I rate this book a great 4 stars!

What can I say about Val McDermid‘s wonderful mastery of writing!

DCI Karen Pirie investigates the discovery of a skeleton on the roof of a building, an historical case that takes her to Europe to find answers with unexpected connections to the Croatian military.

This is an intricate book that moves back and forwards in time with flashbacks to the Balkan conflict in Croatia and Serbia in the 90s.

I remember the conflict and the atrocities which were on the news but not much historical details and am grateful for the serious reminder within this novel.

‘Hero’ is a word that has many meanings in different cultures and McDermid uses this to make the moral tenet less certain with the way the story unfolds. Mitja, who was a general in Croatia has been missing for 8 years and his lover Maggie, a feminist geo-political Professor in Oxford does not want to believe he is behind the revenge killings of war criminals.

What I especially liked:

I love how as readers, we get so involved in Karen’s life and want to follow her more. There are some really great characters in the book and I especially love the duo Alan Macanespie and Theo Proctor who have all but given up on life until they get a new boss.

The parts that made the book special for me were the intense flashbacks which brought the younger selves of the characters alive giving a real depth of personal history and also enhancing the murder mystery.

Left me with a lot of thought did this book! 


Many thanks to the Publisher for a copy of this book via NetGalley for my honest review.

  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group UK
  • Published September 11th 2014
  • ISBN 1408704579 (ISBN13: 9781408704578)
  • Price: £18.99 
  • EditionHardcover
  • Hardcover, 464 pages