Does Scotland have a vicious serial killer on its hands? And where’s Big Bob Skinner when you need him?
Two talented young female painters have been done away with using identical MOs. Normally, DCC Bob Skinner, mainstay of this durable, highly readable series (Dead and Buried, 2006, etc.) would be all over such a headline-popping pair of crimes, throwing his considerable weight around and, like Henry V at Agincourt, rousing his troops to a do-or-die effort. But today his door is closed and his office empty—and the media is left clamoring. All to no avail, for the master sleuth is swanning about in the States, conducting lectures on crimes he’s cracked, writing learned articles and courting the sexy, redoubtable Aileen de Marco, Scotland’s minister of justice. So busy is Big Bob on the periphery that he doesn’t put in an appearance where he’s most needed until more than 250 pages are gone. As if to make up for lost time, he swashbuckles like crazy from that point forward, taking on MI5, the CIA and everything else in his path, including a rich, powerful tycoon, father to one of the murder victims, who in his own nasty way turns out to be almost a match for Big Bob.
Fans will make do, though it’s not nice to keep them waiting so long for the hero to enter the fray.