The Missing and The Dead – Stuart MacBride

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imageOne mistake can cost you everything.

When you catch a twisted killer there should be a reward, right? What Acting Detective Inspector Logan McRae gets instead is a ‘development opportunity’ out in the depths of rural Aberdeenshire. Welcome to divisional policing – catching drug dealers, shop lifters, vandals and the odd escaped animal.

Then a little girls body washes up just outside the sleepy town of Banff, kicking off a massive manhunt. The Major Investigation Team is up from Aberdeen, wanting answers, and they don’t care who they trample over to get them.

Logan’s got enough on his plate keeping B division together, but DCI Steel wants him back on her team. As his old colleagues stomp around the countryside burning bridges, Logan gets dragged deeper and deeper into the investigation.

One thing’s clear: there are dangerous predators lurking in the wilds of Aberdeenshire, and not everyone’s going to get out alive.

His best yet….

In keeping with the changes to Scottish policing over the last few years, MacBride has given protagonist McRae a ‘development opportunity’ in the back of beyond, and it’s one of his most brilliant moves yet. It has opened up the way for a great new cast of characters, good and bad alike, to meet and discover,  like Klingon and Gerbil,  Deano, Nicholson and my person favourite, Constable ‘Tufty’ Quirrell.  (particularly as I’m old enough to remember the ‘Tufty’ club… ahem… onwards)

At the same time we haven’t lost the books best character (aside from protagonist McRae obvs), the brilliant DCI Roberta Steel. In The Missing And The Dead, she is as grizzly, cantankerous and as non politically correct as ever, while she does what she does best, helping McRae every which way she can, even if it never seems so at the time.

The backdrop of the normality of everyday policing that features throughout the books is also a real breath of fresh air when it comes to police procedurals, against the starkness of the crimes being investigated, it almost comes as ‘light relief’ and yet never takes away its seriousness, or the important part it plays in the plot.

Speaking of the plotting, as always it is sublime, as intricately woven as ever, with not a wasted anecdote amongst those told.  Everything fits together perfectly.  This is one series that does nothing but improve, nine McRae novels in and MacBride has gone from strength to strength with The Missing and The Dead being quite simply his best yet.

 

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A Book A Day, Sunday Wrap Up #2

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F is For

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Flesh House by Stuart MacBride.  Flesh House is the fourth book in the Logan McRae series and is the pivotal point where a good character becomes a great character.  It’s dark, gruesome and you’ll never look at bacon the same way again.

G is For

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The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly.  Mickey Haller Book 5. The latest installment of just one of Michael Connelly’s fabulous series.  If you love legal thrillers with a great twist, get into these.

H is For

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Hostage by Kristina Ohlsson, I haven’t read this one yet but with its plot of a plane in flight being taken by force and being held for ransom it’s one I’m keen to read.

I is For

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In The Dark by Mark Billingham.  In The Dark was the first standalone novel that Billngham wrote after taking a break in his Tom Thorne series of novels.  Since then however, main character Helen Weeks has appeared more often, crossing over and enhancing the Thorne books.

J is For

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Joyland by Stephen King.  I’ve only ever read one Stephen King novel, which was Mr Mercedes.  I’m now moving on to try a few more recently adding this one to my TBR pile.

K is For

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Kind of Cruel by Sophie Hannah.  Always dark, detailed, and extremely well plotted, Sophie Hannah’s books are a guaranteed riveting read.

L is For

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Long Way Home by Eva Dolan.  Way too many good friends have told me this is brilliant.  One day soon, I hope, I’ll get to find out…

A book a day, Sunday wrap up #1

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A is for….

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A Song For The Dying by Stuart MacBride. The second in the Ash Henderson series, this is a gritty, gripping tale that you won’t want to put down.

B is for….

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Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes. High up in my To Be Read pile, I’m really keen to get to this one as it looks fabulous.

C is for….

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Cut Out by Fergus McNeill. Book 3 in his series featuring DI Graham Harland, Cut Out had me up until the early hours of the morning determined to get it finished.

D is for….

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Dead Men’s Dust by Matt Hilton. If you are a fan of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher or Robert Crais’ Elvis Cole & Joe Pike then you will love Matt Hilton. Dead Men’s Dust introduces us to Joe Hunter, a fabulous character who’s still going from strength to strength a fabulous 9 books later.

E is for….

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Entry Island by Peter May. Shortlisted for the Specsavers Crime Thriller Book Club Award 2014, this is another book that has recently moved higher up my To Be Read pile.

A Song For The Dying – Stuart MacBride

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He’s back…

Eight years ago, ‘The Inside Man’ murdered four women and left three more in critical condition – all of them with their stomachs slit open and a plastic doll stitched inside.

And then the killer just … disappeared.

Ash Henderson was a Detective Inspector on the initial investigation, but a lot can change in eight years. His family has been destroyed, his career is in tatters, and one of Oldcastle’s most vicious criminals is making sure he spends the rest of his life in prison.

Now a nurse has turned up dead on a patch of waste ground, a plastic doll buried beneath her skin, and it looks as if Ash might finally get a shot at redemption. At earning his freedom.

At revenge.

Venturing once more away from his serial protagonist Logan McRae, A Song for the Dying is the second outing for Ash Henderson.

Following on from the tragic events of Birthdays For The Dead, A Song For The Dying opens with Ash in prison and unable to get out, as every time a parole review comes round Mrs Kerrigan, one of Oldcastles most heinous villains, ensures that with the help of the other inmates he stays where he is.

Ash is about as downtrodden a hero as you are likely to find, and hell bent on revenge he’ll bring anyone else down with him, friends and colleagues alike.

What I really enjoy most about the Ash Henderson books is the change in pace from the McRae books. Whilst they are every bit as dark, gritty and down right awful to their protagonist, the usual intricate plots also come with a faster feel that hurtles you along with investigation, ensuring you feel every bit as determined to solve the crime.

Halfhead – Stuart B MacBride

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There are worse things than the death penalty…

They call them halfheads: convicted criminals, surgically mutilated and lobotomized by the State, then sent out to do menial jobs in the community so everyone will know what happens when you break the law. There are no appeals, no reprieves, and no one ever comes back. Until now.

Dr Fiona Westfield, one of the most prolific serial killers Glasgow has ever seen, is waking up. Surrounded by blood and death and darkness.

William Hunter has risen through the ranks since putting Westfield away; now he’s Assistant Network Director, in charge of police actions. But a routine murder investigation is about to embroil him in an appalling conspiracy.

The vast connurb blocks on Glasgow’s deprived south side are ready to explode. Eleven years ago the VR riots killed millions – now someone wants to start them all over again. And Will is being dragged back into a past he desperately wants to forget…

Without the B, Stuart MacBride writes slick, gruesome thrillers featuring DS Logan McRae.

I’ve read all of these, so you’d think I’d be used to the level of blood, guts and gore that spout from each vein of violent prose, but oh no, this novel is far more disturbing.

The bleak future setting, with its inhumane justice system, combined with the fantastic plotting and fabulous writing, make this one novel that will certainly create a few sleepless nights.

Go. Get it. Then enjoy.