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Skinner's Ghosts by Quintin Jardine

Deputy Chief Constable Bob Skinner's marriage is on the rocks: he and Dr Sarah Grace have legally separated and she has returned to the States with their baby son. There is consolation though, in the form of his new executive assistant, Detective Sergeant Pamela Matthews and it's unpleasant that their relationship becomes public in the most unfortunate way - with pictures of them naked in a sleazy tabloid. The timing might be coincidental or deliberate but the other headlines are of two brutal murders. Then the allegations of corruption surface: from being a man respected by just about everyone in the community whose respect you'd want, Skinner stands to lose everything he holds dear - his family, his reputation, his career and even his liberty.

Skinner's Ghosts by Quintin Jardine

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Book 7 in this long-running series sees Skinner on the sharp end of an investigation. Could it really be that's he's corrupt?
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416/ 11h/18m Date: March 1998
Publisher: Headline
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0747219446

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I did work out who was behind all the shenanigans fairly quickly, but it didn't spoil my enjoyment of the book one little bit and towards the end I simply couldn't be parted from the story as accusation upon accusation was heaped upon Skinner's back. At one point it looked just about impossible that he would be able to completely clear his name. He's aided by his daughter Alex, now a lawyer with a prominent legal firm, but he's cut off from his CID team on the reluctant orders of the Chief Constable, Jimmy Proud. Even Superintendent Andy Martin is ordered not to have any contact with him - and it's not easy when he's living with Alexis Skinner. It's probably the Skinner book so far which is hardest on the nails.

The standard of the books is consistent: characterisation is good, the plotting is well done and Quintin Jardine conveys a great sense of location. I find myself walking the streets with the characters. The sex is clichéd and uninspiring: it would be much better if we could stay outside the bedroom door, but that's a minor point and such circumstances are probably the reason the fast forward button was invented. I complain about it every times, but it hasn't (yet) stopped me buying the next download as soon as I've finished a book.

And speaking of downloads, I've been having problems with my vision, so rather than read the series I've been listening to audio downloads (which I've bought myself) narrated by James Bryce, who seems to have taken on the mammoth task of narrating all the Skinner books (that's twenty six as at July 2016) and turning a cast consisting mainly of middle-aged male Scots who would probably all sound pretty much the same in real life into individual personalities.

The Skinner books read well enough as standalones, but you will get more out of them if you read them in chronological order. I've read some of the later books before I started on this binge-read from the beginning of the series and I keep having light-bulb moments. There's a link to a chronological list at the bottom of this review.

Quintin Jardine's Bob Skinner Novels in Chronological Order

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