It’s been out for a few weeks now but I’d been holding onto  ‘When The Devil Drives’ by Chris Brookmyre to read on holiday.

There was a point where Brookmyre books, whilst still enjoyable, seemed to be passing by without making much of an impression. But of late (‘Pandaemonium’ excepted) things seem to have picked up and I’ve been finishing the books and thinking ‘that’s one of his best’.

And so it is again with WTDD, the second in his straight(-er) crime series featuring reluctant PI Jasmine Sharp, which could well be the best Brookmyre so far.

The plot picks where the events of the first book in the series ‘Where The Bodies are Buried’ left off. Jasmine has decided to continue running Sharp Investigations and her next big case arrives when a terminally ill woman asks her to find her long lost sister.

Jasmine’s investigations lead her to the murky past of a failed repertory theatre from the early 80s.  Whilst the venture never put on a production the principals from the company thrived in different ways after the event. But Jasmine’s investigations mean that the events of 30 years ago suddenly come back to haunt them – and everyone has something to lose.

Quite often, for me, writers can often set up complex and intriguing mysteries but crucially fail to deliver a satisfying denouement. WTDD however is compelling on every level.

As the events of 30 years ago are gradually unravelled, the different stages of the investigation lead Jasmine from one suspect to another. Everyone has their different motives yet at no point does this feel contrived.

Certainly there’s an amount of mis-direction going on (assume nothing!) but the way that the mystery is revealed to the reader at the same time as the characters is very satisfying.

A word of caution. Whilst I’d heartily recommend WTDD, I’d not recommend reading it until you’ve read ‘Where The Bodies Are Buried’. The main plot may be entirely separate from the plot of the former book but there are a good few spoilers for the first book in the secondary plot relating to Jasmine’s relationship with Glen Fallan.

Great stuff. Get it in your local bookshop or online.

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