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Blue Genes is the fifth story in the "Kate Brannigan Series" written by Val McDermid A popular Scottish author. The book was written in 1996 and has been advised that younger reader's do not read it as it has sexual responses and death.
The book starts with Kate Brannigan, a conving PI announcing the fake death of her boyfriend in the newspaper. She does this as two fraudsters - posed as undertakers - have been stealing money from recently mourning people grieving over the loss of dead ones by promising top of the art gravestones in which the result is nothing. After a failed attempt to catch the criminals, a neo-punk rock group led by "Dan Druff" request the help of Kate to catch people tearing up their flyposting. The next morning Kate goes to work only to find out that her partner, Bill has returned from his trip to Australia and has fallen in love with Sheila and plans to marry her, and move to Australia. In the event he sells his shares which leaves Kate heart-broken yet angered, a mutual feeling by the secretary Shelley, who explains her plans to purposely share her sells to confuse and annoy Bill to his worst enemy. Kate declines at first but then begins to think about on the way home. Upon reaching home Kate is confronted by her best friend Alexis, a lesbian journalist whose girlfriend Chris is pregnant, much to Alexis' fright. After a few Vodka's and cigarettes Alexis explains that the doctor responsible for the fertility treatment is murdered and leaves Kate confused as to why she's so scared. Alexis then explains that all eggs in a female reproductive system have an X chromosome which require either another X or Y chromosome from usually a sperm cell, but recent documents lead Alexis to conclude that the doctor Helen Maitlande was performing Illegal tests by mixing two X chromosome's from female eggs and the baby might be taken from her. Kate is asked to find out more and to stop other people from noticing that the doctor isn't round and take her files so the authorities won't find out about the illegal testing. Meanwhile Kate (who previously took photos of the fraudster known as Will Allen's car) heads off to the city centre to find Gizmo an ICT genius who was able to hack into MI5's codes as a teenager. He finds out where Will Allen and his trusty side-kick Sarah Sargeant work and follow them home only to be interrupted and her plans foiled. The next day Kate and her friend Denise (who is the mother of Christie, a girl Kate used to look after during P.E. practices) visit the prison where Dennis, Denise's husband is locked up in. Dennis explains that whoever's trashing the flyposting is costing the band big slice's of money and their record deal will soon be over for the band. That evening Kate follows the fraudsters, this time successfully home, on their way buying a local issue of the chronicle to see who's died that week. Later Sarah Sargaent leaves to confront another man about gravestones but is then interrupted by a woman (who Kate hired) and asked her neighbournot to buy the Gravestone without including their families decision, leaving Sarah pissed off. Kate returns that night only to be confronted by police. More will be written soon.
Ratings and Reviews
The book has received mainly positive views, the Mail on Sunday commenting that Kate Brannigan as "One of the most convincing PI's" giving the book an overall average of 8.7/10, the third best-selling book of the Kate Brannigan series leaving it just behind, The last temptation and The Mermaids Singing.
The book has won no current awards but has been short-listed for five awards, the highest being second place for the Young Adults book of Fictional Events, gaining it a phenomenal reputation of selling 134,000 in a month, the 14th-best-selling book of the UK 1996.