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by Paul Johnston
Minotaur Books, August 2000
304 pages
ISBN: 0312202806

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

New Year's Eve, Hogmany, 2021. The beginning of the second year after the reorganization of Edinburgh following the events in the first book in this series Body Politic. Roddie Aitken comes to Quintillian Dalyrymple to ask for his help. He's being followed by a strange cloaked hooded creature, and the guard won't help. Quint agrees to look into the situation, but before he can do anything, the young man is found horribly butchered and with a blues tape crammed into his mouth.

The city-state of Edinburgh is in a worse way than before. Tourism, it's only industry, is down because of the flu in the Far East and the missiles Russia send into the middle east during 2021. The citizen curfew means that there is no electricity or heat in citizen dwellings during the night, and many citizens are hungry most of the time. Quint and Davie, his guard buddy, are asked by the current council to try and solve the crime. A series of murders ensue, including that of a former guardian who lives in the same old age home as Quint's father. All clues lead to "The Bone Yard" and Quint must find what and where this is before he can solve the crimes.

In the first book, Johnson set up a world in which our political divisions no longer exist; Glasgow is a free city, Edinburgh is a highly regimented society, England is in chaos. By changing the parameters just slightly, he has set up a whole new playing field. The Daily Telegraph's comment "A sly satire and gruesome thriller" sums it up perfectly.

This is a review of the UK paperback , published in 1999.

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, February 2002

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