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Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Blind Eye by Stuart MacBride (Logan McRae, #5) - Book Review

4/5 Stars

'You can't be an eyewitness if I cut out your eyes...'

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Edition: Paperback
Pages: 549
Chapters: 71 (Plus an epilogue with three parts.)
Publisher: Harper

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Amazon
                      Author's Website

Review

Entry five in MacBride's crime series is everything long-term fans expect: It's gruesome, blackly hilarious, and it makes you wonder why there isn't some sort of TV adaption.

Blind Eye does feel a little cluttered, however. There are a myriad of plot threads that writhe throughout, making your brain shift up a gear. It mostly pulls itself together, managing to weave the many threads into a cohesive story, but, some slip through the cracks. There are too many allusions to answers, rather than just answers (so it could be I'm just too thick to properly understand everything...). 

All in all, though, it carries on the fine tradition of riveting and gritty novels MacBride does so well.

SPOILER WARNING

Synopsis (Not a copy from the book, but I always keep my interpretations close.)

Aberdeen is on the verge of an all-out gang war.
And police are up to their eyeballs in cases:
Someone is ravaging the Polish community, cutting out their eyes and burning their sockets.
The only witness a paedophile who's on the run.
A mass amount of guns are found in the Granite City.
And the force has a mole.
DS McRae's limits are pushed, and he'll have to figure out how far he's willing to bend his unflinching rules...

Plot - 4/5 Stars

Blind Eye's story is fierce, expansive and utterly bloody. 

There's a certain magic to MacBride's imagination that ensures you finish one of his works. This entry has a lot to chew over, even flying from dour Aberdeen to scarily similar Poland. There are some nifty twists and allusions, with heart-pounding action acting as a buffer. The downside is, if you're not careful, you'll be consumed by confusion. There's just too much stuff going on that needs to be resolved in such a short period of time. 

Even I got a kind of story whiplash.

There are a few loose ends, such as Krystka and Wiktorja, along with some of the plot around them.

I do enjoy MacBride's hyper-realistic look at the racism the Polish - or immigrants in general - community face. 

Pace - 3.5/5 Stars

Even with the great action and the more thrilling elements of the story, Blind Eye falls victim to its huge plot. The flow can sometimes drag, and the scenes seem to be split between emotionally heavy to monotonously dull. 

There are sharp strikes of the author's trademark humour, though, and the way he combines that with his characters is beyond perfect.

Characters - 4.5/5 Stars

Now, let's jump into repetitive-ville, because I'm about to repeat myself.

This series' cast is amazing, fantastic, awesome, brilliant, and all those other positive adjectives. 

MacBride always nails it with his characters. There's a couple meh ones, but definitely no bad ones. Logan and Steel are perhaps the best crime duo I've ever read, and I've joined a lot of duos through the darkness of their author's minds. 

Logan: Our hero-cop's been through the ringer, and while Blind Eye makes sure it can be read as a standalone, there's a definite presence of his past. And it's weighing on him something awful. Logan's development takes a darker turn; his boundaries are reached, and the rules he's so stringent about get called into question. A personal crisis doesn't cover his downward spiral, and the hits just seem to keep on coming.

Also, as a nice little follow-on from Flesh House, Logan is now a vegetarian. I'm not surprised, that instalment almost pushed me to adopt the lifestyle...

Steel: Delightfully hilarious. She brings this entry, and all the entries she's in, straight to comedic heaven, or hell, considering her penchant for obscenities. She's the witch with the golden heart, only she shows it with a foul-mouthed embrace. Her chemistry with Logan is a highlight, and I hope to God MacBride never has the two separated.

Or we're coming for you Mr MacBride...

Just kidding, but you'll break my heart.

There's a new character entry in the form of DCI Finnie, and, initially, you hate him. He's condescending and overly sarcastic. But, as we progress, he's actually a great addition. The one-liners he pulls off have you buckled over in fits, and Steel's name for him only gives him that much more of a familiar feel (she calls him Frog-Face Finnie!).

The rest of the cast fill out nicely.

Was sad to see that Insch is still recuperating after the events of this book's predecessor. Hope he makes a triumphant return. 

Writing - 4/5 Stars

The Scottish accent is heavy in Blind Eye and, while not a problem for me, non-native speakers might find the dialogue and some references difficult to understand.

Aside from that, the exposition is thrilling, the characters well-rounded, and the comedy has you questioning your moral integrity.

Overall - 4/5 Stars

I'll see you in the sequel, Dark Blood!


Previous Instalment: Flesh House
Next Instalment: Dark Blood


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