The Cut by Chris Brookmyre reviewed

The Cut Book Cover The Cut
Chris Brookmyre
Little, Brown Book Group UK
March 4, 2021

Millie Spark can kill anyone.

A special effects make-up artist, her talent is to create realistic scenes of bloody violence.

Then, one day, she wakes to find her lover dead in her bed.

Twenty-five years later, her sentence for murder served, Millicent is ready to give up on her broken life - until she meets troubled film student and reluctant petty thief Jerry.

Together, they begin to discover that all was not what it seemed on that fateful night . . . and someone doesn't want them to find out why.

The Cut by Chris Brookmyre

The Cut is set around films and horror ones particularly. It has two narrators. Jerry, young, and a rather light fingered student of film. Millicent, far older, and was a make-up artist on 80s horror films; she was accused of murdering her boyfriend and served a long sentence for the crime. As I write this I’m thinking that this does not sound like my sort of book. I’m not a “film” person and dislike horror particularly. However these rather off the wall ingredients made for a decent read in my mind.

The chapters follow Jerry and Millicent’s stories. Some are in current time and some relate to earlier periods in their lives. In the case of Millicent she tends to be known as Millie in her pre prison life. However when we meet Jerry he is a new student who is not really getting on with his fellow students. He used to be something of a burglar and is still light fingered. Millicent is living with two other older ladies and is clearly rather agoraphobic. She is considering suicide. This is not really giving anything much away as this is all revealed within the first 3/4 chapters of The Cut.

I’ve been a fan of Brookmyre’s books for some years now. Up until this some of the more recent ones have not grabbed me in the way that his early work did. For me parts of this hark back some of the first books I read which I found highly entertaining. Indeed some aspects of this – particularly the interactions between Jerry and Millicent – are really very funny. They are an unlikely “couple” however they are well written and I found them perfectly convincing. They are both rather edgy characters too.

There is often a very dark dry wit present here and it makes for an entertaining read in the main. The gradual “reveal” of the story worked well.  I did find parts, particularly of the historical side of Millie’s story, a little slow/convoluted at times. Other parts were pacey, edgy and amusing. Long term fans of Brookmyre should enjoy The Cut and it is perfectly accessible to those new to the author.

Note – I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review