Reviews

A Tale Etched In Blood And Hard Black Pencil, by Christopher Brookmyre

srah's review

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4.0

Not my favorite Brookmyre book, but good. There were a few too many characters (with multiple nicknames) so it made it a little tough to keep track of, but I loved the glimpse into 1980s Scottish school life.

jennayra's review

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dark funny mysterious

3.75

yowlyy's review

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5.0

I loved Brookmyre since I discovered the Jack Parlabane series. The language is amazing, funny and without bows and twirls, somehow grueseome too (but we love this, don't we?) peppered with Scottish expressions and all the way through full of the typical Scottish wit, so fun! Loved the story told jumping back and forth in time, a more true picture of what happened at school back in the 70s and early 80s I can tell, teachers and pupils altogether. Thanks so much for the brief glossary at the end of the book: it helped me to identify some Scottish expressions that were very much cryptic to someone whose mother tongue is not English, so thanks! and yes...I am already looking to add to my TBR list more of this author.

canadianbookworm's review

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4.0

This was a new author for me, and I really enjoyed it. The principal characters in the tale are from a town outside Glasgow, Braeside. As the story begins, two men are working at getting rid of two bodies. Unfortunately, they are not very successful. When the bodies are soon discovered, the men are immediately linked to them. This is where the complications start.
Karen Gillespie, the local Detective Superintendent, has only recently returned to Braeside. It turns out one of the dead men was a classmate of her, Colin Temple. The two men suspected of being involved are two more classmates, known as Noodsy and Turbo.
From here on the book moves back and forth between the investigation and the classmates school experiences. This is a very interesting way of having us learn about the people involved and gradually come to realize all the different relationships and loyalties. This is also how we come to know the real names of Noodsy and Turbo as we learn the circumstances of the granting of these nicknames. There is much humour here, right from the first page, and the author provides a glossary at the end for some of the Scottish slang terms used by the characters. I loved it.

alexclare's review

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4.0

Good, dark fun

wendleness's review

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5.0

((School kids + growing up) x murder) ^ so many Scottish colloquialisms there was a glossary.

This book has such a simple premise, and that's just the kind of Brookmyre set-up that i love. It allows the flow and the details to really stand out and i get much more easily lost in the book. The only thing i struggled with was keeping track of all the characters
Spoiler(I mistook Martin and Colin for the same character for far too long; regardless of, you know, their names)
.

Brookmyre also starts this book with a chapter that is entirely dialogue. He's done a few chapters like this before and i really love it. Though it's quite a shock to get the the second chapter and discover the book is written in present tense, which is something Brookmyre has not done before. Once i got into a session of reading, i didn't notice the present tense at all, but every time i picked the book up to start reading some more, i'd have the same 'Woah, that's weird' reaction for a minute.

The book swaps between school days, going from primary all the way through until the end of secondary, and 'present day'. It's a swap that flows easily, with names and nicknames evolving and keeping the divide easy to spot.

Brookmyre books usually leave me thinking in a Scottish accent for a day or two, but this one was packed SO full of Scottish slang, i don't know how long it will last. Just today i've used the phrase 'fucking yes', and the word 'greet' out loud.

I stated myself that the premise of the book is a simple one, and that i liked that, which i do. But i also think i was expecting a little more from the ending. I don't know whether to blame myself for having that expectation, or Brookmyre for having previously given me that expectation. But whatever, it's still five stars.
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