Title: Black Widow
Author: Chris Brookmyre
Publisher: Little Brown
There is no perfect marriage. There is no perfect murder.
Diana Jager is clever, strong and successful, a skilled surgeon and fierce campaigner via her blog about sexism. Yet it takes only hours for her life to crumble when her personal details are released on the internet as revenge for her writing.
Then she meets Peter. He’s kind, generous, and knows nothing about her past: the second chance she’s been waiting for.
Within six months, they are married. Within six more, Peter is dead – and Diana on trial for his murder, a nightmare end to their fairytale romance.
But Peter’s sister Lucy doesn’t believe in fairytales, and tasks maverick reporter Jack Parlabane with discovering the dark truth behind the woman the media is calling Black Widow…
I LOVED this book. Great writing, an intriguing storyline and fantastic writing skill that kept me speeding through without ever feeling bored or losing interest. It’s another testament to what a great story this is because it’s a fairly long book compared to others in the genre, clocking in at over 400 pages, but at no point did I start feeling bored or uninterested. It held my attention to the very last page.
Black Widow is the first novel I’ve read by Chris Brookmyre but not having read the others hasn’t impacted my enjoyment (or understanding) of the novel one bit. Firstly, the characters are hugely interesting – not always hugely likeable but there’s something about them that made me want to read more. I really liked Diana Jager despite not knowing throughout the story whether she was guilty or not. She was a strong and independent (although often spiky and, at times, rude) feminist who I really enjoyed reading about. Jack Parlabane was satisfyingly curious and determined to unearth the truth, but I felt like he actually seemed like a secondary character until the end of the story, with Diana and others at the forefront of the book; having not read other novels in the series I’m not sure if Jack always takes a bit of a backseat in the storyline, staying kind of in the background, or if this novel is an exception…
The story itself has plenty of twists and turns, and the different points of view that the reader gets (mainly Diana, some of the police officers, and Jack Parlabane)only adds to the fantastic narrative that really drew me in. There’s humour sewn into the pages, too, with some observations and comments by characters striking me as really amusing. It hops back and forward in time, with the trial kicking the novel off and the story then moving backwards to note how things happened the way they did. All the time you’re wondering if things are exactly as they are described by witnesses, people close to Peter, etc, and it’s not until the end, that it’s all tied up – and rather satisfyingly, in my opinion!
I’m so impressed with this book – definitely recommended!
Many thanks to Little Brown and Netgalley for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.