Christopher Brookmyre - A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil Anyone who has read any of Christopher Brookmyre’s previous books will know what to expect here - brilliantly realistic characters, excellently written dialogue (if a little hard to read for the non-Scots among his fans!) and a well thought out story.

His latest offerings have all had the underlying feeling that they could easily be transformed onto the big screen as the pace of the story seems perfect for that medium.

However, this offering has much more of it’s story set in the past with current events intertwined occassionally. The flashbacks are all centred around the schooldays of the players in the modern storyline as they were all pupils at the same school, and this allows Brookmyre to entertain us with stories which will probably ring true with most readers. Whilst they probably won’t all harbour the same memories of their schooldays, it lets those memories we do have come flooding back. I think it’s pretty safe to say that at least some of these incidents are actually memories from Brookmyre’s own schooldays as they are so vividly described and the characters are so well fleshed-out that some if not all may be based upon his own classmates.

As they say, your schooldays are meant to be the best days of your life, so a book which evokes memories of that time can only be a good thing!

The actual storyline of the book is fairly humdrum, and the link to the past events is pretty tenuous but overall I enjoyed this book a lot. As I’ve said previously, reading the book brought back memories of my own childhood and incidents which occurred during my time at school. Reading about what was happening to these people in their classrooms and playgrounds actually made me visualise all this happening in my own school’s grounds which is surely a sign that the writer has done his job well and actually got inside his reader’s mind!

The only downside to Christopher Brookmyre’s books are his rather lengthy titles - when looking at a book in a shop or online, it’s hard to remember from the title whether I’ve read it before or not, which may actually be a very clever marketing ploy to encourage people to continue to buy books that they already own…