It should have been Acting DI Logan MacRae’s finest hour and confirmation of his promotion. He single-handedly apprehended a serial killer and saved his final victim. But when it seems as if the case might fall apart, his reward instead is a “development opportunity” – namely leading a team of divisional police in rural Aberdeenshire.
It’s an exciting life – drunk drivers, petty theft, escaped animals – the most exciting case on the books is a gang stealing cash machines from local shops. But things change when the body of a dead girl washes up. Enter the Major Investigation Team from Aberdeen. Logan is ordered to keep dealing with the local cases and leave the major ones that develop to MIT, but his natural instincts – and pressure from his old boss DI Steel – mean that he can’t leave well enough alone. But as matters escalate, it looks like Logan might cross a line that he can never step back from…
Right, before we kick off – a quick message to Stuart MacBride. I know he reads these reviews. You, sir, are an absolute git. Oh, and a fantastic writer, but an absolute git. You know which chapter I’m referring to – it’s near the end. I’m not supposed to be moved almost to tears in a dark crime novel. I’m not supposed to care about the characters so much that when… something happens… and then something doesn’t happen… yeah, you’re a git.
I know this isn’t the sort of fare that the majority of my readers take a look at – in fact, I know at least one of you actively dislikes the, shall we say, coarse phraseology used by DI Steel – but as I’ve said before, this is something different from your average grim-and-gritty Tartan Noir title. Despite the hefty page count, not one page is wasted with anything superfluous as MacBride weaves a tapestry of plot threads that all resolve themselves nicely (well, neatly – it’s not all pleasant) by the end of the tale.
It’s a good idea to move Logan away from Aberdeen as it lets the reader takes a fresh look at him – away from the city, he seems to be doing a really good job sorting out the local division, until the excrement hits the fan from all directions. The character of Logan is a complex and appealing one, as the reader finds themselves willing him not to make the same mistakes of old and hoping against hope of some kind of happy ending for him.
This is a superb read – it made a recent flight into an absolute pleasure, which is saying something when the sod in front of you has his seat so far back that you’ve got your knees around your ears – one of the best of the series to date. A perfect standalone but an outstanding development for the series. Highly Recommended.
Other Stuart MacBride reviews: