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07 March 2015

Stuart MacBride: Dying Light (Logan McRae, Book 2)

Murders still happen in Aberdeen in Summer
In #1 COLD GRANITE in this great Scottish police series Stuart MacBride introduced us to DS Logan Macrae, That time Aberdeen was in the middle of a freezing and wet Scottish winter but this time MacBride shows us that the short summer there can be wonderful, despite the murder rate continuing to climb.

DS Logan Macrae is facing up to the consequences of a botched raid on a warehouse that went wrong when PC Maitland was shot and is now on life-support. His career is in tatters with Professional Standards breathing down his neck and threatening dismissal if Maitland dies. Macrae is moved under the wing of DI Steel, a chain-smoking, foul-mouthed egotistical lesbian who heads up a squad of policemen that nobody else wants - commonly called "The Screw Up Squad". The only comparatively happy thing happening that is happening in his life is that Macrae and WPC Jackie Watson are now cohabiting reasonably happily.

With Steel he gets involved in tracking down a serial killer of prostitutes who leaves them stripped naked and beaten. He is also pulled in by DI Inch to  help when the city is rocked by an arsonist who deliberately screws all exits shut and then lobs petrol bombs into buildings. As well he gets involved with a group of sadistic thugs from Edinburgh who like to cut off fingers - for starters.

While this is a very good and exciting police procedural (warning - some of scenes of torture are amongst the most vivid and horrifying I have read) MacBride spends a lot of time setting up a range of fascinating characters and fleshing out the workings of the local police, press and local authorities.

In later books you will see a lot more of DI Steel and her course humour which livens up the stressful and frequently boring nature of police work. My favourite quote in this book is her comment about the personally remote local female pathologist (normally referred to as "The Ice Maiden") who is an ex-girlfriend of Macrae's - "You used to shag that? Christ your poor little dick must've got frostbite".

The plot is a number of tangled webs which eventually get connected. All in all this is another good book in the series (probably not as great as #1) by an author at the top of his form. I plan to read the rest of the series over coming weeks.

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