Skeleton Road by Val McDermid.

Always a pleasure to read one of my very favorite crime novelists, Val McDemrid and this is one of her latest, Skeleton Road. This is an in-depth exploration of the brutal Yugoslav Wars of the 1990’s, seen through the plot device of a series of revenge killings. The protagonist is a woman academic, a specialist on the Balkans, whose husband, a former general in the Yugoslavian army, has gone missing for some nine years. Is it his skeleton investigators have discovered on the roof of an old building in Glasgow or is he in fact responsible for the spate of revenge killings of former war ciminals from the Balkans? Ms. McDermid gives us a deeply moving history lesson interspersed with the engrossing crime investigation itself, and the level of her writing is uniformly intelligent and highly cultured, with many cultural references that I dare say would fly over the heads of the average readers of Gone Girl or Girl on a Train. How many crime readers can handle discussions about Derrida or Foucault or complex political analyses devoid of stereotypes?At the heart of the book’s mystery is a horrendous war crime, the summary execution of some twenty children in a field in Croatia during the war. This is a thinking person’s crime novel that grapples with monumental crimes of social injustice  and the complicity we all share in their perpetuation – simply by not caring enough about our own responsibilities as citizens. Val McDemrid never disappoints. I also appreciate her Lesbian sensibilities and the way she integrates Lesbian characters into her fiction, without directly turning her books into ‘gay novels’. Lesbian and gay characters are simply ‘there’, living out their lives in the same normal fashion as the rest of us.

A resounding five stars:★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Five Stars without a doubt. ★ ★ ★ ★

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