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on 10 May 2010
This is one of the easiest books I've had to review in a while:

If you've loved the previous 5 Logan McRae books you'll love this because its very much up to standard.
If you've hated the previous 5 Logan McRae books you'll hate this because .......... its very much up to standard.

For the rest of us who don't have really strong emotions one way or the other you'll probably find it an entertaining enough read. Crime fiction is a very broad genre and covers everything from the crime literature of Ian Rankin & John Harvey through to the darker humour of people like Christopher Brookmyre and Colin Bateman to the serial killer by numbers of americans like Patterson and Deaver. All very, very different types of novel. MacBride writes his own thing. He's not up to the standard of the Rebus novels so if you want another Ian Rankin you'll be disappointed with this. However if you like a fast moving less heavy weight crime novel with a vein of twisted dark humour this will probably tick the boxes.

I was reasonably impressed with 'Dark Blood'... it was slower to get started than some of the previous books and the various crimes seemed at first unlinked but it came together fairly convincingly at the end. The supporting characters, especially the truly foul DI Steel are rather overblown and rather stereotypical but this makes for some cheap laughs and adds some humour thats lacking in many crime novels. DS McRae himself is a believable and likeable character who showing some good character development. The pressure of his job especially the constant criticism in both his personal and professional life is leading to a fairly serious drink problem which in turn is making his life far harder. The situation he's constantly in of three superiors telling him to do three different things which inevitably means two of them will want his head on a plate the next morning is one I can relate too and you genuinely feel sorry for the poor guy being stuck between a rock (the monsterous DI Steel) and a hardplace (the idiot DI Beattie)

For some reason MacBride gets a lot of critism for being 'unrealistic'. The easy rebuke to that is 'its fiction'. If you want realism read true crime books. Even then its unfair because there's more realism in these books than many others. When Big Hamish Moffat sends the enforcers round to McRae's house McRae is damn scared. Compared to Rebus's relationship with Big Ger Cafferty its more plausible. Likewise McRae's drinking and attitude problems lead to an almost weekly meeting with professional standards and he's on the point of losing his job several times in this book. Rebus gets away with far too much for far too long with almost no censure. 'Dark Blood' is forensically quite accurate and there are some details in it that could only have come from a pathologist. Although fairly graphic in places its not nearly as sadistically violent as some of the books Val McDiarmid or Mo Hayder have written.

All in all I enjoyed 'Dark Blood' and was glad I bought it.

I'll sign off with one of my favourite sermons: most of the criticism this book has picked up is because of the policies of the major publishers not the authors themselves. They're signing less and less new talent and giving popular authors multi book contracts that force them to turn out a new work every 12 months. As a result quality is slipping and great characters are being written into soap operas in print. If JRR Tolkien tried getting the Lord of the Rings published in 2010 most publishers wouldn't want to know and any that did print his works would expect a new episode of Bilbo Baggins adventures every 12 months. This policy is killing literature.
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on 20 August 2011
This was my first Macbride, and like many other reviewers was initially put off by the foul language and attitude of DI Steel. However I stuck with it and when I realised I could laugh at her and the other characters I was riveted. The plot held together well and the scene where DI Beattie shows his 'powerpoint skills' had me laughing out loud; and I re read it three times! Anyone who works in an 'institution' will recognise the characters and absurdities that Macbride brings to life so well. I look forward to reading the rest of the books now.
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on 31 August 2010
*Review of unabridged audio version read by the author*

This is Stuart MacBride's sixth book in the Logan McRae series and they are not for the squeamish. To call them gruesome is to put it mildly. In fact I thought that in the fourth of the series, Flesh House, he overstepped the mark of what most would consider crime fiction and strayed into horror territory, and I was sorry I had read it. I had all but decided not to read any more, until the next in the series, Blind Eye, came out and was available in unabridged audio format read by the author himself. I was intrigued and bought it. Thankfully he, (or maybe his publisher?), seemed to have realised that he had gone too far in Flesh House, and the violence had been toned down. When you consider that, as the title hints, it involved people having their eyes gouged and burned out, you will get some idea of how hard edged the series can be. With Dark Blood the gruesome has been toned down another notch. However the author seems to take an almost schoolboy delight in throwing in as many bodily function references, with vomiting the current favourite, as he can, much to the detriment of some good plotting and great characters.

MacBride does a very good job of most of the accents with which his characters speak, but I may be just a bit cynical in suspecting that he is giving characters accents which he can do. If so he might want to seek a second opinion on his 'Essex Girl'.

Overall an enjoyable 'listen' and good to see McRae at last winning one fight after so many second prizes, albeit injuring himself, AGAIN, in the process. If only someone in the editorial team could make the author excise the 'yeuch' factor. The books may be reduced by 50 to 100 pages but would be much improved for it.
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Stuart MacBride is a master writer of crime fiction.

Based in Aberdeen Scotland this type of book or rather genre is referred to 'Tartan Noir'.

This is Policing in the rough.

In this case his series of books feature the all too believable DS Logan McRae.
Laz short for Lazarus is an all too human copper with not only a sharp brain but a heart.

Over the series of books we are witness to the gradual changes in McRae as he suffers all the slings and arrows of an officious hierarchy in the police, a number of fantastically complicated superiors, the press that either loves of loathes him often in equal measure, an unforgiving hard as granite underworld and his stream of romantic interests.

Above all else is the granite city of Aberdeen- cold and hard, human an as cold as a witches tit in mid Winter.

MacBride writes with conviction skill great pace and above all else vastly entertaining.

The best novels have a central character that the story hangs on- often the story may not be great but because the lead character is so strong we stick with it.

Think of Sherlock Holmes- some of Conan Doyles Stories were not half as good as others but the lead character was so strong it more than made up for a lesser story.
All the best authors have great central characters- Poirot, Miss Marple, Foyle, Daziel and Pascoe Morse- see what I mean.
McRae is up there with them. A fabulous central; character written by a talented story teller.

You read one MacBride novel with regret that it has ended yet so happy that there is more in the series to follow.

Now I have been lucky. I came across MacBride in audio mode.
I was hooked from the off.

Since then I have devoured as many of his books as I can lay hands on.
Each and everyone has been great.

So is this book.
The plot I don't need to go into but the usual suspects are here, Laz, the fabulous DI Steele a hard talking,hard as nails guvn'r.
Who is so dam Un PC that only she can get away with what she says.

The plot twist and turns and MacBride has that happy knack of taking us through all the typical case loads of a busy Scottish DI.

This story is brilliant.
MacBride is a brilliant Crime Writer.

One suggestion?
Get the others before you read this you will only end up buying them all after reading this fabulous book.
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on 4 May 2010
First of all I'd like to declare myself as someone that has read all the books in the logan macrae series. And also would like to say that the last review giving this book a one star review is just unfair, "unrealistic characters saying unrealistic things in an unrealistic setting", hmmmmmm, now unrealistic characters might be close to the mark but as a resident of aberdeen myself Stuart always stays fairly true to his location. Nice to see some local news stories making it into the book as well with Trumpy's golf course development featured. However, I must say I am starting to get tired of Stuart Macbrides preoccupation with describing the gruesome, just plain manky! That said if you're a fan of other macrae novels you'll no doubt read it cover to cover and enjoy the journey! Enjoy
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on 2 February 2011
Whilst a fan of Macbride and a reader of all his previous Logan McCrae work, I found this book a let-down........largely due to a weak story line and an overblown emphasis on the foul and abusive dialogue offered by DI Steel......thw whole thing was neither here nor there and I look forward to much better fayre in the future
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on 7 May 2010
Stuart MacBride has used a true crime story as the basis for this novel, the sixth in the Logan McRae series. It serves as the main case among the Detective Sergeant's work overload, exacerbating his moodiness, drinking and smoking, all of which is heightened, of course, by his interaction with DI Steele, one of the more interesting characters in the genre. On top of her continually riding Logan, he has to cope with another superior, incompetent DI Beattie.
The main plot involves Richard Knox, a man convicted of raping an elderly grandfather.

After serving his time, Knox decides to come to Aberdeen and occupy his late grandmother's home. He is brought to the Scottish city by DI Danby, who originally arrested him. The arrival of Knox sets off waves of protest and his house is burned down. He is whisked off to a "safe" house, from which he is sooon kidnapped. Logan, among others, has the task of "protecting" Knox, so it falls to him to find him and the reason for his abduction. At the same time, DI Danby disappears, doubling Logan's task.

The lengthy novel is awash in various subplots, keeping Logan busy virtually 24/7. It seems he has to stop a flood of counterfeit currency in Aberdeen, the murder of a confidential informant, and a couple of jewelry store robberies, among other side issues. All in a day's (or week's) work. Despite the book's length, it is fast reading, tautly plotted and engrossing. Logan, Steele and the other characters are all interesting, and the dialogue, as usual, sparkling.

Recommended.
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on 7 January 2011
There were times when I was wondering why I was still reading this - the literary equivalent of watching from behind the sofa - because it is pretty bleak at times. The humour and the characters keep you going, and Mcrae isn't just a cardboard cop-with-issues; his character develops, which is refreshing. Addictive.
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on 6 November 2012
Not one of Stuart Mcbrides best.I normally find his books hard to put down.This one could not hold my attention and was very easy to put down and look for something more interesting.Dark Blood (Logan McRae, Book 6)
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on 6 June 2010
This is the latest in Stuart MacBride's Logan McRae series based in Aberdeen. This book sees the local hero once again fall from grace with his senior officers and his work take its toll on his fragile personal life. Winter in Aberdeen sees Logan battling Edinburgh crime lords, a string of jewellery robberies, supervising a violent sex offender rehoused from Newcastle and trying not to die in his old Fiat in the snow. This dark fast moving tale is full of twists and turns and one is never sure quite who the good and the bad are but there is certainly the spilling of blood...
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