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4.0 out of 5 stars A bit Richard K Morgan, a bit Christopher Brookmyre, not very Taggart
I was put off reading this book by the blurb (cover writers take note). It really did not sound entertaining. However I am glad I did give it a go because this story did keep me interested. One of the most surprising outcomes was a desire for the main Hannibal Lecter like villain to get away, despite the fact they were possibly the nastiest piece of work ever. There was a...
Published on 13 Sept. 2012 by Robert

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting premise and some good ideas, but the execution lets it down
Like his fellow Scot, Iain Banks, Stuart MacBride has ventured into science fiction and added a middle initial to distinguish it from his "other stuff". Stuart's a nice guy and I enjoyed his first three Logan McRae novels, but did not like the fourth and fifth (`Flesh House' and `Blind Eye') which provided no progression and to me were convoluted almost beyond...
Published on 14 Oct. 2009 by G. J. Oxley


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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars which i have read and enjoyed all., 7 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Halfhead (Kindle Edition)
Edge of seat rading. But i did find it a bit disturbing...
A different slant to Mr MacBride's other stuff, which i have read and enjoyed all.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, 8 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Halfhead (Kindle Edition)
An exciting premise with lots of action. Not the best piece of writing ever, but definitely an enjoyable read if you have done time.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 17 May 2014
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This review is from: Halfhead (Kindle Edition)
It was a wee bit wierd reading a Stuart Macbride story in the future but was still believable I couldn't find any more on amazon
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dire!, 6 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Halfhead (Paperback)
This book was depravity at the highest level and it does not reflect the true talent of Mr MacBride's writing in the crime genre. I really felt like I wasted my time reading this.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Impressed, 24 July 2013
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This review is from: Halfhead (Kindle Edition)
Not up to his usual standard, didn't bother to finish it. Prefer this detective series. A bit of a let down
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I read other reviews that said the book was rubbish. I disagree, it's genius!, 21 April 2014
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This review is from: Halfhead (Kindle Edition)
Very graphic and a bonkers idea but I am really enjoying reading it. It's gripping and a real page turner.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as good as the McRae stories and characters, 10 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Halfhead (Paperback)
OK, abit different for MacBride. Not quite as good as the McRae stories and characters
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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 Sept. 2009
By 
J. Cronin "dudara" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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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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
3.0 out of 5 stars Gruesome Glasgow in a neo-fascist future, 24 Aug. 2009
By 
Whitehatter "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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Halfhead by Stuart B. MacBride (Paperback - 3 Sept. 2009)
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