Here we are with Stevie Fullerton, one of Glasgow's top-level gangsters, in the now-trendy Old Croft Brasserie. But scratch beneath the favourable food reviews and the room's fashionable refit, and you'll find the nicotine-stained walls and Buckfast-bottled gantry of the Bleachers Vaults, the uninviting drinking den Stevie knew so well when he was on the bottom rung of the city's crime ladder.
In Glasgow, you can give these places - and the people who inhabit them - a respectable veneer, but the past will always be bristling with menace somewhere close to the surface.
A few pages further on, and Stevie is slumped over the steering wheel of his Bentley in his own dodgy car wash. It would appear that the bullets puncturing his corpse came from a gun wielded by back-from-the-dead hitman Glen Fallan. Fallan, readers of the earlier books will remember, has just told Jasmine he killed her dad, a fellow gangster called Jazz, about whom Jasmine's late mother had told her next to nothing.
Fallan is something of a guardian angel to Jasmine but embodies everything DI McLeod hates about the Glasgow crime scene, so the policewoman is elated when he is arrested for the murder. Such an easy resolution doesn't exist in Brookmyre's world, however. He spins webs here, there and everywhere to create a complex but compelling plot.
Flesh Wounds is his most mature novel to date: each character, including those far down the food chain, is given a narrative arc that comes to a full and satisfying conclusion, even as the story reaches back in time to the 1980s, when Fallan, Fullerton and Jasmine's mother Yvonne set in motion the events that will haunt them down the decades. And if Brookmyre's characters are good, the relationships he builds between them are even better.
Brookmyre's handling of past history as an unforgiving stalker of the present, and insight into the emotional and psychological states of his characters, go beyond what he has already achieved. The trilogy that ends perfectly with Flesh Wounds has given the author (published in truncated form as Chris rather than Christopher) a chance to flex his literary muscles.
Indeed, while he's been working at a more emotional level with Jasmine and Catherine, he's also been able to indulge himself with his most boysy standalone novels, Pandaemonium (which rewrote the rules of horror movies) and Bedlam (which thrust its hero into a universe made up of computer game scenarios). The direct contrast of styles has served him well.
Too often parallel plots in crime fiction exist only to pad out a novel's length, then end up being held together by the rusty staple of contrivance. Here Brookmyre weaves his different story strands together relishing the way he can play one against the other to create a whole that ends up with more depth than the sum of its parts.
He lets no one off his precisely sharpened hooks: a paid killer has the strictest moral code; a high-ranking cop is ethically compromised; an actress-turned-investigator shows her newfound strength; a tough-skinned policewoman reveals her long-buried vulnerabilities. Flesh Wounds is a parade of the good, the bad and everyone in between, but not necessarily lined up like the genre's usual suspects.