A mix of thrills and humour is very typical of Chris Brookmyre’s work, and his latest, The Cut, is one of the finest examples of that.
The story is told through two central characters – Millicent, in her seventies and recently released from jail for murder; and Jerry, a teenage student with a love of horror movies and heavy metal.
These two become unlikely housemates and gradually their friendship grows as they get sucked into investigating the world around Millicent’s crime 25 years previously. Millicent was a special effects make-up artist in movies, and their shared love of cinema is just one of the many grin-inducing facets of this multi-layered and propulsive novel.
The two characters have a wonderful odd-couple energy as they travel from Glasgow to various locations in Europe in search of the truth. The context for Millicent’s crime lies in the glamorous and sleazy world of exploitation cinema, and Brookmyre takes us back to yacht parties in Cannes, full of sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll.
Gradually Millicent and Jerry go from being desolate and desperate to taking control of their lives as they prod away at the past, and Brookmyre expertly brings events to a final act of real emotional and moral power.
The Cut takes the reader on a similarly expansive and humour-soaked journey as its characters, and the author orchestrates it all with incredible style and skill.
The Cut by Chris Brookmyre (Little, Brown, £18.99) is out now