Wow… Having just put this book down I feel like my brain has just undertaken a serious work out! Black Widow is an amazing book with one hell of a roller-coaster ride plot, so much so that it is hard to know what to say in this review without giving too much of the books plot away. This is one book that you just have to read in order to appreciate its structure and storytelling and it keeps you guessing all the way to the end. I really had no idea about the reveal because Brookmyre has presented so many little snippets of revelations throughout the story that you simply never see the final blow coming, instead it hits you out of nowhere. The ability to keep a reader guessing until the final pages of the book is such a skill that only a few crime writers have the ability to harness and it is the reveal of Black Widow which is proof to the claim that Christopher Brookmyre really is a Scottish crime writing master.
Diana Jager is the one they now refer to as Black Widow. A highly competent surgeon and former creator of an extremely explosive blog about sexism in the world of medicine, she is an ice maiden who until recently was better known throughout the medical profession as Bladebitch, a term created by those who had fallen prey to her blog. However, once Diana was ousted as the author of this blog, both her career and her professionalism took the fall as a result. So when she meets Peter, a laid back friendly IT guy, she can be forgiven for falling quickly for him as he treats her with the kindness she has lacked her whole life and shows her a future in which she can have it all, a perfect marriage and a perfect career which is just what Diana needs now to get her life back on track and regain some of her credibility. But, just months after their hastily rushed marriage, Peter’s car is found at the bottom of a lake in what looks like a fatal road accident and Diana is once more at the mercy of her past behaviour as she is treated as the main suspect.
It becomes more than obvious that Diana is actually capable of killing and disposing of her husband, after all she is the perfect surgeon with exquisite surgical skills, but when Peter’s sister Lucy calls in a rouge reporter named Jack Parlabane, his findings produce a web of lies and deceit galore and it soon becomes apparent that there is so much more to Peter’s death than was originally believed, and the further Jack investigates the more complex the relationship between Peter and Diana becomes. The problem also exists that Jack is the only one who can get to the heart of the matter, but he has personal problems of his own to contend with which threaten to distort his view for the truth.
Black Widow is perfectly executed. Brookmyre presents each character’s narrative in short sections as the story begins to unravel and just as you find yourself gearing up to find out the reveal in each of their story, he cleverly halts their narrative and throws you into another character’s perception. The result is that the entire book is a mental workout and in return I did not see the most ingenious ending coming at all! Nobody is all that they seem, nothing is straightforward and the deeper Jack investigates the more it becomes apparent that it is a simple but chilling case of that sometimes, as much as we feel we may know a person, we actually have no idea of what goes on in their head, until it becomes too late.
I absolutely loved this book and can’t recommend it enough if you love your crime books to challenge you and make you work for your ending! With this being my first introduction to Chris Brookmyre, I also think I will take a look at his other books in the hope that they are all as good as Black Widow is…
I received this book for review from the wonderful people at NetGalley.