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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 15 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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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A futuristic blood and guts romp, 29 Mar 2011
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This review is from: Halfhead (Paperback)
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 revenge. Macbride's black humour and Glasgow repartee are still present, as are the gruesome details of brutal murders, disfigurement and gory firefights. Towards the end, it feels like participating in a computer game of Quake or Duke Nukem.

Not his best work, though if you like the blood and guts aspect of Macbride this will suit you, the more delicate natured will probably find it disagreeable.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A DIFFERENT DIRECTION FOR MACBRIDE..............................., 11 Sep 2009
By 
Saturnicus "Saturnicus" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Halfhead (Paperback)
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I admit to being a huge fan of Mr MacBride. In this one he leaves my native Aberdeen and moves to the future in Glasgow. There is still the odd merry quip when he introduces the characters speaking in dialect, but somehow there is something missing.
I admit that I am not a fan of sci-fi and in all fairness this book is not over the top, but I found it just did not hit the spot. It was overly simple.
He attempts to be gruesome but it did not shake me at all.
It is a good read, I do not deny, but he is much happier in Aberdeen with Logan MacRae and D.I. Steele. He should stick to straightforward crime.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not sure what compelled me to read it., 3 April 2011
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This review is from: Halfhead (Kindle Edition)
This is a science fiction serial killer thriller. It's set in a Glasgow of the future that is very Blade Runner in look and feel. It is about a somewhat maverick but skilled detective type character, trying to solve some grisly murders. In this world, criminals are halfheaded - their lower jaw is removed, all their orifices are stitched up, they are de-sexed, and most of their brains are burned away - turning them into robotic zombies who spend the rest of their days thoughtlessly and emotionlessly doing menial slave labour. But one of these halfheads awakens, as her brain has not been burned away properly, and she's the worst serial killer of them all...

Apart from throwing vocabulary around (roadhugger, thrummer, dragonfly etc. etc.) for weaponry and hovering / flying vehicles, the writing does not really stand out. It's very plot-driven, which is fine, but the plot is not original or exciting. We are served with one cliche after another (the superior officer who is a pain in the neck, the sexy minx love interest, the uber-competent detective who is also a world class hacker and has a history of loss and personal trauma in the past, ...), the story moves without any of the cliffhangers ever feeling all that tense, and the result is a thriller that feels somehow hollow. Perhaps we are meant to fear for the victims of the various killers in this novel, but we already know something horrible will happen to them, and we have no sense that there is any hope otherwise. The very bleakness and hopelessness of the scenarios means the book cannot create tension: if the reader has no hope that someone might be rescued, then it does not matter much how exactly they are despatched of. This, of course, is the other thing standing out about the novel: the level of violence and gore is stunning. It's literally torture porn - the sort of stuff Eli Roth might cook up on screen, or the makers of the Saw series. But we also know how easily people are fixed - they can regrow faces, limbs, etc. in hospital - so even the most brutal torture sequences are transient and therefore without real impact. Sure, reading about someone's arm being blasted with a heat ray until it sizzles and crackling forms on the skin is unpleasant. But we know they can have a new arm in a few weeks...

So, gory, grisly, bleak, but not really thrilling. The book has no sense of humour, no humanity in the characters, no complexity, the writing is bland and functional... On the whole, there is little here to recommend the novel. I bought it after reading the first few chapters as a sample, and I read it all the way to the end, but I cannot figure out what compelled me to do either of these things.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Full marks for a half head, 12 Aug 2014
By 
Mrs. Penelope J. Jaquet (Cheltenham UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Halfhead (Kindle Edition)
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 very good, and much enjoyed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story as usual, 9 July 2014
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Would recommend to all readers who like Stuart McBride, and to anyone who has not read his books give this a try. Bloodthirsty,funny and an excellent read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Half head, 26 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Halfhead (Kindle Edition)
As with all his books this is a fast moving edge of your seat crime thriller of the highest order . I don’t read reviews for Mc bride anymore I just buy them
Highly recommend this and all his other books. It is what Kindle was invented for.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, 8 Feb 2014
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Another triumph, 6 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Halfhead (Kindle Edition)
Exciting story line, the type of book you can't put down once you've started to read it...as is expected by Stuart Macbride...the book will keep you on the edge of your seat....excellent read
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1.0 out of 5 stars Half head, 26 Dec 2013
This review is from: Halfhead (Kindle Edition)
Not clear from synopsis what this book was about. Therefore a shock to start reading it and finding out. Poorly written and a great disappointment. A waste of tine reading it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dont give up, 18 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Halfhead (Kindle Edition)
Took a bit of getting into, with the futuristic storyline. Once I understood what was going on, it became an intriguing read.
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