In the hands of a more skilled prose writer, VL McDermid’s Final Edition could have been a pleasure to read. The premise itself is compelling: investigative journalist Lindsay Gordon returns to Scotland after a brush with the Secret Service sent her to self-exile. She immediately finds out that she’s been replaced by her girlfriend. Meanwhile, a close colleague of hers named Jackie Mitchell is in jail for the murder of the notorious Alison Maxwell, Lindsay’s former lover. When Lindsay is asked to prove Jackie’s innocence, she becomes involved in a sordid tale of blackmail and scandalous relationships that ultimately affects the life she is trying to rebuild.
Like I said, the set pieces are interesting. I like that the novel is trying to explore what it’s like to be a journalist in Glasgow and I like that it prominently features several lesbian characters with varied personalities and motivations. However, the dialogue is constantly clunky and expository, and the way Lindsay reacts to some events in the story borders on the shrill and self-righteous. Her stunt in trying to unveil the true identity of Alison Maxwell’s killer, for example, is downright ridiculous.
Slight spoilers after the jump.