cover image Skinner's Rules

Skinner's Rules

Quintin Jardine / Author St. Martin's Press $21.95 (312p) ISBN

A vicious and possibly insane killer is stalking Edinburgh's Royal Mile in this striking debut, nominated for England's John Creasey Award for Best First Novel. The mutilated and decapitated body of advocate Michael Mortimer is discovered in what seems to be an isolated incident. More vicious murders suggest the work of a serial killer, but then Mortimer's lover, Rachel Jameson, dies when she is pushed under a train. Detective Chief Superintendent Robert Skinner of the Edinburgh police discovers that Mortimer and Jameson had successfully represented the defendants in a rape-murder case. When one of the defendants turns up dead and mutilated, political considerations prevent Skinner from jailing his suspect. His doubts about the motive behind the murders become certainty, leading him into a maze of dangerous and conflicting loyalties where his own rules of conduct are no longer valid. Solid plotting (including surprises) and short, snappy chapters that tell the story through action and dialogue leave the story lacking only in convincing atmosphere. (July)