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The second novel in the highly acclaimed Bob Skinner series from Scotland's Crime Master
Quintin Jardine was born once upon a time in the West - of Scotland rather than America, but still he grew to manhood as a massive Sergio Leone fan. On the way there he was educated, against his will, in Glasgow, where he ditched a token attempt to study law for more interesting careers in journalism, government propaganda, and political spin-doctoring. After a close call with the Brighton Bomb in 1984, he moved into the even riskier world of media relations consultancy, before realising that all along he had been training to become a crime writer. Now, forty novels later, he never looks back. Along the way he has created/acquired an extended family in Scotland and Spain. Everything he does is for them. He can be tracked down through his blog: http://quintinjardine.me
Edinburgh's Assistant Chief Constable Robert Skinner investigates an explosion that kills a man during the city's annual Festival of the Arts. A second murder points him in the direction of a team of terrorists whose agenda threatens Scotland's reputation. A solid follow-up to the promising Skinner's Rules (LJ 7/94).
As followers of the arts gather in Scotland's capital city at the end of the summer, so too does a well-organized gang of militant zealots intent on home rule. A bomb explodes in a tent near a shopping center; then an opera singer is murdered. In charge of the case is ranking copper, Robert Skinner, who was introduced in Skinner's Rules and remains a tough and resourceful Scot. While steadily ratcheting up the tension, Jardine provides a lot of annual Edinburgh Festival detail-the sites and the sounds, plays and performances, all of which have to be guarded more closely as the body count grows. Skinner's daughter falls for a mystery man, and his deputy falls for a mystery woman, even as the first clue to the terrorists' identity points to an American woman roaming the country, a killer in more ways than one. Although the identity of one murderer is ludicrously easy to spot, and the too-frequent sex scenes tend to feature such lines as ``he drank deeply from the well of her passion,'' Jardine offers spectacularly effective action scenes, and Skinner, while sometimes too hard-boiled to swallow, is an admirable hero. (Apr.)