Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Dead Girl Walking

A Jack Parlabane Thriller

by Christopher Brookmyre

A girl vanishes—and the lies begin. For fans of Carl Hiaasen and Nick Hornby, a gripping, highly entertaining, and carefully observed psychological thriller from Scottish crime master Christopher Brookmyre.

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 400
  • Publication Date May 10, 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2497-5
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $17.00

About The Book

Dead Girl Walking is the latest thrilling novel from one of Scotland’s most treasured crime writers, as well known in his native country as Val McDermid, Ian Rankin, and Denise Mina. In his latest novel, he has written his most accessible book yet—a thrilling story of sex, drugs, rock ’n’ roll, and murder.

Life is dangerous when you have everything to lose. Famous, beautiful, and talented, Heike Gunn has the world at her feet. Then, one day, she simply vanishes. Meanwhile, journalist Jack Parlabane has lost everything: his career, his marriage, his self-respect. A call for help from an old friend offers a chance for redemption—but only if he can find out what happened to Heike. Pursued by those who would punish him for past crimes, Parlabane enters the secret-filled world of Heike’s band, Savage Earth Heart, a group at the breaking point. Each of its members seems to be hiding something, not least its newest recruit Monica Halcrow, whose alleged relationship with Heike has become a public obsession. Monica’s own story, however, reveals a far darker truth. Fixated on Heike from day one, she has been engulfed by paranoia, jealousy, and fear as she discovers the hidden price of fame. From Berlin to Barcelona, from the streets of Milan to remote Scottish islands, Parlabane must dredge up old secrets to find Heike before it’s too late.


“Brookmyre serves up a tantalizing mix of possibilities for Heike’s disappearance: romantic vengeance, shady rock politics, jealousy, and Heike’s tangling with a ruthless human-trafficking gang. Readers will be pleased to find that Jack’s ‘dubious’ methods make fantastic thriller fare, and skilled plotting keeps the key to Heike’s disappearance elusive until the final moments.” —Booklist

“Entertaining . . . Brookmyre creates fascinating characters and expertly places them in darkly humorous yet disturbing situations.” —Publishers Weekly

“Brookmyre’s intricate plot is tightly woven and transitions from multiple characters’ perspectives seamlessly. Fans of Ian Rankin’s John Rebus crime novels and Henning Mankell’s Wallander books will enjoy the strong male protagonist. Readers already invested in Jack and his exploits will enjoy this chilly thriller, which also can serve as a stand-alone for newcomers.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“Murder goes on tour in Brookmyre’s clever take on the vagaries of the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle, giving his recurring journalist-investigator Jack Parlabane myriad opportunities for sleuthing, hacking, and, yes, even a spot of late-night parkour after a beautiful musician goes missing.” —Boston Globe, “Best Books of 2015”

“Finally—a thriller that works! . . . I couldn’t put this book down.” —Crime Segments

Dead Girl Walking is the 19th novel by this Scottish master, and it’s one of the best of the lot, featuring his irregular sleuth, Jack Parlabane, and set in the fascinating world of the music industry . . . This one is good right to the final page.” —Globe and Mail

“A compelling read—particularly Monica’s take on the allure and shame of sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll—as we’ve come to expect from Brookmyre . . . a couple of thrilling action sequences . . . that are worthy of any game . . . [A] pacy story.” —Herald Scotland


Shortlisted for the Scottish Crime Book of the Year
Shortlisted for the Bloody Scotland Crime Book of the Year
A Boston Globe Best Book of 2015 in the Mystery category


Maybe someday scientists will be able to pinpoint just what it is about certain people that makes them shine a little brighter and dazzle the rest of us, but for now, I can only say that Heike had something about her that made you want to be in her presence, touched by her grace.

She was aware of it too, but not in the way you might think. Maybe it was fairer to say she was wary of it: as though this siren feared that if you came too close, she might be the one drawn to her doom. Or maybe she was just scared of all the attention she got.

That’s why asking direct questions about her life was right out, though it did mean that on the rare occasions when she shared something it felt all the more precious. That I alone had seen her tears on stage at Bristol that night felt like a secret treasure.

I wondered whether she liked being in this male-dominated company because she could hide there, where nobody was likely to ask her anything truly personal.

We all wanted to get nearer to her, wanted in different ways to please her, but the trick was for her not to notice you were doing it, for you not to be caught trying to please her. It was like that childhood game where you all sneak up on someone with her back turned, trying to see how close you could get before she spun round and chased you all away.