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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, Disturbing, Gripping and Funny - a very rare combination
This is my first Hutton novel, but not my first Doug Lindsay book - that pleasure went to his most excellent creation, Barney Thomson.
For those of you who have read the work from the Barney series (and if you haven't you should), you'll be aware of the amazing shades of darkness that Lindsay can create as well as the tremendous use of humour and character that are...
Published 13 months ago by nigel p bird

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars could do better
ok but repetetive in places and a bit too gory for my liking, not very good bed time read for me
Published 8 months ago by Alison Clarkson


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, Disturbing, Gripping and Funny - a very rare combination, 25 Oct 2013
By 
This is my first Hutton novel, but not my first Doug Lindsay book - that pleasure went to his most excellent creation, Barney Thomson.
For those of you who have read the work from the Barney series (and if you haven't you should), you'll be aware of the amazing shades of darkness that Lindsay can create as well as the tremendous use of humour and character that are as much part of the sandwich as the butter and the bread.
What's different about the Hutton story in `The Plague Of Crows' is that it exists in the more mainstream world of the police procedural, not that it's an entirely conventional setting.
For the fans of the police detective and the ins and outs of the process of finding a killer, there's plenty here that will satisfy the appetite. There's also a huge amount more that is likely to leave fans of the genre expecting something extra from their next choice, simply because of the extra layers and dimensions Lindsay offers.
Hutton has been rediscovering himself after a suspension from the force, a suspension brought on by his super-strong sexual desire, his lack of care for what others think about him, his love of danger and his hard-as-nails fists. He's spent his time in a tent in the Scottish countryside and has reached a place of inner-peace, giving up the women, the cigarettes and the booze. When he's called back into operation to help out on a very particular case, it's inevitable that he's going to find his way back to his old habits and that things will spiral out of control. Him being a war journalist who has seen plenty, it's also easy to find some sympathy with him for his unabridged behaviours.
The thing is, the case is hugely different to most you'll come across. More macabre and intelligent than the majority of those you'll find in other novels. It involves woodland and crows, saws and cement and a very particular kind of psychopath. I'd tell you more, but think you should find out for yourself. I found it hilarious and disturbing in equal measure - the humour of the situation seems to magnify the power of the crime and to allow for such barbarity to become palatable.
In terms of the plot, the journey is one you should take for yourselves. What I can offer here is to suggest that you're likely to fall completely for the first-person voice that has no frontal-lobe editing and moulding phrases and thoughts into the politically correct. His ideas might have had me cringing, but also got me laughing at the way he seems able to say things with elements to which I couldn't help identify (damn). There are lots of laughs, but that doesn't mean this book doesn't have a deeper thrust. There's also the tension and mystery that you'd want from any book. It leaves plenty to be thought about and should take enough hold that you'll likely to have with you for a good while after finishing; the book's still with me and I can imagine I'll have it lurking around for a good while yet.
This novel emphases my notion that Douglas Lindsay is a fine Scottish export that should be hailed in the same way as whisky, Rankin, haggis, tartan and those Jimmy hats that you can pick up from the Royal Mile.
Super stuff.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 6 Mar 2014
By 
K. Nixon (Kent) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Plague of Crows (DS Thomas Hutton 2) (Kindle Edition)
A Plague of Crows is the second of Lindsay’s police procedural novels with Edinburgh cop, DS Thomas Hutton at the helm. Lindsay is best known for his Barney Thomson series. At the outset Hutton, usually hellbent on drinking and screwing himself into an early grave, is on a health kick, living in a tent at the foot of a Scottish mountain after being suspended for fighting with a colleague. He’d been having an affair with the man’s wife. Hutton has been undergoing psychological evaluation and, despite being classified as mentally unfit for service, with the ghosts of his past trying to be heard, is recalled after a particularly brutal murder.

And so begins the hunt for the killer called The Plague Of Crows. The person employs a particularly nasty method of taking lives – kidnapping apparently unrelated victims – a reporter, a copper and a social worker – and after a gruesome process attracting crows to finish them off. The police are baffled and have no idea where and when the next victim might appear – the murderer is meticulous in their planning and execution. The Plague Of Crows then strikes for a second time, placing three more bodies in an isolated wood, but on this occasion recording everything for posterity and releasing it on social media, sending the press and public into a frenzy.

I thoroughly enjoyed Plague Of Crows. It’s another superb example of Scottish crime noir. There are a number of elements to highlight. The writing is excellent. Sharp, fast paced, gripping. The author manages to be economical with his words, yet delivers a very strong story.

There’s the characterisation. Hutton himself is excellent. He’s naked (often literally) in his pursuit of the opposite sex. He enjoys a drink and has quite a few demons from his past that he refuses to face. He admits to not being the most professional of coppers. Paperwork? He couldn’t even spell the word. And by the time the investigation is just halfway through he’s back to caffeine, drinking and womanising. Yet, despite all that, he’s dilligent in his pursuit of the bad guys. He could easily give up, but won’t. I also like the fact he’s a sergeant. Often we work with the senior officers in stories such as these – ambition drives all.

Talking of officers, next is Hutton’s boss, DCI Taylor. Quite the opposite to his DS he’s a thinker married to the job. And there’s the recently appointed Superintendent Connor. He’s a complete arse, the worst kind of boss and one that most of us have experienced. I developed a real dislike for the guy. In general the characters are likeable and easy to associate with and, except the killer, I was happy to spend time with them.

As most of the novel is written from a first person perspective through the DS’s eyes he is able to throw out acerbic one-liners about people and activities. They’re wry and often funny. And there’s a good sense of humour running through the novel too, despite its generally grim contents.

It takes the police a long time to finally track down the perpetrator, they’re frustrated and know they’re virtually powerless to act. And this comes across too in the story (and not in a Harry Potter, search for the horcrux fashion either).

Ultimately there’s little to criticise here. Lindsay is an accomplished author as Plague Of Crows illustrates.

Originally reviewed for Crime Fiction Lover.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely gripping main character, 30 Dec 2013
This review is from: A Plague of Crows (DS Thomas Hutton 2) (Kindle Edition)
This is even better than The Unburied Dead. DS Hutton is a gripping main character, with a past that influences everything he does. Just imagine Jackson Brodie (the TV series version)with an alcohol and sex-addiction problem and with a very black sense of humour. It says something about the writing that Hutton's life - watching it inevitably spiral out of control - made me turn the pages more than the crime. Great book, fantastic writing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Plague Of Crows...a great read!!, 6 Dec 2013
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Firstly I must say read the Thomas Hutton novel The Unburied Dead before you read this one. There is a natural development of the character which could be confusing if the books are not read in order. It is also a good read and is currently free on Kindle.
A Plague of Crows is a fantastic book which reintroduces us to DS Hutton, an irreverent, self centred cop who spends as much time looking for his next sexual conquest as he does seeking a serial murderer. He is a hilarious character handled brilliantly by Lindsay, I rarely laugh out loud when reading a book but this character hits my funny bone. The investigation is fast paced, entertaining and accurately reflects the frustrations of weak leadership and internal politics that blight serious Police investigations.
This was the third Lindsay book I have read and I have already started my fourth, surely that is, of itself, a strong recommendation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely funny and extremely dark!, 5 Nov 2013
Every bit as good as the first Thomas Hutton novel (The Unburied Dead). Extremely funny and extremely dark. We find out why he is so promiscuous with regards to the opposite sex. Cannot wait for the next one!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read., 13 Nov 2013
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Found this to be a thrilling read. Lots of detail without going over the top. Would recommend to anyone who likes crime mystery.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and compelling, 10 July 2014
By 
YeahYeahNoh (Willenhall, West Midlands) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: A Plague of Crows (DS Thomas Hutton 2) (Kindle Edition)
This is the second in the DS Thomas Hutton series. This takes places chronologically a little while after the first book ends, and Hutton is still struggling with memories of wartime atrocities in Bosnia. The finding of three victims of a particularly gruesome crime in woodland beings back those thoughts, which we learn much more of as the book and the case progresses.
I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the first - I can imagine the scenario and crime scene would not be to everyone's taste. It's still a superbly crafted, but dark novel, but I'd recommend starting with the first in the series, and as an introduction to the author it might be wiser to stick with the superb Barney Thomson series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Black Crow Blues, 17 Oct 2014
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This review is from: A Plague of Crows (DS Thomas Hutton 2) (Kindle Edition)
A Plague of Crows and The Blood That Stains Your Hands both have interesting plots, very different to each other, but equally engaging. Depends what you are looking for; CROWS is more gruesome and at the 'you have to be kidding me' end of the market, whilst BLOOD is more of the 'everyday life gone wrong' type of deal. Both great and I certainly appreciate that the plots were miles apart. No recycling here.

Enough about plot. Characters - ah yes! In CROWS, Lindsay starts to lift the corner of the duvet to give the reader a peep at the dirty, heaving blackness carried around on Hutton's back. We already know this man is severely damaged by something in his past...and here it is, in all its fetid glory.

And then more stuff happens to him. How much can any man take, you may wonder, as Hutton moves from coffee to vodka to woman after woman.

A warning - you will feel like taking Hutton into a dark corner and having 'a word with him' about his attitude to woman. Stick with it though - trust me, but I did think for a bit that Lindsay had gone a bit too far with objectification - was it it just salacious writing or was there some purpose behind all the tongue lolling, breast fantasising? You'll find out in Book 3.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not sure I could stomach reading this again as it's pretty gory. Plus I didn't understand WHY the guilty ..., 17 Aug 2014
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This review is from: A Plague of Crows (DS Thomas Hutton 2) (Kindle Edition)
Almost a 5 - but not quite. Not sure I could stomach reading this again as it's pretty gory. Plus I didn't understand WHY the guilty party did what they did. I re-read a few paragraphs but still couldn't get my head around the why and it spoilt it a little bit.

But otherwise it was a gripping read and the sarcastic humour is my kind of thing. And I'll def read more by the author.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 12 July 2014
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This review is from: A Plague of Crows (DS Thomas Hutton 2) (Kindle Edition)
Great read. Looking forward to the next one.
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