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


((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.