"There is no one in contemporary crime fiction who has managed to combine the visceral and the humane as well as Val McDermid. . . . She's the best."-The New York Times Book Review "McDermid has a sharp ear for the dialogue and intrinsic humor of the Manchester dialect. . . . She manages, as always, to combine her wit and exuberant writing with a careful and clever plot and oodles of perceptive social observation."-The Times (London) Bodyguarding had never made it to Manchester PI Kate Brannigan's wish list. But somebody's got to pay the bills at Brannigan & Co., and if the only earner on offer is playing nursemaid to a paranoid soap star, the fast-talking, computer-loving, white-collar-crime expert has to swallow her pride and slip into something more glam than her Thai-boxing kit. Soon, however, offstage dramas overshadow the fictional storylines, culminating in the unscripted murder of the self-styled "Seer to the Stars," and Kate finds herself with more questions than answers. What's more, her tame hacker has found virtual love, her process server keeps getting arrested, and the ever-reliable Dennis has had the temerity to get himself charged with murder. Nobody told her there'd be days like these . . .