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Review: Last Resort, by Quintin Jardine

Jardine has written many novels starring Chief Constable Bob Skinner and in the latest one he has put Bob into a quandary. The Scottish police are in the midst of a massive re-organization and Bob’s job is gone, as is the structure he’s lived with for his entire career. He not only dislikes the new police plan, he’s not sure he wants any new job within it. He’s moping around the house, whining and grousing.
His wife finally tells him to go away, anywhere . . . just go someplace and think things over. Bob winds up in Spain in the company of his old friend Xavier Aislado, who is top dog in a massive media empire.
Aislado’s problem is the disappearance of a trusted employee vital to the firm’s continued well-being. Bob, of course, offers to help and his immediate problem is solved. He now has something to do to take his mind off his quandary.
Meanwhile, a woman with whom he had a brief encounter 20 years ago informs him she’s receiving threatening phone calls. The implied threat is that the caller will reveal the fact that the two of them have a son Bob has never known about until recently and who is currently in jail for killing his grandmother.
Bob’s daughter Alexis, who is in Scotland, takes on the task of tracking down the mysterious caller, whose name seems to be Linton Baillie, author of several crime novels exposing incompetence within the justice system. She gets as far as talking to Baillie’s agent, who soon turns up murdered. Baillie himself remains a will-o-the-wisp.
Back in Spain, Bob and his friend manage to wade through several murder scenes before tracking down the missing employee. And Bob finally tracks down Baillie. It all gets resolved, even the murder of the literary agent.
There are many complex personal relationships in this book. Everyone has been married at least twice. Children abound, on the fringes of the action. But Jardine’s narrative style is so clean cut that the action carries on regardless.
There are also many colourful Scottish words and idioms that add to the flavour. There is also frequent and casual use of the F word.

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