Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Bred in the Bone

by Christopher Brookmyre

“Explodes off the page . . . should cement Brookmyre’s reputation as one of today’s top Scottish crime writers.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 432
  • Publication Date May 12, 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2368-8
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $15.00

About The Book

Blood stains. Ties bind. Violence is bred in the bone.

Bred in the Bone is the stunning third novel in Brookmyre’s series featuring private investigator Jasmine Sharp and Detective Superintendent Catherine McLeod. Set in the grisly underworld of Glasgow—a place where countless old scores are always waiting to be settled—Bred in the Bone is a masterful mystery novel that will appeal to readers of Denise Mina, Val McDermid, and Ian Rankin.

In Bred in the Bone, the murder of big-time Scottish gangster Stevie Fullerton leads to unexpected consequences for Jasmine and Catherine. Jasmine’s father was murdered before her birth, and when his killer, Glen Fallan, is arrested in connection with Fullerton’s death, she is forced to confront the criminal realities of the world from which she has sprung. Meanwhile, Catherine McLeod has one major Glaswegian gangster in the mortuary and another in the cells for killing him—which ought to be cause for celebration. But she is not smiling. From the moment she discovered a symbol daubed on the victim’s head, she has understood that this case is far more dangerous than it appears on the surface, something that could threaten her family and end her career.


“A baker’s dozen characters are well sketched, and Fallan is wonderfully complex; a stone-cold killer who is also strangely principled. Brookmyre is building a case for gritty, violent Glasgow as the world capital of crime, and this is his best book yet.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Brookmyre . . . spares no detail in his account of Glasgow’s violent underworld . . . . His characters are satisfyingly multidimensional.” —Kirkus Reviews

Bred in the Bone is essentially two individual but intertwined personal narratives, wrapped around a gangster story and set in the Glasgow underworld. . . . Brookmyre is a polished stylist who spikes his smooth wordsmithery with a quirk Scottish brogue.” —Marilyn Stasio, New York Times

“Christopher Brookmyre excels. From the titles of his novels to his ongoing instruction on the marked differences between Glasgow and Edinburgh, Brookmyre is a joy and a pleasure to read for those of us who like our fiction served up dark with humor to match. His latest stateside offering is Bred in the Bone, the third in the Jasmine Sharp and Catherine McLeod series and the best thus far. It takes a confident writer to race an immensely interesting character right out of the gate and then take him off the map within a few pages. . . . Brookmyre is a spellbinding storyteller who, by virtue of the wit and intricateness of his stories, has earned much greater attention on this side of the Atlantic than he has received thus far. Incapable of writing badly and possessed of an inability to make each and all of his characters unforgettable, Brookmyre is a marvel, and Bred in the Bone is nothing less than marvelous.” —Joe Hartlaub, Bookreporter

International praise for Bred in the Bone (Published in the UK as Flesh Wounds)

Where the Bodies Are Buried, the first book to feature actress-cum-private eye Jasmine Sharp, was a thoroughly accomplished and satisfying thriller. His latest is even better. . . . Brookmyre is plainly keen to prove that he has become a genuine, page-turning storyteller. In Bred in the Bone he has done just that with what is his most complete novel to date.” —Daily Express (UK)

“His most mature novel to date: Each character, including those far down the food chain, is given a narrative arc that comes to a full and satisfying conclusion, even as the story reaches back in time to the 1980s . . . And if Brookmyre’s characters are good, the relationships he builds between them are even better.” —The Herald (Scotland)

“[Brookmyre’s] trademark pitch-black humor is still present. The wanton violence has consequences—usually devastating—and innocent bystanders bear the brunt of it. It is a well-paced thriller with a satisfyingly complex plot and a vivid cast of larger-than-life characters.” —The List


Cal cupped Fullerton’s head with one gloved hand, then took a pencil and delicately used it to brush away a lock of hair that had been overhanging the victim’s brow.

“I thought it was another gunshot wound, but rather the gunman appears to have drawn some kind of symbol on Mr Fullerton’s forehead using his blood. No idea what it signifies, but happily it’s not my problem to find out.”

Catherine looked at the symbol, crudely smeared in dark, dried blood, and suddenly felt as though the disused petrol station was on board an oil tanker pitching in stormy seas. Something inside her lurched and she felt for a horrible moment like she was going to faint. She stumbled forward a little, her hand reaching out to rest upon Cal’s back for balance.

Now she knew what it felt like to be Beano. If he had still been here she could have told him that regardless how many murder scenes she had attended, this one had rendered her officially spooked. She just couldn’t tell him why.

“Are you okay?” Cal asked, turning around.

Catherine stood up slowly, wary of exacerbating her light-headedness.

“Just got a wee bit of a fright there. Wasn’t expecting to see something like that, that’s all.”