A Song For The Dying
by Stuart MacBride
A heart-stopping crime thriller and the fourth consecutive No. 1 Bestseller from the author of the Logan McRae series and Birthdays for the Dead.
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.
I have not read any Stuart MacBride books before, I don’t quite know how I’ve managed that but there you have it. Also I didn’t realise that this was the second in a series; Birthdays for the Dead being the first. However, you don’t need to read them in order, this book works perfectly as a stand-alone.
D.I. Ash Henderson has been in prison for two years, framed for murder by a vicious gangster. He only gets released when Police Scotland needs his help in trying to catch a serial killer that got away from them eight years previously.
I have to say that although Ash Henderson is a hard-bitten, aggressive, violent man, whose answer to anyone who crosses him is to wrap the nearest object around their heads: I absolutely loved him. He just seemed so real. Having Alice, police psychologist, with him throughout was a masterstroke. She brings out a softer side in him, but it is just slightly softer, not sentimental. I can’t decide if he looks on Alice as his girlfriend or the daughter that he has lost. Whichever, he is very protective of her.
Alice herself we don’t really find out too much about her other than she is a psychcologist, she wears red shoes and she twiddles her hair a lot. I would love to see her further developed in future books if possible.
This book is packed with characters, some of them extremely unsavoury, these are not characters that you would want to meet on a dark night; nor in broad daylight come to that. Mrs Kerrigan, Ash’s nemesis, is utterly vile. William McFee, the preacher, whose God is straight out of the Old Testament, is not much better but he works so well. As do they all.
This is a grim book with lots of gruesome violence but there is still a lot of humour to be found and it is very well done. I particularly liked Ash’s internal dialogues.
Macbride has such a flair for language, his description of place and mood of setting are so effective, Scotland in all its hard-bitten granite glory just smacks you in the face.
I have never read a Stuart MacBride book before but I will certainly be rectifying that now.