When the Devil Drives


The second installment in Christopher Brookmyre’s new crime series, When the Devil Drives is an intensely gripping literary thriller that delves into the darkest reaches of the human psyche.

Actress turned private investigator Jasmine Sharp has become accustomed to clients looking for long-lost relatives, so when a woman hires her to find her younger sister Tessa Garrion, Jasmine presumes the case will be relatively straightforward. The assignment takes her back into the world ...

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When the Devil Drives

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The second installment in Christopher Brookmyre’s new crime series, When the Devil Drives is an intensely gripping literary thriller that delves into the darkest reaches of the human psyche.

Actress turned private investigator Jasmine Sharp has become accustomed to clients looking for long-lost relatives, so when a woman hires her to find her younger sister Tessa Garrion, Jasmine presumes the case will be relatively straightforward. The assignment takes her back into the world of professional theater, where she is warned off more than once for probing too deeply into the past.

Meanwhile, Detective Superintendent and mother-of-two Catherine McLeod is called to the scene of a murder in the Highlands. Following a theatrical outdoor performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream at Cragruthes Castle, a prominent figure in the Scottish arts community is shot dead during a post-performance photo call. With her initial leads turning out to be red herrings, McLeod struggles to determine the killer’s motive.

Jasmine soon uncovers Tessa’s involvement in a drug-riddled Highlands estate retreat replete with occult rituals, which implicates more than a few people in the upper echelons of Scotland’s arts scene. Tessa’s disappearance in the summer of 1981 begins to look increasingly like murder, but the guilty will stop at nothing to keep the truth hidden. As Jasmine’s and McLeod’s investigations intertwine, it becomes evident that both cases are far more convoluted and dangerous than anticipated.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Brookmyre’s satisfying second Glaswegian thriller featuring PI Jasmine Sharp and Det. Supt. Catherine McLeod (after 2011’s Where the Bodies Are Buried), Alice Petrie asks Jasmine to track down her sister, Tessa Garrion, a burgeoning stage actress whom Petrie hasn’t seen since their mother’s funeral in 1981. Meanwhile, out at Cragruthes Castle in Argyll, Catherine and her team look into the demise of actor Hamish Queen, shot dead in the middle of an outdoor theater performance. While Queen had artistic rivals, a motive for murder remains elusive. The more Jasmine learns about Tessa, the less convinced she becomes that Petrie’s sister is still alive. A member of Glass Shoe Company, one of Queen’s early 1980s theater efforts, Tessa fell off the map after a drug- and sex-fueled summer, a time no one else wants to discuss. Inevitably, Jasmine’s and Catherine’s investigations collide, but Brookmyre wisely holds off on the true connections until the chilling climax. Agent: Caroline Dawnay, United Agents (U.K.) (May)
From the Publisher

“The elements that have attracted readers to Brookmyre since his early efforts are abundantly present in his latest work: complex plots, deep examinations into those dark aspects of the human personality and psyche that are simultaneously fascinating and repellent, and, at the core, a puzzling and intelligent mystery or two. It is difficult to imagine what more one could ask for.”—BookReporter

“Brookmyre is a master at rendering ingenious, intertwining plots. Sharply drawn characters and an idyllic Scottish setting add further appeal to this engaging entry in which foul play’s the thing.”—Booklist (starred review)

When the Devil Drives is a true pleasure for all detective fiction fans—think Ian Rankin by way of Agatha Christie, by turns dark and delightful and always intriguing. Christopher Brookmyre’s strong prose and clever dialogue deliver on every page of this intricately plotted thriller, and I look forward to seeing what he does next.”—Michael Koryta, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and New York Times bestselling author of The Prophet

When the Devil Drives is an engaging, well-written, Scottish-based crime thriller. . . . there is no disguising Brookmyre’s prose.”—The Herald (Glasgow)

“Brookmyre paints the workmanlike nature of private investigating with veracity and insight. . . . yet another accomplished, engaging, smart, and funny piece of crime writing, plotted and executed with no small amount of skill, style, and craft.”—The Scotsman

“Invigoratingly complex . . . cripplingly infectious.”—Daily Mirror

“Brookmyre at his chaotic, brilliant best.”—Daily Record

“Deftly plotted and believably characterized as ever, with a pleasing anti-establishment edge.”—Marylebone Journal

Library Journal
What’s not to like about a befuddled, yet plucky, wee lassie of an amateur detective? That’s the question posed by this follow-up to 2012’s Where the Bodies Are Buried. Aspiring actress Jasmine Sharp has inherited her late uncle’s detective agency and, with the publicity attached to her first case, now has a number of actual, paying clients. One such hires Jasmine to discover the whereabouts of her much younger sister, Tessa, who disappeared 30 years ago. Tessa had been a brilliant actress in a cutting-edge Glasgow theater company and then—nothing. All of the other members of the troupe have risen to the top of Scottish society. And all refuse to speak to Jasmine, who is forced to wonder if witchcraft might be the only explanation for their meteoric rise. Meanwhile DS Catherine McLeod investigates the murder of a prominent Scottish arts figure. Only gradually do the strands of these two stories blend, and once more Jasmine runs rings around her police counterpart.

Verdict Amid the Shakespearean allusions, the densely layered characterizations, and satiric asides about Scottish society, readers who enjoy the Glasgow-based mysteries of Denise Mina will be hard-pressed to find fault with our Scottish lass and will eagerly await the seemingly inevitable, and fiery, face-off between Jasmine and Catherine that surely will come as the series progresses.—Bob Lunn, Kansas City, MO
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
Jasmine Sharp, the drama school dropout who became an unlikely Glasgow PI in Where the Bodies Are Buried (2012), looks into the 1981 disappearance of a young actress--a case that overlaps a fresh murder investigation in the Highlands by Detective Superintendent Catherine McLeod. The orphaned daughter of an actress, Jasmine got her start as an investigator when her uncle, Jim, an ex-cop, convinced her she could use her thespian skills working for his investigative agency. Having inherited the company following Jim's disappearance and murder, Jasmine is hired by a woman to find out what happened to her younger sister Tessa, who fell off the face of the earth in 1981. After Jasmine questions hotshot theater producer Hamish Queen, whom Tessa was last seen working for, he is shot dead by a sniper at a performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream outside a castle. Catherine, who has been arguing with her husband over their teenage son's desire for a sniper-themed video game, finds herself on the trail of a real-life shooter. Jasmine, with the help of Glen Fallan--the mysterious gangland enforcer who became her guardian angel in Where the Bodies Are Buried--overcomes threats to her well-being to uncover a conspiracy involving drugs, sex, satanic cults and changed names. Brookmyre pushed against the restraints of crime fiction with his "Tartan noir" series featuring investigative reporter Jack Parlabane and his outlandish satirical novels. But following the very good Bodies, which returned him to mainstream fare, he's in tame whodunit mode. The flashback plot is tired. The scaling back of Catherine's presence denies us the pleasure of seeing the two female investigators cross paths. And though never less than likable, Jasmine loses charm as she gains confidence, something one hopes the author will reverse in future books. With its running social commentary and bits on Scottish theater and politics, this is an entertaining book. But its predecessor was livelier and more brimming with incident.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802120892
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/7/2013
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Since his award-winning debut novel Quite Ugly One Morning, Christopher Brookmyre has established himself as one of Britain's leading crime novelists. He has worked as a journalist for several British newspapers and is the author of twelve novels, including Where the Bodies Are Buried, One Fine Day in The Middle of the Night, and Not The End of The World.
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