Book Review: Black Widow by Chris Brookmyre


widowDiana Jager is clever, strong and successful, a skilled surgeon and fierce campaigner via her blog about sexism. Yet it takes only hours for her life to crumble when her personal details are released on the internet as revenge for her writing.

Then she meets Peter. He’s kind, generous, and knows nothing about her past: the second chance she’s been waiting for.

Within six months, they are married. Within six more, Peter is dead in a road accident, a nightmare end to their fairytale romance.

But Peter’s sister Lucy doesn’t believe in fairytales, and tasks maverick reporter Jack Parlabane with discovering the dark truth behind the woman the media is calling Black Widow..


Black Widow by Chris Brookmyre is a fast-paced psychological thriller. It starts with action right at the first page where readers are introduced to a court proceeding where a trial is ongoing. The only thing that we know for sure is that a woman in on trial. Different points of view take us through the narration. One of the main narrators is Diana Jager, the female protagonist. The other narrator is Jack Parlabane, the journalist trying to uncover the true story behind the events surrounding the protagonist. We have another narrator who gives the perspective of the investigators. All the different perspectives help in building the suspense in the book as we get to learn different sides of the narrative.

The narrative takes us through the past and present occurrences narrated interchangeably. We get to see Diana’s life before and after Peter. The second timeline takes us through the present occurrences as we get to see the events that take place as the search for peter or his body takes place.

Diana is an interesting protagonist. I found her to be strong and admirable even when everyone else in the book vilified her. The author does such a great job at portraying her as a sympathetic character. All her actions seem justifiable even when she does things that seem absolutely nuts…ahem…like the HIV injection. As a reader, I found myself admiring her instead of being repulsed by her. I liked how the author developed her character by allowing us to know her better through her past and present hence care about her.  Jack is flawed, it is clear that he is dealing with demons from his personal life and career. However, he is the kind of rogue journalist who many love to hate but who we all know gets the job done no matter how unscrupulous the investigation. I found myself rooting for him to get the truth. I understand that this is the 7th book in a series featuring this character and I can’t wait to read the first 6 so as to understand him better.

This book is a bit big at 432 pages but it is unputdownable. I wanted to get to the bottom of it all and unearth the secrets. The twist at the end totally blew me away. This is one of those books that I assumed would be easy to predict. I thought the blurb gave it all away and so I completed my jury duty, gave a guilty verdict and was wrapping up when I was hit on the face by the twist. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone so let me just that it was good! Disturbing, unpredictable basically it was everything that makes a twist awesome. This is the kind of book that you will finish reading then go back to the first scene/chapter and reread it with the end in mind. The author was really skillful in this aspect. I thought that I knew how everything was going but getting to the end gave me more insights on past events as the chips fell into place.

Black Widow is the first book that I have read by Chris Brookmyre and I can’t wait to read more from the author. I recommend this book to all fans of psychological thrillers. If you are looking for a good thriller with a fast-moving plot that will suck you in from the first page and keep you engrossed in the story due to many twists and turn then this is the right book for you.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author

Christopher Brookmyre is a Scottish novelist whose novels mix politics, social comment and action with a strong narrative. He has been referred to as a Tartan Noir author. His debut novel was Quite Ugly One Morning, and subsequent works have included One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night, which he said “was just the sort of book he needed to write before he turned 30”, and All Fun and Games until Somebody Loses an Eye (2005).

Christopher has been shortlisted three times for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award: in 2007 for All Fun And Games Until Somebody Loses An Eye, in 2008 for A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil and in 2012 for Where The Bodies Are Buried. You can find more information about him here.

About the Book

  • Title: Black Widow
  • Author: Chris Brookmyre
  • Hardcover, 432 pages
  • Published January 28th 2016 by Little, Brown
  • Original Title: Black Widow
  • My Rating: 5 Stars