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A Taste for Malice (DI Ray McBain Book 2) by [Malone, Michael J.]
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A Taste for Malice (DI Ray McBain Book 2) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews
Book 2 of 2 in The McBain Series (2 Book Series)

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Length: 370 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

We were very impressed with Michael J Malone's 2012 debut crime novel, 'Blood Tears', which introduced the highly dysfunctional protagonist (even by the standards of the genre) Detective Inspector Ray McBain. So we approached 'A Taste for Malice' with some trepidation: would Michael J Malone be able to produce a second novel that lived up to the promise of the first? The answer is a clear 'yes': he has. He has also produced one of the more unusual detective novels we can remember reading. Most crime novels kick off with a dead body within the first few pages, and build from there. What is particularly fascinating about 'A Taste for Malice' is that the story does not revolve around the tracking down of a killer or serial killer. Yes, there is a murder between the covers, but it's very much 'off stage', and DI McBain's involvement is only peripheral (though it is also critical). But the central story, which develops in two parallel strands that steadily converge as the book moves towards its climax, deals with something altogether less wholesome. We first encounter DI Ray McBain as he returns to work after the events in the earlier novel. The physical scars he has been left with are healing, but the mental scars still run very deep. McBain has other problems. His superiors do not wish to risk his fragile mental health by exposing him to the full rigors of the work of a Detective Inspector, so he is attached to a team led by a man who used to be his junior officer, and tasked with administrative tasks that have little interest and no challenge for him. One of the files he looks at deals with the harming of two children by a woman the family thought could be trusted to look after them. Then another similar case emerges. McBain sets out to discover whether the two cases are linked, behind the backs and against the wishes of his senior officers. Meanwhile his personal life is as chaotic as ever, and he also begins to fear that his nemesis from 'Blood Tears' may be waiting in the shadows. In parallel we follow the story of a family having difficulty coping with the mother's loss of memory in an accident, and their befriending by a young woman. The reader's suspicions that all is not right build steadily, and the two strands of the story come together very satisfyingly in a conclusion that offers some genuine surprises. --Undiscovered Scotland

...a stark and gripping storyline... He's got the knowhow, the knowledge of police work and the machinations of detective work and its trials and tribulations... --Scots Magazine

All of the elements which made Blood Tears such a compelling read are here too, the effortless prose and the piercing insight which creates characters you not only believe in but actually feel for, and of course, there s McBain, attractive despite his flaws, given to moments of intense introspection leavened by a downright bawdy sense of humour. He s one of crime fictions more credible detectives and I m looking forward to seeing how he develops as the series continues. This is a very different book to Blood Tears, less violent but far more unsettling, because instead of a twisted killer it presents a destructive force which hides behind a perfectly amenable exterior, the kind of person you might actually allow to look after your kids or a sick relative. It invites questions about how easily we trust strangers who are designated as carers and cleverly subverts the conventional portayal of sadists, showing just how damaging small acts of violence can be. Deeply disturbing and emotionally charged, A Taste for Malice is a must read for fans of psychological crime fiction. --Loitering with Intent

About the Author

Michael J Malone is well known in Scotland for his poetry (once being a poet in residence in a sex shop). His first crime fiction, Blood Tears, was reprinted within weeks of publication. His book of interviews with leading Scottish public figures, Carnegie's Call, was published in October 2012.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 868 KB
  • Print Length: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Five Leaves Publications (4 Jun. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00D7LJTEW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #168,151 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Di McBain is back, and in the dog house. There is unfinished and very personal business still lurking from his first outing in `Blood Tears'. Having said that, the current story is more than capable of holding its own as a standalone novel, but anyone who hasn't read the first book `Blood Tears' would miss the delight of an introduction to a cast of well written characters.
One of the great appeals of the McBain books, for me, is the relationships he has with what are effectively his two sidekicks, DC Alessandra Rossi and DS Daryl Drain, Kenny, McBain's `favourite career criminal', and Maggie, his Jiminy Cricket, who gives a good as she get in the banter stakes. These are people I want to invest time in and get to know better, because they really put the heart into the story.
But the witty repartee merely makes the crime that is about to be committed all the more intense, as the story alternates its way between the policing aspects of the story, McBain's angst, and the insidious insinuation of the psychopath into their victim family's life. For anyone wanting a book they can't put down, there's a real sense wanting to strap yourself in for the read until it reaches its dramatic conclusion.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Although I normally avoid stories about harming children, I enjoyed this tale of suspense and intrigue. The darkness is lightened by moments of humour and the detective's distinctive 'voice.' It varies between the VP of Jim, with his damaged wife and young son, and the DI who is trying to solve the mystery. The story is well written and moves along at a pace I love. Never a dull moment. I would have liked more explanation about the two villainous women's involvement with each other, but that is my only criticism.
Opinion? Buy this book - you won't be disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
Michael J Malone's first novel in what I hope will be a long series was very good; this, the second, is even better. Its structure is more adventurous, alternating two closely connected narrative threads, one in the first, the other in the third person. There's a constant tension in both of them. They share the goal of identifying someone who targets young boys and stopping them before it's too late, but each has other tensions specific to its characters. In one, the parents live their own nightmares as they feel responsible for the harm that has been or might be done to their sons and the damage they may do to one another, but in the other, D.I. McBain is still being haunted by his own terrors which the resolution of the plot in the first book, 'Blood Tears', failed to banish.

The whole novel is saturated with guilt and, paradoxically, those pursuing the obviously `guilty' perpetrator of the crimes against wee boys, while unable to shed their own feelings of responsibility for events, are able to see that the perpetrator's motives may perhaps be explicable. The reader, too, knows right from wrong and yet is drawn into sharing the characters' feelings of moral ambiguity.

McBain himself, while relating his version of events in relatively simple, direct terms, betrays the complexity of his character and is still the wilfully perverse copper we met in book one. He's forever questioning his own notions of love, fidelity, responsibility, and his relationships with others are precarious.

So there's guilt, pain and darkness everywhere and they threaten to overwhelm innocence. And yet it's a book full of humour. McBain's one-liners are priceless (and those of his colleagues often match them).
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Format: Paperback
It is seldom that writers of gritty novels inject humour into their stories. Not this author. This gripping novel starts with a practical joke that is certain to make the reader laugh out loud. The whole book is peppered with clever and amusing metaphors. But be in no doubt this is a very dark book. Since crime is such a popular genre at the moment is must be a challenge for writers to come up with an unusual twist. Michael J Malone has succeeded with this, his second thriller. Not a comfortable read, especially disturbing, I would think, to a woman, but an extremely well constructed story which fairly rips along leaving the reader breathless. The flashes of humour were a relief from the unfolding horror.
A woman infiltrates vulnerable families, causes mayhem and destruction and then vanishes. Who is she? How could any female be so evil? This book reveals how scarily possible such a situation could occur.
A fascinating read with all the ingredients - violence, horror, and a great deal of sex!
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I feel like that I have just stepped off a rollercoaster! What a ride! A Taste for Malice takes us into the twisted mind of the bogeywoman who dedicates her life to the psychological and physical abuse of young boys and DI McBain's dogged determination to catch her (despite the fact that he has been confined to desk duty following his last case).
Once again I was drawn into the story from the very first page, the familiar streets of Glasgow and my childhood holiday destination of Ayrshire greeting me like old friends. DI McBain is a believable Glasgow policeman, choice language and wandering eyes - yet underneath is a deeply flawed and damaged man still coming to terms with events of his past. It's hard not to connect with him.
Absolutely loved this book and cannot recommend it highly enough - roll on the next instalment in the series. Well deserved five stars!
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