Macbride en­thrals again

Kapi-Mana News - - REVIEW -

Stu­art Macbride - Shat­ter The Bones (HarperCollins)

I’ve got a bla­tant bias for Stu­art Macbride’s books, but you can’t ar­gue that the man can put to­gether a po­lice pro­ce­dural/ thriller.

Macbride’s se­ries fea­tur­ing De­tec­tive Sergeant Lo­gan McRae are set in the Gran­ite City – Aberdeen, Scot­land – where I lived for two years. When he talks of the city’s dodgy pubs, re­lent­less rain and bit­ing North Sea wind, dour res­i­dents and the end­less coun­cil flats, I can re­late.

Macbride is for Aberdeen what Rankin is for Edinburgh and the awards he has reaped shows that crime fic­tion is not the sole do­main of the south of Scot­land.

Macbride’s eighth book in the McRae se­ries, Shat­ter The Bones, can cer­tainly be read stand­alone, but I of­ten di­rect peo­ple to the first, Cold Gran­ite (2005).

His style of writ­ing is easy, with just a slight sprin­kling of Scots di­alect; nowhere near as hard to read as Irvine Welsh. Macbride’s nov­els are one part hi­lar­i­ous – that black hu­mour that Scots are so known for – two parts de­tec­tive novel/pro­ce­dural and seven parts taut, psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller. Ad­jec­tives such as ‘‘gutchurn­ing’’ and ‘‘hard­hit­ting’’ come to mind – Macbride is not afraid to push the bound­aries of de­prav­ity and sick­ness that lurks in some peo­ple’s minds.

Vic­tims meet grisly deaths with pre­vi­ous nov­els cov­er­ing sub­jects such as can­ni­bal­ism, mu­ti­la­tion and se­rial mur­der. Not for the squea­mish.

In Shat­ter The Bones, DS McRae faces his usual hur­dles within the Grampian Po­lice Force that hin­der him from be­ing an ef­fec­tive cop­per. He is on the case of a mother and daugh­ter who have been kid­napped; as they were fi­nal­ists in a re­al­ity TV singing con­test, it has cre­ated a me­dia sen­sa­tion.

The in­stant celebrity cul­ture within the UK gets an acer­bic slam­ming from Macbride’s pen, as does the at­ti­tudes and meth­ods within mod­ern polic­ing.

There is so much pres­sure from above to solve the case that McRae is con­tin­u­ously hin­dered from get­ting on and do­ing his job. It’s a page-turner, pure and sim­ple, per­fect for a win­ter’s night.

You root unashamedly for the fiercely loyal McRae, loathe and love in equal amounts his chainsmok­ing les­bian boss DI Steel, and hope they can solve the case.

But, I warn you, Macbride isn’t a big one for happy end­ings.

Re­view by Kris Dando

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