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Sunday, 3 January 2016

Shatter The Bones by Stuart MacBride (Logan McRae, #7) - Book Review

4.5/5 Stars

'You will raise money for the safe return of Alison and Jenny McGregor. You have fourteen days, or Jenny will be killed.'

It looks as if the price of fame just got a lot higher...

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Edition: Paperback
Pages: 453
Chapters: 53
Publisher: Harper

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Amazon
                      Author's Website

Review

I've been away from MacBride and his protagonist Logan McRae for too long. Once I got into Shatter The Bones I realised just how much I missed the gritty stories, the crazy cast and the stellar Scottish dialogue. It feels good to be back!

Shatter The Bones is a fantastic entry to the series; number seven and we're still going strong. The plot is engaging, and its commentary on today's craze for reality TV is hilarious. Driven by a collection of foul-mouthed characters that are as unique as they are insane.

I would say this instalment stands on its own pretty well, but for the fullest experience I recommend reading the books that come before, just for some extra background. For now, get ready for a tale of kidnap, ransom and deceit.

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

Alison and daughter Jenny McGregor, a mother-daughter singing sensation set to win Britain's Next Big Star, have been kidnapped.
Unlike other ransoms, where secrecy from the police is key, the abductors want their acts broadcast to the entirety of the country.
Now the residents of Britain are being asked to dig deep and pay for the McGregors' safe return.
DS Logan McRae is on the case, but with zero forensics to help guide the investigation, there's nowhere for the authorities to go.
And the deadline for the ransom ticks down...

Plot - 4.5/5 Stars

Shatter The Bones thrusts the reader into the story, which I was initially unsure of. The big case of the novel is already in full swing. But it does wonders. MacBride brings us up to speed in no time, and thanks to that sudden beginning, there's adrenaline galore.

From there on out we're treated to several slippery cases that weave around one another. The story's constructed well, but the second half of the book is better than the first, especially when the dominoes start to topple and everything falls into place. There are a few dud lines of plot, scenes and threads that the book could have done without, but MacBride gives enough twists to keep the reader invested.

And with the story so full of murder and mayhem, creepy stalkers and disgusting predators, the author sidelines you with a series-shattering situation that's all shocks and no happy endings. It's probably the biggest and most emotional the series has got.

The end wraps everything up quite tight, but parts are definitely rushed. There's a surprise you don't see coming, but it's so sudden and surreal that there's a little confusion surrounding motivation.

Pace - 4.5/5 Stars

The author sets us up with a fast-paced thriller, but after the beginning things take a dip in speed. It's not a huge problem; it's not long until everything ratchets back up to a breakneck race to the end.

Characters - 5/5 Stars

There's not another cast like it, MacBride creates the most delightfully disgusting bunch of characters in fiction. Each one feels whole and useful, even if it's just to convey some of the stellar dark comedy woven throughout. Not everyone will love the style of gallows humour, because it can be strong and vicious. Plus, the profanity might not be everyone's cup of tea.

But if you love the grim and dour, MacBride's your man.

Our protagonist Logan still delights. Especially when he's partnered with the crass and surprisingly motherly Steel. Over the course of the series he's grown more cynical and snappy (not surprising given everything he's been through, which is why reading the series in order is so rewarding), sounding more and more like the bosses that hound his every move. It's hilarious.

He also takes a resolute step from his morally grey zone towards black. A huge twist pushes him down a dark path. It's been coming for a while now, especially since Logan's state of mind seems to be deteriorating fast.

Writing - 4.5/5 Stars

As a Scotsman myself I've never had much trouble with the dialogue or references MacBride peppers throughout his stories, but after a quick look through some other reviews, non-natives might find it a bit difficult.

Overall - 4.5/5 Stars

Not my best review, but I'm writing while on the run.

That sounds ominous, let your imagination play on that one.


Previous Instalment: Dark Blood
Next Instalment: Close to the Bone


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