In Bob Skinner’s 20th (Fatal Last Words, 2009, etc.), Scotland’s top cop takes on Scotland’s top crook.
Retired at last, Jimmy Proud has gone a’golfing. (Hey, it’s Scotland.) At the top of the ladder now, Skinner, Edinburgh’s newest Chief Constable, is also at the top of his game, though there are days when his 50-year-old body begs to differ. Or so he says. The truth is that the man is pure intimidation whenever he wants to be, whether he’s dealing with one of the bent or one of his own. The exception, of course, remains his beautiful, brainy, willful daughter Alexis, who’s much more likely to scare Skinner than the other way around. Now that Alex has made partner in a big-time Edinburgh law firm, father and daughter suddenly find themselves in intersecting orbits. Tommy Zale, a client of Alex’s firm, is discovered dead, an apparent suicide. Skinner is skeptical. To begin with, tough Tommy just isn’t the type. Besides, that trusty cop’s nose has picked up a whiff of something messy, something Skinner wants Alex to have no part of. Reluctantly, she backs off, leaving him free to cope with a villain so devious, resourceful and ruthless that he’s unsettlingly recognizable—as the mirror image of a Skinner gone bad.
Skinner, terrific fun as always, can’t quite redeem a procedural nearly 400 pages long with a tendency to plod.