Quintin Jardine, Author . Headline $8.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-747

Foul language and graphic violence abound in the 10th installment of Jardine's (Gallery Whispers, etc.) mystery series featuring Edinburgh's Deputy Chief Constable, Bob Skinner, and his friend and fellow detective, Andy Martin. The Thursday Legends consist of Skinner and an assortment of aging athletes who meet for a weekly game of football. When one of the Legends, a former detective, is found naked and mutilated, Skinner's division rallies to find the killer. A short time later, another Legend is discovered—minus a few fingers and toes and beaten beyond recognition—and, despite evidence to the contrary, Skinner's instincts tell him that the two crimes are related. Meanwhile, Andy's confused personal life, coupled with a lack of investigative manpower, leads him to make the mistake of trying to bring a suspect in for questioning alone. As a result, Andy ends up in a heart-stopping confrontation that forces him to take stock of the things he values most in life. A painting in Andy's own home enables him to pinpoint the real murderer, but for all the novel's buildup, the final unveiling of the killer is anticlimactic. Nevertheless, this gritty, fast-paced mystery will pin even the most squeamish readers to the page. (Aug.)