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15 January 2013

Stuart Macbride: Close to the Bone

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This was one of the best detective stories I have read for a long time. I wanted a break from the many LAPD, NYPD etc. police thrillers from the USA and Stuart Macbride certainly delivered that break.  Acting DI Logan McRae and PS Roberta Steel of the Aberdeen police in Scotland are about as far away from most US police investigators as an iceberg from a tropical island.

This is not a book for the faint hearted and parts are very graphic.  The storyline is tough and complex, starting with a murder where someone is "necklaced" with a burning tyre, apparently stabbed and then left to slowly die. MacRae is upset that someone is leaving bundles of what look like chicken bones (are they?) tied up in a nice parcels on his doorstep. A couple of 18 year olds seem to have run off together. But nothing is as it seems.

While this is a serious book it is also frequently a very amusing book making me laugh out loud on several occasions. The main characters fight each other and resort to humour and profanity as a defence from the stresses of their real world. The brilliantly funny chain smoking lesbian PS Steel is definitely the winner in the humour and profanity stakes - so much so I was hesitant to include any of her best responses in this review.

Stuart Macbride is one of the UK's best authors of detective novels and this book is one of his best.

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