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5.0 out of 5 stars Full marks for a half head
This story is set in a near future of a dismal and broken Glasgow with criminals halfheaded to prevent them repeating their crimes. Terrible, but almost plausible solution punishment, it seems to work. But of course one doesn't. I love Stuart MacBride whether he writes modern day crime fiction, or as in this case, future day crime fiction. Characters are good, story...
Published 20 days ago by Mrs. Penelope J. Jaquet

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A futuristic blood and guts romp
Glasgow in the future, searing heat and monsoons, scrubbers in the sky, skyscraper living units that have become slums, and a police force that needs Thrummers, Whompers and Zappers to go about their business. The halfheads are convicted criminals who have been facially disfigured, lobotomized and set to menial duties. However, one isn't quite like the others and wants...
Published on 29 Mar 2011 by groundbound


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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, no-nonsense, pacey reading. This halfwit likes Halfhead., 27 Aug 2009
By 
Pallus the Phallus (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Halfhead (Paperback)
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VERY nearly 5 stars; 4.95 stars prudently rounded-down to 4.

I thoroughly enjoyed this sci-fi action thriller.
But then I'm probably easily pleased by this type of thing.

Personal background history is reserved for the main characters, never distracting us far from the present, where the action is.
So although this may lack depth for some, I like easy reading and was drawn-along by this book with no effort on my part whatsoever.

I found the style of writing refreshingly straightforward. No flowery similies here -just choice, sharp ones -jab jab! No time wasted.
Written with an explicit and get-on-with-it method. That is not to say that scenes were not properly set; I was wholly immersed in the mood of each location.

There is some potential romantic interest which I would have liked to be treated slightly differently. That's just my own weakness though, I suppose.

Strongly recommended for likeminded readers who want to get gripped (and shaken about a little).

[My Ref: Halfhead #2 6th Sept 09]
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gruesome but well thought out plot, 31 Aug 2009
By 
Thrud Fan (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Halfhead (Paperback)
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Scottish cop haunted by is past chases serial killers through rain soaked Glaswegian streets...sounds like a thousand and one other plots and books out there but I think this is better.

I got this book hoping it would be akin to Michael Marshall Smiths early work full of invention and dark humour but in that respect I was disappointed as this is a much more grounded story and although set in the future it is not as far out as MMS plots were.

The fact that the stories basic plot and some of its characters have been done 100 times before (it ever has a pathologist who eats while working and has a sick sense of humour and a boss who gives the hero a hard time) by no means makes this a bad book. The plot is well thought out and logical with no huge leaps in the story. Will, the main character, follows a realistic line of enquiry in his investigations even if most of that is via hacking into computers. The action set pieces are well handled the main characters likeable.
The humour veers from the darkest black to at one point what amounts to a little more than a groan aloud Christmas cracker joke and I personally think this didn't help the story.

One of the more interesting aspects of the story was the Halfheads, these half humans a products of a vengeful futuristic justice system for me had a strange ambivalence about them. Most of them had done truly horrific things but the punishment for their crimes seems so barbaric it made me think about my own thoughts of criminal justice and what is or is not a cruel and unusual punishment.
That is not something I expected from a book like this so it gets an extra 1/2* for that.

Be warned this is not a story for the weak of stomach as the gore/violence level is high, although I have read worse, if you can get though the likes of Silence of the Lambs and the Red Dragon you should be ok.

Futurephobes don't need to worry as although the plot is set in the future and some of the weaponry is far fetched the story is strong and doesn't get bogged down in Star Trek like techno-babble.

Overall it's a worth while read I liked it.

As an aside my copy had a couple of newspaper quotes on the back one from the Telegraph and one from the Daily Sport the author must appeal to a wide demographic!
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slick, Sick and riveting!, 27 Aug 2009
By 
Fiona Massey "jellyfi1" (Northampton, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Halfhead (Paperback)
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Set in the future, Halfhead, is a new term and treatment for the criminal fraternity of glasgow, such named because they remove the lower jaw bone and perform lobotomies on the criminals.
This is a very slick book, well written, although very gory at times, it follows the stories of well written characters, from the halfhead trying to find her past to the halfhead that comes back to life.

I must warn some readers tho, that this book is not for the feint hearted or those without a strongish stomach, as in places this book is very graphic and a touch disturbing.

All in all, a good book, well written, and enjoyed by me.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gruesome Glasgow in a neo-fascist future, 24 Aug 2009
By 
Mr. Roy Ellor "Roy Ellor" (Salford, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Halfhead (Paperback)
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This isn't an easy read by any means, certainly a lot more challenging than the pulp fiction you find in supermarkets or chainstore book sections.

Set in what is presumably a semi-fascistic United Kingdom of the future, a murder potboiler is blended with some fairly formulaic scifi and several plot lines that seem strangely familiar to the reader of detective fiction. And that's where it stumbles. The first third of the book tends to lurch around a little, with little attention to character building or setting the scene. That alone could kill off this book for the average reader. There's just too much there which is left for the imagination to try and stitch together, especially the concept of the State exacting justice by the method of halfheading. The only description or explanation of this process is actually on the book jacket, and no explanation given as to how this came about or why.

it's that cavalier lack of detail and setting out the author's stall that makes this a tough book to enjoy. Get into the action as you approach the half way mark, and it's then that the plot picks up enough pace to ride over these shortcomings.

For all that it's not a bad story, once it gets going. If only there was some kind of prequel that would explain this whole scenario then it would be acceptable, but as a standalone it's not exactly the kind of book that grabs you and keeps you engrossed until the last page. Think Hannibal Lecter with a dash of Charles Stross sci-fi devices and a spot of highly illegal eugenics, and you have the measure of this book.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Daft story, 21 May 2010
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This review is from: Halfhead (Paperback)
I am, was a fan of McBride, therefore I bought this book; mistake! Totally daft story really had to force myself to finish - hate not finishing a book.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, 30 Dec 2009
By 
D. Williams "Dawny" (Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Halfhead (Paperback)
I am a great fan of mr Mcbride and have converted a few others to his books. I adored Halfhead - the plot was just a rollercoaster and I loved the futuristic but believable setting. This book was a real page-turner and I finished it in record time. This guy cant write books quick enough for me. Awesome.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars PLEASE PERSEVERE WITH THIS BOOK!, 28 Dec 2009
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This review is from: Halfhead (Paperback)
Like other readers I found the book difficult to get into because it is very confusing at the beginning, a glossary of terms might have been helpful. However, once you get used to the bizarre sounding names of guns etc and get to know the characters it really is a brilliant book. Very gruesome and graphic in detail it paints a very depressing picture of Glasgow in the future. I cannot wait for the next one in the series.

For anyone who has not read the 'Logan' detective series by this Author you are missing a treat, graphic murders with a hint of humour - BRILLIANT!
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Written . . ., 17 Oct 2009
By 
David Cranson (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Halfhead (Paperback)
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. . . piece of story telling. not his usual story-telling, but set in the (not too distant) future. The characters are well written and the story pumps along at a good pace. It helped that I know Glasgow a wee bit, so would more better visualise places and could understand the language.

A wee bit too much swearing, but that's a personal thing.

Brilliant story, a warning to all of us on 2 or 3 different levels and well worth a read. It's not horror as such and not sci-fi as such and not a murder mystery as such. More it's a combination of all three, done in a fashion that I have never read before and all the better for it.

Very Good.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visceral and captivating. One to watch!, 25 Sep 2009
By 
J. Cronin "dudara" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Halfhead (Paperback)
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Stuart MacBride is the author of the Logan McRae series of Scottish thrillers, but he has added an initial to his name (a la Iain Banks) and struck out in a new direction with the tense and visceral Halfhead.

Halfhead is set in the near future in a world which has started to break down. The poorer elements of society are confined to massive communal blocks and many of them spend their time plugged into Virtual Reality. In order to deter crime, people convicted of serious crimes are forcibly lobotomised by the state, along with the removal of their lower jawbone, sexual organs and other identifying features. These zombie-like halfheads are then set to work in municipal buildings, where they can be seen by all.

One such halfhead is Dr. Fiona Westfield. A prolific serial killer, she was lobotomised, but 6 years later, she regains her mind and starts to kill again, but this time in the guise of an anonymous halfhead. She is seeking vengeance from Will Hunter, the Network operative who captured her but Hunter, still haunted by Westfield and his part in the VR wars, is on the trail of another series of apparently unrelated killings. However, the terrible web that Westfield wove in her earlier life soon ensnares them all.

MacBride has created a horribly wonderful vision of Glasgow in the future. High tech machines and weaponry litter the pages, yet the real focus is on the people. He has managed to marry the serial killer genre and futuristic sci-fi with aplomb. My only gripe would be with the fundamental concept and reasons for creating the halfheads - I can't believe that any society would do such a thing. But putting that aside, I was truly trapped by this gritty, gory story. Word of warning, it's not for the faint of heart.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Bit Different!, 11 Sep 2009
By 
Markie "marx1977" (hereandthere) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Halfhead (Paperback)
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To be honest I didn't really know what to make of this novel. Being a fan of science fiction more than crime thrillers I was keen to see how the two genres would be blended together. MacBride has done an adequate job and although I did not find Halfhead compulsive reading it did at least leave me wanting to read to the end. Unfortunately, I don't think on the strength of Halfhead I would read further MacBride novels.
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Halfhead
Halfhead by Stuart B. MacBride (Paperback - 3 Sep 2009)
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