Dead Beat (Kate Brannigan, #1)
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Dead Beat (Kate Brannigan #1)

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  762 ratings  ·  66 reviews
'This is crime writing of the very highest order ! Kate Brannigan has turned into the most interesting sleuthess around' The Times
Paperback, 275 pages
Published October 1st 2002 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1992)
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Bill Mortensen and Kate Brannigan made up the private investigators who investigated fraud and white collar crime, so when Jett, singer, songwriter and musician asked her to find an old friend of his as a favour, she was hesitant. But with the grudging approval of her partner, she took it on. Never having done a missing person before, Kate got right into it, and before long she was deeply involved in the sleazy side of London, discovering parts she hadn’t known had existed.

As she dug deeper, Kat...more
Heard an interview with Brannigan on BBC World Service not long ago and thought I'd give her a try. This book was just OK, but I'm willing to keep going with the author because other reviewers have noted that she gets better. I've just switched over to her Tony Hill series which is crazy gory and moves along at a much faster pace. So far I'm liking it better.
Christian Schwoerke
I came to this genre novel via my reading on the doings of Manchester, England, as I’d recently moved here from the United States. McDermid was cited as introducing a PI who worked a Manchester beat, as was Cath Staincliffe, whose novel Go Not Gently I read recently with the same impulse to get at more of what the city’s culture is about.

While ably telling her story about Kate Brannigan, PI and co-owner/operator of Brannigan and Mortensen, McDermid introduces many references to the city’s cultur...more
Comparisons to Sarah Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski series are unavoidable. Both writers create tales of female investigators who solve crimes in a straightforward and down-to-earth manner, and also take the reader on a detailed tour of a particular locality. Paretsky's novels are set in the greater Chicagoland area, and McDermid takes the reader to the Manchester/Bradford/Leeds areas of northern England. DEAD BEAT features Manchester-based detective, Kate Brannigan, as she attempts to solve the mur...more
Marsali Taylor
I really enjoyed re-reading this - it's just filled with the sort of characters that are fun to spend time with. The star and narrator is Manchester's youngest PI, the wise-cracking Kate Brannigan, and other people in the stories include her rock journalist boyfriend Richard and her journalist pal Alexis. The plot keeps you turning the pages, and the jokes keep you smiling. This series is not as gruesome as the 'wire in the blood' books, it focuses on neat plotting and atmosphere. It's also fasc...more
I've read all of the Tony Hill series and most of her standalone thrillers, but hadn't got round to her first series before, which features Kate Brannigan, PI. It's not bad for a first novel - much more light-hearted and without the gruesomeness of her later books, but given it was published in 1992 and is full of early 90s musical references ( the worst period in music history IMHO) and quaint descriptions of what at the time was no doubt brand new technology ( she has to explain what Tetris is...more
I'm glad this is not the first book of Val McDermid I have read, if it had been I am sure it would have been my last. I struggled all the way through it as I found it dull and many of her characters wooden and unbelievable. ms mcDermid has gone on to write some great who dunnits, this just wasn't one of them.
After the sheer genius of the Tony Hill series and others such as A Place of Execution, this wasn't quite what I hoped it would be. Still, it was a good read and I won't give up on the Kate Brannigan series just yet!
Pretty good for a first book. I like Kate; though she kind of strikes me as one of the people whom everyone wants to kick for having their life a little too well in order.

The mystery here wasn't all that complicated (I pretty much guessed who the bad guy was early on), but the author comes at it in a bit of a roundabout way that's rather interesting and unique. Kate starts the book working on a couple of other cases at the beginning and we don't actually get to the murder bit until nearly halfw...more
I have just recently read a newer Val McDermid novel and wanted to see what her older works were like. I was very happy with this first installment of her Kate Brannigan series. Kate is a private detective with 2 years of law school behind her. She decided she would rather do private investigation than law and quit school to work with her friend Bill.

Kate is investigating a fraud case in which a phony cooperation is making phony copies of anything from Rolex watches to band merchandise. In the m...more
This is the very first novel Val McDermid wrote. I have to say, I like it so much more than those that came after.

This was cleverly put together, cleverly paced, the characters worked...there were no inconsistencies. On the one hand, it was not one of the Mary-Sunshine mystery books that I cannot even pick up again (happy homemaker solves crime, because she is so much more practical than most people...or better yet, dog solves. Cat solves. Caterer solves, and here are her recipes! NO, never agai...more
Oct 30, 2012 Nancy added it
Re-release of the electric debut of Kate Brannigan, a Manchester, England-based private detective whose hobbies include Thai kick-boxing, computer hacking, and a misadventurous relationship with her journalist boyfriend, Richard.It's no thanks to Richard that Kate agrees to take on a strange missing persons case as a personal favor to a rock star, and no thanks to Richard that she is immediately reminded of why such cases are best avoided. Every rock star is on the hunt for a good lyricist, but...more
Sharon Michael
This is the first book I've read in this series and I found it an entertaining and very readable mystery. Good characters, reasonable plotline. While I don't consider it an outstanding book, it is definitely a series I will continue with.

The flaws, for me, may be mostly a matter of it being a first book in the series, as the characters are not quite as defined and individual as I prefer them. I would expect the ongoing books will flesh out the main characters more with time.

The other thing that...more
Kay Robinson
The first of the Kate Brannigan series, and as always I've held off until I'm ready to start at the beginning. Quite a different style of working than Lindsay Gordon, not to mention lifestyle of course, and the change to a leading character that starts with a purpose rather than stumbling into the situation as the latter did. Fast paced, plenty of action and even placed in a location that I know so well, although the error in calling Ardwick Green 'Ardwick Common' seemed strange to me as the onl...more
Well written English mystery and the first in this series with Kate Brannigan, computer sleuth. Interesting side characters and witty commentary on our Western society.
Chris Porter
After the Tony Hill series, this first Kate Brannigan book felt a little lame. Mind you, after the Tony Hill series, almost anything would feel lame!
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It wasn't deep, but it was really enjoyable. Just what I needed while tackling heavier topics. I had not read McDermid before. I like her new detective and will come back. The story centers around Kate Brannigan's first murder investigation. Her boyfriend, a rock reporter, knows a musician called Jett, whose first assignment for Kate is just a missing persons job. Then things go downhill. The characters are interesting and all dislikable enough to be murderers, but McDermid keeps us guessing unt...more
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A British PI (set in Manchester) is hired by a rock star to find an old collaborator/girl friend. Once found, she turns up dead, and the rock star hires the PI to find the killer. In typical British murder mystery fashion, all but one of the suspects live in the mansion with the rock star, and every one has motive and opportunity. The PI does a creditable job of sorting out the mess, then resolves the case with another typicla British murder mystery conventions: assembling all the suspects in on...more
Kate Brannigan, Private Investigator is hired by rock legend Jett to locate and bring back his former lover and lyricist Moira. Kate discovers that Moira has had some troubles since she left Jett and when she finally finds her and convinces her to meet with him, it all starts go go awry. From Moira's relationship with her partner to Jett's entourage, not everyone is pleased about her return. Kate is drawn deeper into the quadmire as Jett hires her to find Moira's murderer. It could be an inside...more
Competently written, but I was bored out of my mind.

Typical serial mystery fare, with competent female private dick. Characters are above-average cardboard, with occasional strange inconsistencies: the boyfriend seemed made up of cute smiles, black rim glasses, a supposed laid-back personality yet with rage sufficient to be punching through walls; the boss was a bear who loved her; etc.

The plot is slipping out of my mind even as I type. They tell me this series improves much as it goes on. Even...more
It wasn't my usual Tony and Carol book by McDermid and certainly didn't have the same punch. I think I will just patiently wait for their next book.
Fiona Veitch
I'm a Val McDermid fan and particularly enjoy her Wire in the Blood Series. I also enjoyed The Grave Tattoo. But this bored me. I found myself skipping entire chunks. In the end I didn't care who had dunnit I just wanted it to be over. Sorry. I give it 2 stars though because I enjoyed some of the characterisations and Val is still a good writer in terms of style and sentence construction. So not poorly written, just poorly conceived and structured.
Richard Thompson
This one seemed a bit unfocused. Or maybe it was me. In any case, I didn't find it as compelling at the others in the series.

Brannigan is hired to find the missing former girlfriend and former collaborator of a famous musician named Jett. That take up the first half of the book. The second half deals with a different case (murder) related to the first case. Brannigan seems to be stumbling about a lot of the time, especially in the second half.
I am still loving the Val McDermid stories. This is a new to me series, Kate Brannigan is the main character, she is a PI. The story starts as a normal PI job of following up on a robbery and then moves into finding a person and then solving a murder. Along the way Kate uses cunning and some underhanded methods to solve each of the crimes. Not always the most legal methods but she gets it done and gets her man.
Kate is a bit too smooth a character for my taste. I mean, she doesn't have any of these peculiar and strangely attractive inconsistencies and flaws of personality, like Tony and Carol do. Just another one in the long list of efficient, perfect female detective characters, and there's plenty of them already. I think though, I may grow on her over time. And she's not a lesbian, which is a relief (joking!).
I read this as a "palate cleanser" between some other books and wasn't particularly impressed. Only the main character is very well-developed. The ending isn't great and reading it quite a few years after publication, there's a technology twist that these days we know would have left tracks. Eh... not really recommended.
Balthazar Lawson
This is the first in the Kate Brannigan series and I really liked it. I've several others in the series and was always wanting to know where the series started. It was well worth the read. It's an easy read, easy to follow but wholly entertaining.
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Val McDermid was born and schooled on the east coast of Scotland and then Oxford University after which she became a journalist.

Her first book, Report for Murder was published in 1987 and since then she has gone on to have 25 more books published.

She lives in Manchester and Northumberland with 3 cats.
More about Val McDermid...
The Mermaids Singing (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #1) The Wire In The Blood (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #2) A Place of Execution The Torment of Others (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #4) Fever of the Bone (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #6)

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