The Skeleton Road

The Skeleton Road

Book - 2014
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A thrilling new stand-alone novel from one of the world's most celebrated crime writers proves that the past can never be hidden...

Val McDermid is the queen of psychological suspense and the #1 best-selling author of The Retribution, Cross and Burn and The Vanishing Point , among many others. Her newest masterpiece of suspense begins in present-day Edinburgh with the discovery of a skeleton in an apparently inaccessible Gothic pinnacle on a derelict school. Cold-case detective Karen Pirie is called in when investigations reveal this is no recent death. The stakes rise when unexpected connections to the Balkan wars are uncovered. When evil has no borders and the past refuses to stay in the past, everyone involved is placed into new and unforeseen danger.

Told with Val McDermid's signature brilliance and panache, The Skeleton Road is sure to have readers on the edge of their seats and glued to the pages long into the night.

Publisher: Toronto : HarperCollinsPublishersLtd, c2014.
Edition: 1st Canadian ed.
ISBN: 9781443431293
Branch Call Number: FICTION MCD
Characteristics: 406 p. ; 24 cm.


From the critics

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Jan 08, 2019

The third book in the Karen Pirie series. I always enjoy a Val McDermid mystery, but I prefer books that do not involve espionage and political intrigue. Mild recommendation. Kristi & Abby Tabby

Oct 31, 2018

McDermid presents this intriguing mystery primarily through the eyes of three characters - each an interesting, multi-faceted personality. At the heart of the plot is reverberations from the tragic ethnic conflict in Bosnia into the present. The quality of the writing is outstanding.

Jun 01, 2016

I wish I knew more about the history of the Balkan conflicts...that really would have enriched my experience reading this novel, but I enjoy reading Val McDermid so I guess that's really a secondary point. I am not a great reader of crime/mysery fiction, but I like Val McDermid because with her, you always get good solid characters, and a logical process of investigation and resolution. This may not have been her best, or most stand-out book, but I am happy with it. Satisfying and well-executed.

Feb 04, 2016

This was one of the most depressing novels I have ever read! There were numerous times I almost gave up on it. One of the reasons I kept reading was to find out more about the history of the conflicts in the Balkans (of which I was sadly ignorant). To be honest, I would have been better off reading a non-fiction book to find out that information. I thought this novel portrays only the worst of humankind. Depressing, depressing, and depressing.

The actual murder investigation was entirely predictable. I knew with certainty who the murderer was very early in the story. I only needed to find out the "why". I will acknowledge that Val McDermid writes well technically - perhaps one day I will try another of her stories to give them a second chance.

Mar 02, 2015

Not your typical McDermid offering which may disappoint some. Writing more low key and character-driven. Good to see a favourite author evolving. Definitely not same old. Interesting..........

Feb 24, 2015

I didn't enjoy this nearly as much as I've enjoyed her novels about Tony Hill the psychologist. This had an interesting plot, but for me it wasn't a real page-turner.

Jan 25, 2015

The Skeleton Road is an impressive read. I learned a great deal along the way with all the ins and outs between detecting,spooks, diplomacy and academia from Scotland to Eastern Europe via Oxford and back.Fascinating.

Dec 16, 2014

May want to review A darker domain-first Pirie novel by McDermid


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May 17, 2016

McDermid seems to reserve her best writing for the Tony Hill series of detective profiling books. She's capable of intricate sentences that control the pace of reading, and deeply felt, thrilling plots.

Not so with her other series and one-off books (although a few are excellent).

Skeleton Road could be described as a lazy effort. There is little plot here, and lots and lots of ponderous exposition through unconvincing dialog. The reader is told what to think. There is little narration, character development, or situations that support the themes.

The historic Serbo-Croatian conflict is given short shrift here, treated as a shallow background that's almost unnecessary since the killer could have done it out of jealousy. Too bad because I suspect something deeper could have been written if McDermid had made more of an effort.

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