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VINE VOICEon 21 May 2015
I have read all of the previous 7 in this series and this is definitely helpful in terms of understanding the characters and some of the references made. Grayson Perry said "Artists ... put jokes in their work. I think it's part of reflecting human life" - and this, for me, could apply to Stuart MacBride's art of writing. There is a lot of both light and very dark humour which I can laugh at - then underneath the surface there is a deeper truth highlighted as to why a person behaves and reacts in certain ways.
The huge amount of research carried out in bleaker areas really comes through, ie. an autopsy, forensic anthropology and the reader is always given the rationale for murder from the criminal's point of view which seem to make some sense to them.
As other reviewers have said, characterisation is over the top, - Steel is always mentioned and that no way would she serving in the Police Service today and definitely not running CID. I did agree somewhat in this novel with Dr Marks in that her constant references were overkill and then in danger of not being so funny. Generally, I think so what, MacBride is an artist and this brilliantly over the top characters always reveal a truth under the surface.
Unusually the story line dragged a bit for me but conversely the parts involving Logan and Samantha were very emotional.
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on 27 July 2016
What a shame. I quite enjoyed the first couple of novels, then got bored with the increasingly formulaic characterisation and over reliance on 'characters' under reliance on good quality research to make the books believable. I stopped buying them...then forgot the reasons. Bought this one relying on the five star reviews and comments only to discover that things had got worse. It is beyond belief that D(C)I Steele would have been promoted let alone stayed in post. The repetitions about her pulling at her bra and scratching her breasts are so frequent they are beyond boring. The entire police force (Logan McCrae included) are so dim they announce to families that a member of their family is dead without full indentifaction checks, go into high risk situations with no plan, no back up, even tho' this could be easily avoided.

I wish Amazon had a method of letting one mark on one's personal account, NOT to buy a particular author. I would mark this one accordingly.

Bored and disappointed. Needs a good editor to cut out great chunks of dialogue, purple patches and send back for much better research and plotting.
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on 7 August 2015
Set in my home town of Aberdeen, where I haven't set foot for far too long, acting DI McRae takes me down Union Street and down the stairs to The Green with the shrieking of seagulls and I am hooked. Having read the entire series the overworked and undervalued McRae has become a firm favourite being far more grounded than another of my favourite Scottish cops - Skinner in Edinburgh. The plot is as ever, gruesome, and the novel has a great balance between procedural, the characters, and the wonderful black humour. Even after all this time I cannot make my mind up if I love or hate Steel, now acting Head of CID, but what a character. I really wish Stuart MacBride's books would be turned into TV series - what is wrong with BBC Scotland. McRae and Aberdeen with its fantastic beach, ancient Fitty and all that goes with being an oil capital is the equal of Rebus and Edinburgh any day. A great read.
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on 1 July 2015
It's been a while since I read a Stuart MacBride book. I tried "Birthdays For The Dead" but it just didn't grab me & in the meantime I discovered new authors and sort of forgot about Logan McRae and the cast of characters which surround him. Being stuck for something to read lately, I came back to this author with fresh eyes and was not disappointed.

Once you tune in to MacBride's style of writing, which reflects the chaos of a busy detective's life, you soon feel at home in the work he creates. This book is a real page turner, with convincing dialogue and characters. The sections of the book where Logan is talking to his girlfriend are beautifully tragic, once you realise what is actually going on. Many of the criticisms of this book (and others in the same series) focus on the character of DCI Steel - the foul-mouthed boss to DI McRae.

The main problem people have with her is that she would not exist in a modern police force, being too "un-PC". Having experience of working in the public sector, I can say that people like her DO exist... they defy all the rules about what kind of language is beyond the pale & how to address members of the public and their colleagues alike. They commit faux pas that would result in instant dismissal for anyone else, yet they remain bullet-proof.

I enjoyed this book immensely and would recommend it to anyone with a liking for well written crime fiction.
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on 13 October 2013
I have given this book 3 stars, not as a criticism of the writing, but because I really wished I had started the Logan McRae books at the beginning. It really didn't work for me as a stand alone story. I thoroughly enjoyed the main aspects of the story, the characterisations, the sometimes dark humour, how the characters sparked off of each other. However, I was really at a loss when it came to the previous events and relationships often referred to in the book: is Samantha in hospital in a coma; does Logan imagine all the conversations and interaction he has with her? How is he the father of Jasmine, seemingly the daughter of his DI and her girlfriend? etc.,etc. I know, this is my fault for not beginning at the beginning and I would advise other readers to do so. The story itself is dark, sinister and an absolute page turner involving the murderer re-enacting scenes from a book (currently being made into a film) concerning witch finders; people being crippled in supposed racist attacks and drug dealers. Now I am off to order the first book.....
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VINE VOICETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 19 July 2015
I thoroughly enjoy the Logan McRae stories. I have to say that they are not very realistic, they are quite formulaic, and you do have to turn a blind eye to the holes in procedure/common sense/logic, that allow the stories to meander their allotted course, but as long as you are prepared to do this I would say that you will find them pretty entertaining, if a little blood thirsty. In this book, Logan is on the hunt for a crazed killer who seems to be practising the dark art of witchcraft on the citizens of Aberdeen. The relationship between him and Steele is always fun and it was good to see the return of DI Insch. I shall keep reading with interest.
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on 14 August 2015
Im a fan of the Logan series, similar in its writing to the Rebus series by Ian Rankin. The characters and their nicknames add a nice feel to the set up Mc Bride has created within the Aberdeen force. DCI Steel is an absolute godsend in the book and always conjuring up cringingly great visual images!
This book has a great storyline, only reason it doesn't get 5 stars is that I felt the book was a bit drawn out and could do with being around 100 pages shorter for me. Also usual twist at the end which I felt was somewhat expected.
I do enjoy the relationship between Logan and Steel and long may it continue!
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on 24 October 2013
Stuart MacBride has fast become one of my favourite author and in this book, the eighth in the series, he has written one of my favourite ever book.

Picking up a few years after the seventh book Logan is again in a state of crisis. His relationship with the local gangster is a constant source of confusion to him, and the aftermath of his and Samantha's fall in book seven is still being felt. Despite all this Logan, in his new role of acting DI is asked to solve a case where a man has been trapped in a tyre and burnt to death!

All the usual cast are present. Steel as usual is a highlight of the book. And her new role of temporary head of CID highlights hers and Logan's relationship in a wonderful and funny way.

All in all despite the high standards set previously I found this book to be comfortably the best in the series and I am longing for the next Logan book already!

Highly recommend!
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on 2 April 2014
I'm a great fan of Stuart MacBride's books, particularly the Logan McRae thrillers. This isn't quite the best one I've read, but it's pretty good just the same. I love the touches of humour included in the stories, particularly in the author's description of various characters - particularly on-going ones. There is a sub-plot running through the books relating to McRae's private life and that of his fellow police officers, but it doesn't really matter if you read the books in the wrong order (as I have) because it's quite easy to pick up the thread. As with other books by Stuart MacBride, this is not for the squeamish, but is a very good read for those with a strong stomach.
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on 30 October 2013
First off I am surprised at the amount of people saying positive things about this book, don't get me wrong I am from Aberdeen born and bred, and love all the little clever observations about the place, I have read all of Stuat's books and have to say that over the series the standard has dropped, this is not unusual for such a long running series of books but I think this latest has really hit 'rock bottom'.

My main gripe is with Steele, I guess she is like Marmite, you either Hate her or Love her there is no middle round, she used to be very funny and there was good 'banter between her and Laz', now however she has become a joke charecter, and as other reviewers have written no Senior Police officer would ever behave this way, I know this is a work of fiction but she has really spoiled this book for me, I found when reading it I was skipping over the parts where she appeared, which did not help with the flow of the book.
I agree with other reviewers, Stuart please go back and have a read of your earlier books, you need to get the balance right between the humour and the grittiness that we all loved about your books.

Fingers crossed that his next Logan book will be a massive improvement or it will be my last
The book is currently available for 99p on the Kindle, however I would hesitate to recommend it even at that price !
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