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Thursday, 7 January 2016

Close to the Bone by Stuart MacBride (Logan McRae, #8) - Book Review

4.5/5 Stars

There's power in bones...

16059717

Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 511
Chapters: 51
Publisher: HarperCollins

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Amazon
                      Author's Website

Review

Do you enjoy insanely graphic murders? (Fictional, of course.) Do you salivate for a gritty thriller shot through with the blackest of comedy? Looking for a cast that defies the rules of etiquette and still make their way into your heart?

Then the Logan McRae series is for you.

Each entry has something new, addictive and outrageous. Each entry never fails to remind me of all the reasons I love this series. And yeah, I could wax on, and on, and on about how great it is. 

It's brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. 

Are you tired of me yet? Too bad if you are, because Close to the Bone is, yep, you guessed it: Brilliant. Ritualistic murders; blood, guts and death; captivating character interactions and progressions; this novel has that and more.

I will say one thing: Read the previous books. Not only are they fantastic on their own, but the background and history make each new story just that bit more rewarding.

SPOILER WARNING

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

A man has been staked to the ground and set alight.
A drug war is brewing.
Teenagers are missing.
Asian immigrants are being hunted.
Human bones keep turning up at Detective Inspector Logan McRae's door.
Aberdeen has, without a doubt, descended into chaos...

Plot - 4.5/5 Stars

There's a lot going on in Close to the Bone, threads and threads and threads of stuff that splinter and trail off in so many directions it's enough to make you question how the hell the real world has any order. Because, despite sometimes being a little overwhelming in the novel, the grit and genuine reality of what the police go through boggles the brain. I don't think the public gives them enough credit.

But, back to the book. MacBride's broken this entry up into different parts, namely days, which streamline and do wonders for the timeline. And the beginning holds instant brutality for you gore fans out there, and it doesn't let up. 

I cannot think of an element to the story that I don't like. I love the inclusion of a fictional novel and film which influence the murders; I love the simmering gangland troubles that Logan's ironic friendship with Aberdeen's crime lord drags him into; I love the missing teenagers and the intricacies of how one thing fits and affects another. It's crazy, and I love the crazy.

MacBride puts us through the ringer. Then, yep, then, you take into account the characters. I'll elaborate in that section below, but whoa. There are twists and turns and totally tantalising tales that take your mind on an adventure you hope never becomes a reality.

Close to the Bone might just be my all-time favourite, so far anyway. Its ending wraps everything up perfectly, with no glaring holes and satisfying resolutions. 

Pace - 4/5 Stars

A little slow at points, but it's a consequence of having so much going on at the one time. But, I can't imagine any parts of the story being taken out. It just wouldn't work, so the dips aren't really that troublesome.

For the most part, and the flip side of having so much, the majority of the story moves quickly, mainly because as the reader you're desperate for answers, and that's always the sign of a great author.

Characters - 5/5 Stars

Logan McRae moves from Detective Sergeant to Detective Inspector, and Steel moves from Detective Inspector to Detective Chief Inspector, both at least temporarily. And both are still as invigorating and intense as they've always been. Why isn't there a TV show!? The right actors could make them a phenomenon. Logan is still struggling with his morality; he's a great copper who's been pulled to the dark side and is dealing with the repercussions.

Namely, telling Aberdeen's crime lord that no, he can't bloody take over his empire.

It's riveting stuff. Steel is still a delightful pain in the arse (Logan not only does his work, but most of hers). 

DI Insch makes a return! He's not a DI anymore, but it's great to have some insight to what happened to him. I think the last time we saw him he was having a heart attack, so a little bit of closure goes a long way. 

There's even a nice cameo from Jackie Watson, a former flame of Logan's. Then there's ambitious newbie DS Chalmers, although, after Close to the Bone, I'm not sure we'll be seeing much of her...

But it's Sam, Logan's current girlfriend and love, that brings the biggest revelation of this entry. In Shatter The Bones there's a huge, monumental scene that's emotional and completely insane that ends with Sam in a coma. It is gutting! For most of Close to the Bone Logan's chatting away to her and cracking jokes with her as she recovers in hospital. 

Only the reader finds out that SAM HASN'T WOKEN FROM HER COMA YET AND LOGAN IS IMAGINING THE CONVERSATIONS!

WHAT!?

It's not too hard to guess, MacBride does an admirable job of leaving clues and giving you little nudges, but it still comes as a heartbreaking shock. 

Writing - 5/5 Stars

I can't fault the author, and I don't really want to. The whole package of this novel is just so tight and well done. It's a wonderful read laden with comedy gold.

Overall - 4.5/5 Stars

MacBride, can I have some more, please?


Previous Instalment: Shatter The Bones
Next Instalment: The Missing and the Dead


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