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review 2019-01-29 20:43
Gritty Scottish noir fiction
The Missing and the Dead - Stuart MacBride

The usual great fun, multi layered, gritty Scottish detective story. Sergeant Logan McRae as always ever troubled and hindered by the sarcastic often witty comments from the politically incorrect DI Roberta Steel.The body of a little girl washes up on a sleepy coastal town and it is this case that forms the central story in The Missing and the Dead. As well as unravelling the mystery of the child Sgt McRae still needs to deal with a multitude of incidents and petty crime that form the day to day case load of Police Scotland.


Stuart MacBride is unique in crime fiction. He has the ability to hold his readers attention by layering his narrative with colourful incidents and shady characters that are the backbone of everyday modern police work.There is great humour and warmth in MacBride's writing and yet he manages to deal eloquently and sympathetically with the search for the killer of a precious young girl resulting in a surprising and yet equally sad conclusion. Long may Stuart MacBride reign as the king of Scottish noir.

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review 2019-01-13 16:15
In The Cold Dark Ground
Logan McRae (10) - In the Cold Dark Ground - Stuart MacBride

The tenth story in the Logan McRae series see him dealing with a missing person murder, a brewing drug turf war, a new superintendent who takes a dislike to him, DCI Steel, professional standards and the usual bevy of unsavoury characters that tend to crop up. There's also the impending decision to take Samantha off life support and the death of Wee Hamish Mowat which puts him in the crosshairs of lunatic henchman Reuben.


I love this series but I do wish there was some happiness for Logan in his personal life, I think he's suffered enough over the last few books and whilst it was sad it was also time for him to let Samantha go. Aside from this it was the usual black humour and break neck speed of the story that kept me glued to it for the two days it took me to read it. Another fantastic addition to the series which for the first time truly tested Logans ethics and left me wondering what direction this character will now go.


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review 2019-01-10 17:01
Good writing as always
Now We Are Dead - Stuart MacBride

Being a great fan of DCI Logan McRea I was curious to see how the author would handle (handle is probably the appropriate word as DS Steel is a bit of a rogue to curtail) setting one of the main characters and indeed one of the much loved characters into her very own book! The now newly demoted Detective Sergeant Roberta Steel is still determined to bring to justice pedophile Jack Wallace even though she has been warned to stay away from him and if she disobeys runs the risk of being thrown of the force for good. It is not so much the plot that I love in Stuart MacBrides books but his larger than life characters and none are more electric than Roberta Steel. In Now we are Dead two things struck me as worthy of mention. Roberta's long suffering partner Susan, taking away all the joking and bravado these two ladies love eachother and this love brings a great stability to Roberta's life. The second thing worthy of note is that once all the cursing and bad language has faded Steel has a heart of gold and will fight with her life where she sees injustice...."Roberta gave Beatrice's hand another gentle squeeze. It gets better. I know it doesn't seem like it but it does. There comes a time when you won't flinch if someone touches you. When your heart doesn't feel like you're going to die if you feel footsteps coming up behind you. When the darkness doesn't make you want to scream. She stood leaned forward and kissed her on the forehead."....( Could this really be the Roberta Steel we all love to laugh at the lady who is always scratching shifting and re positioning her knickers and bra!)


Setting Steel in her own adventure has it seems allowed MacBride to add some very human observations and gentle touches...."Oh to be five again. When the only things you had to worry about was how many marbles you could fit up your nose and how dinosaurs brushed their teeth with those stubby wee arms of theirs. When the scariest thing in the world was running out of chocolate biscuits and the monster that lived under the bed".....Having said that the trademark dur Celtic humour is still very much present..."Ten to four on a Wednesday and the regulars were well into their fourth or fifth pint- the empties littering their tables. Some hadn't even bothered changing out of their overalls before coming in to quench the demon thirst"....."She killed the engine. You got a girlfriend, Tufty? Or boyfriend? Or favourite sheep?"......


Having paid the above compliments I need to be more convinced that Steel is worthy of a second outing? She simply flouts the rules (ok we all know this happens) to an extent that any police force would have discharged her a long time ago. I think she is more suited to a secondary role acting as a buffer or comical aside for Logan McRae. So not a bad book, enjoyable with limitations....

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text 2018-10-26 14:42
Reading progress update: I've read 210 out of 529 pages.
Logan McRae (10) - In the Cold Dark Ground - Stuart MacBride

What's not to love about a Stuart MacBride novel all that gritty Scottish Humour and the lovely DI Steel...this book must be one of his best...wonderful 

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review 2018-01-04 01:07
Now We Are Dead - Stuart MacBride

Oh man…this is a tough one. First let me say I’m a huge fan of this author. HUGE. When I see a new book of his on the horizon, I break out the happy dance. And immediately begin plotting how to make it mine.


I’ve read all the Logan McRae & Ash Henderson books & although this one is tagged as belonging to the former, it heads off in a new direction starring DS Roberta Steel, Logan’s sometime partner & author of his nightmares. She was his boss, then peer but after events of the last book, she’s been busted down to DS & tasked with chasing down pickpockets & wandering pensioners. So it comes as no surprise that Roberta is not happy. And if Roberta’s not happy, no one in Aberdeen is safe.


Except Jack Wallace. He’s the reason she was demoted & ok, maybe she did “find” some evidence in an effort to put him away for the rape/assault of local women. But now he’s free & proclaiming to anyone who’ll listen that he plans to sue Police Scotland. So Roberta is duly warned: do not approach, speak to or even look at Jack Wallace. Apparently she’s supposed to let him live his scumbag, dickhead, perverted, weaselly life unhindered.


Fine. There are other men to use for target practice such as Logan (who she’s not speaking to) & DC “Tufty” Quirrel, her shiny new partner. But then a woman is violently assaulted…..and another. Roberta knows Wallace is responsible but she’s on a short leash where he’s concerned & another screw-up won’t mean further demotion. She’ll lose her career.


So here’s the deal. Like other books this one has the multiple cases & eccentric characters that make the stories so entertaining. Full points for providing a bad guy we desperately want to see get what he karmically deserves. And bonus points for turning a farmer’s demonstration into a literal shit-show.


What I discovered was that, while I’ve enjoyed Roberta in a supporting role, she’s a bit much for me as the MC. She’s an original, you have to give her that. But shadowing her raunchy, potty mouthed, perpetually itchy character 24/7 soon lost its appeal. For me, she’s like cilantro…a little goes a long way.


Also, while there are multiple story lines that unfold & wrap up, the emphasis is on putting Roberta & Tufty in situations that become slapstick routines. Bumping heads, tripping, falling, knocking things over, being sprayed with multiple substances…some of it is genuinely funny but the sheer number of incidents causes the book to quickly devolve into the realm of farce with the Roberta & Tufty Show. Which is ok if you’re a fan of bathroom humour & the Three Stooges. Also, her habit of greeting every woman she meets with comments full of sexual innuendo would surely land her on the #metoo list & makes for uncomfortable reading at times. 


It all depends on where you keep your funny bone. Having said all that, I give full props to her & wife Susan for the final scenes. High five, girl. (em…note to any male readers: you may want to down a few beverages before you hit this part. Just sayin’.)


So there you have it. Just one person’s opinion & as always, it’s a matter of personal preference. I’ll continue to wait impatiently for the next book featuring Logan or Ash. As for Roberta, I think it’s best we maintain a long distance relationship.




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