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Dead Beat (Kate Brannigan #1)

3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  1,303 Ratings  ·  109 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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Oct 29, 2014 Sharon rated it really liked it
Kate Brannigan is a private investigator and her boyfriend Richard is a music reporter. After attending a concert Kate is asked by Jett a singer to find his former girlfriend, Moira. Kate knows this is something she doesn't normally do, so convincing her partner, Bill Mortensen to take the case will be a challenge.

As Kate looks for answers to Moira's whereabouts she discovers places of London that she wished she never had. Just when things look like they might be coming together, Kate finds her
Nov 03, 2011 Helen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 16, 2013 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Christian Schwoerke
Jun 17, 2014 Christian Schwoerke rated it liked it
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
Kay Robinson
Apr 11, 2013 Kay Robinson rated it really liked it
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
Aug 10, 2012 Ken rated it liked it
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
Mar 18, 2012 Marsali Taylor rated it really liked it
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
Feb 23, 2014 Heather rated it it was ok
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.
Mar 20, 2010 Melinda rated it liked it
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!
John The
Jan 14, 2017 John The rated it really liked it
This is the first book in the a series for Val McDermid's second character, Kate Brannigan. Kate is a northern feisty lass working as the junior partner in a PI firm that mainly deals with white collar crime. Unlike with Val's other character, Lindsay Gordon, there is no lesbian or feminist angle constantly being thrust upon the reader and the book is much better for it.
Most white collar crime can be a bit boring and certainly wouldn't be a good vehicle for a series of fictional books so Kate ge
Jackie Cain
Reading this as part of my splurge on Val McDermid books. It is interesting to see her exploring different parts of the genre. This is a private investigator but has a couple of characters who are journalists so really rooted in what she knows.
She creates a great sense of place as well. I know the setting of the North of England and find the treatment very evocative, not overdone but real.
It's a good solid example of the type of book. I'm a bit stingy with my stars to leave some headroom for th
Andy Theyers
Jan 05, 2017 Andy Theyers rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime
I have opinions on this book. Partly, I guess, because it was written 25 years ago and really hasn't aged well. And also because it's so obviously so early in the author's career; she really hasn't honed her craft yet, despite it being her third novel, and only 2 novels before she's nominated for the Golden Dagger for the first time.

Anyhoo. Straight down the line PI fiction; awful anachronistic touches, clumsy characterisation, muddled plot and an obvious outcome.
Nov 29, 2016 Tori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just decided to re-read the Kate Brannigan books for the first time in years. I still enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to reading the rest as I recall they get even better. Val McDermid's characters are so well-rounded that you can lose yourself in her books.
Sarah Craske
Dec 10, 2016 Sarah Craske rated it did not like it
Hmmm crime fiction not for me but this one was so tell and no show
Stephen Bigger
Nov 08, 2016 Stephen Bigger rated it really liked it
Enjoyable, so buying a few more by this author. Good to have a tough female private investigator.
Jan 16, 2017 Spellcheck rated it liked it
This one gets a 2.5.

I decided to read McDermid because I just binged the Wire in The Blood series and loved it.

Since this was her first go round, I'm willing to give it another shot, with the expectation that she has to have done a much better job with her other books.
Val McDermid is one of my favourite authors. However, this book doesn't come anywhere near the high standards of the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series and one or two other standalones. Admittedly this was one of her first novels and was lacking a really good plot and ending. She mentions Agatha Christie in the book and the whodunnit could have come right out of one of her stories.

On the plus side, I thought the relationship between Kate and her partner, Richard was very comical. The banter was super
Jan 12, 2017 Carrie rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery-crime
Held my attention, but I didn't love the protagonist.
Jan 08, 2017 Leslynn rated it really liked it
One of my fav authors, although I've re-read these countless times I am always surprised by the twists in the plot.
Beth S.
The whole plot turns on early '90s technology, so the narrator keeps hilariously stopping to explain things like "what is Tetris" and "how do modems".
Sep 21, 2016 Laurali rated it it was ok
This is the first book in the series, and it was written in 1992 so I have to cut the author some slack. It does hold up to a certain degree, but Kate Brannigan just doesn't engage me as a reader. I've read, and enjoyed other detectives who were a bit loose with their morals and methods...but for some reason Brannigan just doesn't interest me.

The book is well written so I will probably try another of McDermid's series.
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
Ian Brydon
Nov 27, 2015 Ian Brydon rated it liked it
Val McDermid is probably best known for her gritty, gory novels featuring Detective Inspector Carol Jordan and psychiatrist Dr Tony Hill, televised as 'Wire in the Blood' (taking the name of the second novel in the series). By the time she published the first of those novels, however, she had already written two separate series, each featuring engaging female protagonists. Her first three novels revolved around Lindsay Gordon, lesbian journalist who solved fairly traditional whodunit style myste ...more
The Cats Mother
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
Jul 06, 2016 Jerry rated it really liked it
We’ve previously just read two of Scottish crime novelist Val McDermid’s Tony Hill & Carol Jordan novels – and thought we’d try the first in her Kate Brannigan set, “Dead Beat”. Kate is partners with another guy in a private eye firm that mostly deals with white collar crime. But she accepts a job from “Jett”, a rock star, to track down his former gf and co-songwriter Moira. It takes her a while to do so, but she eventually delivers the missing woman to Jett’s estate. Soon enough, Moira is k ...more
Donna Davis
Oct 27, 2012 Donna Davis rated it really liked it
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
Mar 16, 2012 Erin rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, ebook
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
Sep 13, 2016 Dawn rated it really liked it
A page turner that's surprisingly lighthearted given it's from McDermid - she of the rather macabre Tony Hill series of novels. I found her second Tony Hill novel - Wire in the blood - so gruesome in its depiction of the murders that occur in the book that I had to stop reading it. Someone's head get bashed in Dead Beat but you don't (thankfully) get a blow by blow account of it.

While this book is full of cliches and stereotypes (everyone from rock star to the grubby journalist is portrayed exa
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
Dec 31, 2011 Sharon Michael rated it liked it
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
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Val McDermid is a No. 1 bestseller whose novels have been translated into more than thirty languages, and have sold over eleven million copies.

She has won many awards internationally, including the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year and the LA Times Book of the Year Award. She was inducted into the ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame in 2009 and was the recipient of the CWA Cart
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