The Skeleton Road – Val McDermid

Published September 2014


The Queen of the psychological thriller returns with her latest chilling novel.

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 world of intrigue and betrayal, spanning the dark days of the Balkan Wars.

Karen’s search for answers brings her to a small village in Croatia, a place scarred by fear, where people have endured unspeakable acts of violence. 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 . . .

My thoughts

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for my copy of this remarkable book.

I’m a big fan of Val McDermid and her Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series. ‘The Skeleton Road’ is a standalone novel and is McDermid at her very best. The story follows Karen Pirie, in charge of cold cases in Scotland Police. A skeleton is found in Edinburgh on a roof top and this leads Pirie to Oxford and Croatia, in search of answers.

The book takes the reader on a journey to the dark days of the 1990s, when the former Yugoslavia was being torn apart and at war with itself. The atrocities were reported in the media. I think most of us who were around then were aware of the seriousness of the situation in Croatia, even if we found it complicated to follow. McDermid skillfully brings the siege of Dubrovnik to life and powerfully invites us to understand the pain and consequences of the massacres. I found it all very moving.

This is such an outstanding read. There is so much to this book, from murder and genocide, to jealousy and betrayal. This is one of those books that will stay with me for some time.

I really hope that Val McDermid decides to write another story featuring Karen Pirie.




About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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