I wanted to read Brookmyre's "Black Widow" (BW) but thought the price was too high, ie more than $14 for an e-book from a guy I never heard of before. I checked his other stuff and decided to read an earlier book in the Jack Parlabane series, "Dead Girl Walking" (DGW).
What a good move that turned out to be! DGW is an excellent book. I was really blown away by one particular scene, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Jack is a free lance journalist of sorts, a guy who is not above bending, OK breaking, a few laws to get supporting evidence for his stories. He also is prepared to protect his sources' identities to the death, or at least despite short term jail sentences. And so he is frequently hassled by the local police, and unemployed.
He is contacted by the sister of an old friend and hired to find a missing person under the condition that he does not write about anything dealing the investigation. A key member of an up and coming rock band is missing, and Jack begins his investigation by talking to other members of the band, current and former, as well as roadies, support personnel, etc. At this point in the story, we get the perspective of a newer member of the band, a young woman trained in classic violin, new to rock bands, new to performing every night and new to the road. Jack chapters and Monica chapters alternate, with a fair amount of back story meshed with Monica's reactions to the rapid evolution of dealing with a new life and new "friends".
And then there's the scene where Monica and lead singer Heike meld on stage, right in the middle of one of the band's signature songs. And I got instant insight into what it's like to be up there in front of a roaring crowd, with the heat, with the lights, with the sound, the emotion, the high. I have rarely read a prolonged description of a moment coming away with a feeling of having been in it...as I did after those pages. I wanted more. I was so sure that Brookmyre had to be a former rocker to be able to write those perfect pages that I searched the web looking for his pre-novelist life as a musician....
Very good plot, good dialog, nice little twists here and there. I want more. I'll read more Brookmyre, even BW at its inflated price. The only criticism I have is I'm not real crazy about his hero, Jack. Kinda bland in my book (he still yearns for his former love). C'mon Jack, get it together, man. And why is he always jumping all over the place - literally jumping. What's that about?