* Prices may differ from that shown
This is yet another book review from me about Detective Chief Constable Bob Skinner. This time, I have managed to read book 9 in the series I have grown to love.
This particular novel, Gallery Whispers, is a little bit different to me compared to others in the series. The action here is focussed very little on the main character, Bob, and instead focusses on 2 couples who are regular characters in the series up the whole way through. As with other books in the series, the action is set in Edinburgh, with a couple of major crimes being investigated alongside the personal traumas being suffered by the characters.
It feels entirely appropriate to tackle this novel in this way, as we have seen the majority of the novels focus on Bob, including his recent seperation from his wife, which has now been sorted out. Bob's personal life and professional life are both going well. He is acting as Chief Constable because his boss, Proud Jimmy is stuck in Spain recovering after a heart attack. As a result Bob is mostly in a supervisery role, so it is right he is less involved in the plot of the book.
On starting the novel, from the first short chapter, I felt very sad. One couple have heartache ahead of them, as one of them has a terminal cancer. The battle ahead will be a hard one for their family, though luckily Bob and his wife Sarah are about to help out, and shoulder some of the burden. I was saddened though as it is clear from having read other books how this was progressing, and it is not going to be easy on them. I felt really emotional at times.
There is then another couple, both very important to Bob, who are having major difficulties in their personal relationship, and the fallout will affect a few people. (Again, I knew how this was going to pan out, but I was very interested in the nitty gritty of it.)
The crimes are also quite interesting to me too in this novel, as they involve some serious ethical dilemnas and the police officers involved question their own values. The first crime is a suicide, which is actually found to be euthanasia. While initially the officers might be prepared to ignore it due to a lack of evidence and the fact the woman had incurable cancer, when a 2nd body is found, they no longer can.
The main focus of intelligence though is a conference of Head's of Government, which they have information a terrorist is planning on making a lethal appearance, so they are trying to make that run smoothly. With a lot of the main police officers distracted in some way, will this prove to have disastrous consequences?
While sometimes the threads in the plot seem to come together a little too conveniently, overall the book was well written, very good characterisation the whole way through, and the gaps in my knowledge about the main characters are a long way to being filled. I loved this book, and have found it one of the better ones in the series. I certainly feel like I know the characters and how they act so much better, and I look forward to starting the next one a lot.
Any criticism I have had previously of the author, because of his poor description of characters and previous plot events are not evident here, and it is all the better for it.