Source: Review copy: Netgalley
Publication 30th May 2019 from Harper Collins
There’s a darkness in the heart of Scotland…
Scream all you want, no one can hear…
Inspector Logan McRae is looking forward to a nice simple case – something to ease him back into work after a year off on the sick. But the powers-that-be have other ideas…
The high-profile anti-independence campaigner, Professor Wilson, has gone missing, leaving nothing but bloodstains behind. There’s a war brewing between the factions for and against Scottish Nationalism. Infighting in the police ranks. And it’s all playing out in the merciless glare of the media. Logan’s superiors want results, and they want them now.
Someone out there is trying to make a point, and they’re making it in blood. If Logan can’t stop them, it won’t just be his career that dies.
If you’re not reading this series, you are missing a massive treat. Like others in the series, All That’s Dead can very well be read as a stand-alone, but the characters, their interplay and development, all make for a reading of this series from the beginning to enjoy watching them grow and to follow their progress. Because these are characters you are invested in; people you care about, from the annoying, irrepressible, on overdrive PC Quirrel, universally known as Tufty, to D.S. Roberta Steele, the permanently vaping, never quite finding a bra that fits, fabulously foul mouthed detective.
In All That’s Dead, Logan McRae is back to Professional Standards after a 12 month absence on sick leave following a stabbing. Though he wasn’t expecting a party, McRae is disconcerted to find that they’ve given his desk away. His new boss, Superintendent Bevan, is all first names, team birthday cards and home baking – not at all what Logan is used to.
Julie, as Bevan insists that McRae calls her, plans to ease him back in to work, assisting D.I. Frank King who is a struggling with a collapsing marriage and who is investigating the disappearance of an academic known for his staunch anti-independence stance.
At once MacBride plunges us into the murky world of extreme Scottish politics; a world where there are no shades of grey and you are a traitor to one side of the debate, whichever side you are on. You would not necessarily think this is the best platform for snappy dialogue and wisecracking, but of course it is in adversity that Logan’s team come into their own, exchanging excruciating and sparkling observations, accompanied by a range of astonishingly queasy food options that add to more than one stomach churning moment in this book.
As Logan begins his stint on the investigation into the abduction of Professor Nicholas Wilson, he soon realises that the team is up against a perpetrator who knows how to avoid leaving trace evidence and soon the team are facing a series of similar abductions and chasing their tails to find and catch the perpetrator, have to face the fact that they are getting nowhere as body parts start to arrive in the mail.
To make matters worse, D.I. King is starting to disintegrate in front of his eyes. The media are in hot pursuit, eager to pin Police Scotland to the wall for any mistakes they may make, and one journalist in particular has King’s youthful indiscretions in his sights.
As the investigation heats up, McRae has to contend with not only the mess that is a faltering King, but also Tufty in serious overdrive, the idiot that is DS Rennie and a host of superior officers whose only concern is that they are not held responsible for any fall out from a botched investigation.
The joy of all of this is that not only do we get a fabulously plotted, gloriously characterised crime novel with a devious perpetrator and a gory campaign plan, but we get it in a smart talking, witty and clever wrapper that makes us laugh out loud and extends our liking for these characters a hundredfold.
Verdict: I loved this book. All That’s Dead is a cracking story, brilliantly told. MacBride is on top form and this is a blistering must read. My only query is whether McRae is really the kind of man who names his todger?
Stuart MacBride was born in Dumbarton, near Glasgow and moved to Aberdeen at the age of two. After dropping out of university to work offshore he went to work for himself as a graphic designer, eventually becoming studio manager for a nationwide marketing company. He gave it all up to have a go at becoming an actor, until it became clear to him that he was never going to be good enough to make a decent living out of it.
Whilst progressing through a whole new career in the IT sector, ending up as project manager for a global IT company, Stuart also wrote in his spare time. He is now the No.1 bestselling author of the Logan McRae series and the Ash Henderson series.
His novels have won him the CWA Dagger in the Library, the Barry Award for Best Debut Novel, and Best Breakthrough Author at the ITV3 Crime Thriller awards. In 2012 Stuart was inducted into the ITV3 Crime Thriller Hall of Fame.
Stuart’s other works include Halfhead, a near-future thriller, Sawbones, a novella aimed at adult emergent readers, and several short stories.
He lives in the north-east of Scotland with his wife, Fiona and cats Grendel, Gherkin, Onion, and Beetroot, some hens, horses, and a vast collection of assorted weeds..