Book review: Close to the Bone by Stuart MacBride

cv_close_to_the_doneThis book is in bookshops now

The lovely DCI Steel is at it again – overloading McRae and the station’s crew with cases as fast as they arise: missing tramps, a missing teenage couple, a film crew obsessed with their production in the “magic witch” genre, drug bosses and drug gang wars, victims rolling out of the dark – left, right and centre, macabre ritualistic mayhem… The series’ favourite characters – McRae’s co-workers – are as always backing up his investigations with their expertise or plain old foot work, and we enjoy their company, if not their antics.

The opening chapter grabbed me from the start – but fooled me. You’ll see what I mean when you grab your own copy and start reading. That image is revisited in a crime, and again during investigations which lead to discoveries about other crimes, which lead to … a whole interwoven mesh of murder, misunderstandings and mayhem. Lovely. Riveting. “Put your light out – I’m trying to sleep,” stuff.

Having begun the series (Cold Granite, Dying Light and Flesh House, and yes I missed number three) I know MacBride has maintained the standard of the series so can assure readers there’ll be no disappointment here. Apart from the obvious attraction of McRae’s crime scenes and investigations, I found myself looking forward to the dialogue between colleagues – whether aloud or internal, with or without the lovely Steel. Just a quick sampler – relax, not a spoiler:

“The yellow-grey bones were laid out … like some sort of art installation: a toothless skull resting above crossed femurs, the bottom jaw on the other side, then the pelvis and sternum, all held within a rough circle made up of ribs and vertebrae. Little piles of soil dotted the roof around it.

Logan pointed. ‘Can’t have been there for long. There’s no moss or anything growing on them.’

‘Ah.’ Burt Reynolds from the council nodded. ‘Maybe it’s Keith Richards?’ “

Great imagery and descriptive writing bring each scene to light; characters are realised with flair and foibles alike, plot intricacies are so almost impossible for a reader to untangle that one HAS to keep reading. And I will enjoy reading the rest of the series.

Book 8 in the Logan McRae crime series

Reviewed by Lynne Street

Close to the Bone
by Stuart MacBride
Publishered by HarperCollins, 2013
ISBN: 9780007344277