what those two men thought they´d have to deal with. Yes, she plays with them and is always one step ahead of their work. 

This crime novel is phenomenal good! The art of crime at its best and in a perfect performance presented to the reader - no doubt about that. For me a fantastic read! I am absolutely thrilled, shocked, and fascinated at the same time. That was one heck of a brilliant novel. So, one reason more, to publish my review about this crime novel here on my blog. 

Happy reading

Val McDermid
Val McDermid ©Thomas Duffé

Val McDermid is a No. 1 bestselling author whose novels have been translated into more than thirty languages and have sold over fifteen million copies. She has won many awards internationally, including the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year and the LA Times Book of the Year Award. She was inducted into ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame in 2009, was the recipient of the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger in 2010 and received the Lambda Literary Foundation Pioneer Award in 2011. In 2016, Val McDermid received the Outstanding Contribution of Crime Fiction Award at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. In 2017, she received the DIVA Literary Prize for Crime. She writes full time and divides her time between South Manchester and Edinburg where she lives with her partner and her son. 



  1. I so need to get into this series. I think I tried one ages ago, but never followed the series.

    1. Same here. I am fascinated by her style, but for whatever reason never followed the series. Will change *smile* Thanks for stopping by.


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