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by Christopher Brookmyre
Little, Brown, June 2012
361 pages
17.99 GBP
ISBN: 1408703416

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

After the death of her Uncle Jim, Jasmine Sharp takes up the mantle of his private detective agency while remaining on retainer as a secret weapon for a group of ex-cops who look like ex-cops and use her to get close to criminals they can't get near. Once afternoon she takes a case that looks like easy money to find a woman, an aspiring actress, who's been missing since 1981. But almost immediately she realises someone's following her, her car is petrol-bombed and she turns to the only man she knows will be able to keep her safe, the man who killed her father.

Meanwhile, a leading patron of the arts is shot dead at an open air performance of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream in the grounds of a private castle in front of many prominent members of a Scottish bank. Detective Catherine McLeod is tasked with finding his killer and is led a merry dance through the world of hired assassins, theatre producers and wannabes, eventually ending up in the same place as Jasmine Sharp, back in the past to one night when a ritualistic killing became the shared secret of a doomed theatre company.

This is the follow-up to WHERE THE BODIES ARE BURIED, which was the first outing for this new Brookmyre cast, but this one is more confident in its narrative, being less concerned with introductions and backgrounds and more with scene setting and character growth. This harks back to past Brookmyre classics such as BE MY ENEMY and PANDAEMONIUM and his new male character, Glen Fallan, has the sheer vitality and grounding presence of his previous leading man, the wonderful Jack Parlabane.

WHEN THE DEVIL DRIVES showcases the author's trademark wit and masterful storytelling. The plot twists and turns as Brookmyre uses misdirection and an ocean's worth of red-herrings to take the reader on a joyful journey along with his characters with rarely a bump in the road. Even when they're being shot at, there's the feeling that everyone's having so much fun it would be worth the risk just to join in.

This book is entertaining and gripping, a summer blockbuster of a novel. Brookmyre is definitely back on form.

Madeleine Marsh is an aspiring writer who lives in South West England. She helps run sci-fi conventions and loves modern cinema.

Reviewed by Madeleine Marsh, May 2012

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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