Review: Hour of Darkness by Quintin Jardine (4/5)

Wednesday 7 May 2014

Quintin Jardine's new Bob Skinner novel sees the Edinburgh cop faced with a case that calls every part of his life into question.

The body of a murdered woman is found washed up on Cramond Island near the mouth of the River Forth. Days later detectives are called to a flat in Edinburgh; the kitchen is covered in blood, and the occupier is missing.

When the name of the woman from Cramond Island is revealed, it stirs unwelcome memories for those who knew her, Chief Constable Bob Skinner most of all.

Now based in Glasgow, he has no reason to become involved in the case. Yet he does, unwittingly setting in motion a course that leads him to the toughest choice of his life, putting him in the midst of a personal nightmare, both life-threatening and career changing.

One of the first authors I discovered many years ago when I first started reading crime fiction was Quintin Jardine. I read a few of his books but since then haven't read any. So when I saw this book on bookbridgr I thought now was as good a time as any to get reacquainted with this character! It takes a very talented author to consistently write a new book each year featuring the same character and keep the story both interesting and fresh. I can't speak for previous books but this is book number 24 and certainly held my interest throughout. Jardine as with all authors writing long series such as this has the trouble of satisfying previous readers by continuing Skinner's story but also introducing new readers to Skinner who might not have read a Jardine book before.

At the start of the book we are introduced to a new detective sergeant, 'Sauce' and we learn than the body of a woman mutilated by a ship's propellor was in fact stabbed six times in the chest beforehand but is unidentifiable. We then follow Bob Skinner who is in Spain with his ex-wife, pathologist Sarah Grace and they appear to be back together. I am intrigued to read previous books as it appears Skinner may be coming to the end of his career, there's talk of a promotion which would mean less work in the field and of him receiving and refusing a Knighthood. There are also huge developments regarding his personal life in the book especially towards the end of the book.

There is also a huge cast of characters, many of whom I liked and many of whom I wished I knew more about. Specifically Bob's extended family, for example his brother in law who at the start of the book was going after the same promotion as Skinner despite being considered by most to be his protege. Skinner's daughter however, a lawyer, is pushing her partner to go for the promotion over her father. Jardine is of course a master storyteller and a fantastic writer and this book was no different. I was kept guessing throughout the book which is always a bonus in crime fiction. The book is full of twists and turns which definitely kept me on my toes. Ultimately it has left me wanting to read previous Skinner books and this is something I will be trying to as soon as possible! Highly recommend this one.

Thanks to bookbridgr for the review copy

Buy Hour of Darkness from Amazon




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