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Dead Beat (Kate Brannigan #1)

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  980 ratings  ·  79 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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Community Reviews

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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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Donna Davis
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
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
Andy Plonka
I don't know why I haven't read any in this series by McDermid, but this book has shown me that that was a big mistake. Though a bit dated and thus a historic tour of computer technology, it showcases Kate Brannigan as a very clever sleuth.
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
Interesting to read a mystery where everyone doesn't have cell phones and laptops and google. There were quite a few words or phrases I had to look up, since this was an English author writing in a different period, even if it was as recent as 1991. I like the detective, Kate Brannigan.
Brannigan is a bit too pert for my taste, but the plot and writing are fine, if I ignore the cutesy factor. That the characters are almost all "types" is something else that bothered me. Disappointing after Wire in the Blood.
Good start to a series

This is an engaging, well written, well plotted mystery with interesting characters. Kate Brannigan is definitely worth building a series around.
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.
Jill Toro-Santiago
Dead beat

A good mystery with nice character development. The fact I guessed the killer spoilt the ending for me. I judge a really good mystery by the fact I was wrong about the protagonist.
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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I really liked this book. I have only read one book by this author previously but a long time ago. I found it very entertaining and the main characters very likeable. I would definitely recommend it to any of my friends who like reading crime novels.
Not bad. Reminded me of the locked room Agatha Christie mysteries with multiple suspects that needed to be whittled down. I still prefer her Tony Hill books more.
Nothing outstanding but a good light vacation read--always love a story with a female lead/heroine; and there were some little character anomalies that added interest.
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
Doctorb Brown
will read more - took a moment to grasp the British slang, but it was fun
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Aleksandar Obradović
Za dvije klase gore od Toni Hil serijala.
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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
More about Val McDermid...

Other Books in the Series

Kate Brannigan (6 books)
  • Kick Back (Kate Brannigan, #2)
  • Crack Down (Kate Brannigan, #3)
  • Clean Break (Kate Brannigan, #4)
  • Blue Genes (Kate Brannigan, #5)
  • Star Struck (Kate Brannigan, #6)
The Mermaids Singing (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #1) The Wire In The Blood (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #2) A Place of Execution Fever of the Bone (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #6) The Distant Echo

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