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Really 3.5 stars It was nice to be in the North West for a change, with a PI who has their life together and gets stuff done It s remarkable how dated a book written 25 years ago has become, but that doesn t interfere with the plot at all. I reread this as it had been than 10 years since I read it Back then McDermid was my favourite author so I was worried I would now being far critical than formerly ruin it for myself I needn t have worried It was long enough ago so that I didn t remember too much As to the quality of the book I am sure it had flaws but I was having too much fun to notice them Kate Brannigan is a feisty, witty, brave protagonist and is surrounded by a support network that manage to respect and mock her in just the right proportions There is a lively plot full of twists, near misses, action, sarcasm and far too much Chinese food In other words it is one of those private eye stories that is always a good read, especially when the private eye is a womanBrannigan manages to balance a case for a real paying client who her bossy secretary has a most unprofessional interest in as well as do a job on the side for one of her best friends The bad guys from the stories look likely to kill her and Kate really wants to go back to her latest computer game civilization since it was the 90s but I had some cringe factor there Missing floppy disks yes that long ago a corpse who ends up being someone other than the obvious candidate and a Veronica Mars worthy scene on p244 later Brannigan has all the answers It s not really been a puzzle for the reader but it has been a rollicking ride with enough twists and lively dialogue to satisfy.I still like McDermid s other detective Lindsay Gordon even betterand I still don t like McDermid s gorier stories But this is good clean fun with some yucky details at the corpse Also as far as love interests go Richard is satisfactory though rather Kate than me. Second in this series about Manchester based PI Kate Brannigan, this has her investigating 3 separate cases one fizzles out as someone else solves it for her, while the other two missing conservatories, and a friends lost property deposit which both involve highly confusing mortgage scams are excruciatingly boring She spends most of the book driving around, on stake out, or eating Chinese food, when she s not explaining all the technology which was clearly super snazzy at the time, but 21 years later is as dated as the fashion I laughed out loud when Kate explains how her laptop can hold a whopping 60 novels worth of text.There s no great suspense, a little bit of danger and action, and a lot of snark The first in the series was entertaining so I hope the next books improve since I ve already bought them fortunately at book fair prices Let s face it, this is junk writing from someone who could do much better. These earlier books of Val McDermid are not as complicated as the later thrillers but they are pleasure to read.Kate Brannigan is a likeable character and the description of her every day life, the precise information about how she drives around the North West of England, all conjure up an atmosphere of a time I remember the mid 1990s after Mrs T became Baroness T The way the action and the activities of the PI are described recall the style of American writers like Sara Paretsky and Sue Grafton It feels grounded in reality Maybe it is also the specifics of Chinese food and Thai kickboxing and the domesticity of the proper steady boyfriend next door In this second outing for Kate, she resolves three mysteries, rolling up minor and major cons You go, girl This was a pretty good mystery with a resourceful heroine a PI in a small firm, asked as a favor to her secretary to look into a case where a builder installs conservatories, which later disappear She is also asked as a favor to a friend to look into a land sale fraud When she is run off the road and injured, she can t be sure which case if either made her a target As I said, pretty good, a bit convoluted than I cared for with the fraud schemes, but still good. The second of Val McDermid s Kate Brannigan books about a feisty Manchester based private detective This gains points for me because of the unusual subject matter mortgage scams and missing conservatories Kate is asked by the firm s secretary to have a look into the case for her as a bit of a favour anyway lots of investigating and eating Chinese with boyfriend Richard occur to produce an interesting novel.Recommended and will keep me interested in the series. I actually listened to the Audible edition Recorded books is coming out with the rest on audio but not until 2020 This was funny, exciting, and not so much a mystery as how is she going to catch the bad guy book The how is the interesting ride She breaks quite a few laws illegally bugging, breaking and entering as she solves the mysteries and the murder. I like the Kate Brannigan character different from most of her other books The book written in 1993 so is pretty dated where she uses computer technology and floppy discs but still a fun read for a Sunday morning. `Download ⇱ Kick Back ⇢ Fresh From Her Dazzling Debut In Dead Beat, Manchester PI Kate Brannigan Finds Herself In Search Of Some Concrete Evidence On A Couple Of Dirty Developers The Savvy And Down To Earth Detective Is Reluctant To Take On Her Secretary S New Heartthrob, Ted Barlow, As A Client The Chances Are He S Crooked, Which Would Explain Why The Bank Pulled The Plug On His Conservatory Construction Business But When He Mentions That Some Of The Conservatories He Installed Have Now Vanished Into Thin Air, Kate Despite Herself Is Hooked How Does A Person Go About Stealing A Building No Sooner Does She Start Investigating, Though, Than She Gets Involved In A Second Real Estate Wrangle A Close Friend Has Been Conned Over A Land Deal, And Kate Agrees To Find Out How, And By Whom Neither Problem Seems Life Threatening Or So Kate Thinks, Until A Strange Accident Proves To Have Been An Attempt On Her Life Clearly Kate Has Stumbled Upon Something Very Rotten In Real Estate And Little Do The Criminals Realize That In Proposing To Write Manchester S Canny, Kick Boxing PI Out Of The Picture, They Have Signed A Deed For Their Own Downfall