Game Over (Bob Skinner) by Quintin Jardine

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Game Over (Bob Skinner) by Quintin Jardine

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The twenty-seventh book in the series is less tired than you might expect, but you might have to suspend disbelief about the extent to which ex-police officers can get involved in investigations!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 448/13h21m Date: April 2017
Publisher: Headline
ISBN: 978-1472205704

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When supermodel Annette Bordeaux was found murdered in the Edinburgh apartment which she shared with her husband, a recent signing for the local football club, Merrytown FC. He had a watertight alibi as he was playing abroad at the time but there are others at the club without such good alibis. It was Bob Skinner's old CID team who had the job of investigating the case and they must have thought their luck was in when they seemed to have a solid case against the club manager. Despite being married he had a close friendship with the supermodel, although he maintained that it was platonic. Well, we've heard that one before, haven't we?

The lawyer tasked with defending the manager is none other than Skinner's daughter Alexis. Skinner's not prepared to see her go down in flames defending an unwinnable case and knows that it's going to be a difficult, if not impossible job to get the case dropped. He has to admit that if he'd still been in the job he'd have been jubilant at the strength of the crown's case. As Skinner starts to investigate some murky facts surface, including some doubt about who actually owns the football club.

When you get to number twenty seven in a series like this one it must be difficult to come up with fresh ideas, but I like the books and I'll confess to sinking feeling when I saw the title: could this be the end of Skinner? It was something of a relief when I realised that we were into football rather than funerals. Skinner would be an annoying man close up - seemingly perfect at everything and with more confidence that most men have a right to expect - but he does make for a good lead character, carrying most plots on his own, seemingly without upsetting those who work for and with him.

It's a good plot. Did I work out who committed the murder? No, I didn't. Infact, I wasn't anywhere close. Quintin Jardine is expert at laying a trail of red herrings and I think I must have dutifully followed each and every one of them. I can see how the murder could have been done, but it was very convoluted and I had to go back over that section to be sure of how it all worked. You might have to suspend disbelief about the extent to which ex-police officers, even an ex-Chief Constable, are allowed to become involved in cases, but it is worth it.

Rather than reading the book, I listened to an audio download (which I bought myself) narrated by James Bryce. He's been a constant in the recordings of the Skinner novels and he maintains a remarkable consistency between the books, so that it's like meeting up with old friends. His range of voices is particularly strong and I never fail to be impressed by the way that he can make the police (essentially a crowd of middle-aged Scotsmen) all sound like individuals. He's someone that I'll always happily listen to.

The book would work reasonably well as a standalone: there's enough information provided to allow you to catch up with the relevant back stories along with a pleasing absence of spoilers, but there is a continuing story about the characters which is interesting to follow in its own right and if you'd like to start from the beginning this is where you'll find the books in order:

Quintin Jardine's Bob Skinner Novels in Chronological Order

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