by Stuart MacBride
DS Logan McRae and the police in Aberdeen hunt a child killer who stalks the frozen streets. Winter in Aberdeen: murder, mayhem and terrible weather!
It’s DS Logan McRae’s first day back on the job after a year off on the sick, and it couldn’t get much worse. Four-year-old David Reid’s body is discovered in a ditch, strangled, mutilated and a long time dead. And he’s only the first. There’s a serial killer stalking the Granite City and the local media are baying for blood.
Soon the dead are piling up in the morgue almost as fast as the snow on the streets, and Logan knows time is running out. More children are going missing. More are going to die. And if Logan isn’t careful, he could end up joining them!
After reading Song for The Dying by Stuart MacBride last year and really enjoying it, I decided I would like to read some more by this author. Not having read any of his Logan McRae series it seemed prudent to start at the beginning. I was prepared for it to be a little unpolished, being the first book, but in actual fact it is very accomplished.
Logan McRae has just returned to work after an attack that almost cost him his life and also earns him the nickname Laz (Lazarus). McRae is a little different from most other detectives in that he is not a manic- depressive or alcoholic and that’s a refreshing change. His first case back involves a serial killer, targeting children. This is a very tough subject to stomach, especially if you are a parent. But Stuart Macbride does not flinch away from tough subjects and his handling of it is extremely well done. While it is brutal it never feels gratuitous.
The pathologist on the case is Isobel MacAlister. She is McRae’s ex-girlfriend, and the history between them has not been completely resolved leaving working together a little awkward at times. But it gives an authenticity to new characters and a feeling of depth.
The other main character who shares star billing with McRae is D.I. Insch who is a fabulous character; ranting, worrying, snippets of black humour. My worry for him is that he will have a heart attack due to the constant diet of various sweets.
The Aberdeen weather plays almost as big a roll as any of the characters. The incessant rain, which only pauses to allow blizzards of hail, sleet and snow to sneak in. To say that Aberdeen is not presented as a tourist attraction is an understatement of the highest order.
Although the subject matter is undoubtedly dark, there is a black humour that runs through the book which probably reflects real life. I also loved the fact that it was actual police work that saw McRae through rather than the divine inspiration that sometimes suffices in other crime novels.
I really enjoyed this book and will definitely be making my way through the series Highly recommended.