Close to the Bone (Logan McRae 8) by Stuart MacBride

More comedy than crime…

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

close to the boneLogan McRae returns for an eighth adventure, this time as Acting DI. As a film about witchcraft is being made in the city, a series of horrific murders with an occult theme is taking place throughout the city. Meantime a young couple have gone missing and a gang war is brewing between the drug barons of the city. And as usual, every crime in Aberdeen seems to be dumped on poor McRae’s desk.

As always, MacBride has come up with an interesting and complicated plot and the quality of his writing remains very high. However as the series has progressed the humour seems to have taken over more and more and while this makes the book an enjoyable read it does tend to reduce any sense of realism and detract from the flow of the story. The usual characters are there – DI Steel, now acting head of CID, Rennie and a brief return for Jackie Watson – but all the characters have become so caricatured that they seem to be more like pantomime characters than real people. This book also sees a reappearance for retired DI Insch, but his personality is so changed, mainly for comedic purposes, that he simply doesn’t ring true at all.

Stuart MacBride (amazon.co.uk)
Stuart MacBride
(amazon.co.uk)

The overall impression for me is that MacBride is bored with these characters and taking them to comedic extremes for his own amusement. And while there’s no doubt it’s still an amusing journey for the reader too, I no longer think of these as crime books but as fairly broad farce comedies. As a result, all the characters are there purely to be laughed at, including McRae, so I found I didn’t feel any emotional involvement with them or tension as to the outcome. I’m not sure where the series is heading and I’ll probably stick with it for another book or two but I think it may be close to the time that it should reach an end before it becomes too farcical.

An enjoyable read, then, but lacking any sense of realism and with none of the grittiness of the early books. Falls somewhere between 3 and 4 stars for me, so for old time’s sake I’ve rounded up to 4.

NB This book was provided for review by Amazon Vine UK.

Amazon UK Link
Amazon US Link

2 thoughts on “Close to the Bone (Logan McRae 8) by Stuart MacBride

  1. I like that extra push ‘for old time’s sake.’ But I know what you mean about the way a series can change over time. That said though, I have enjoyed the small dashes of humour in this series. I suppose like everything else, all in moderation.

    • I loved the early books because of the contrast of the grittiness and the very Scottish humour, but I think he’s lost the balance a bit recently. Still fun but they’ve lost the realism for me – and really don’t reflect Scottish society in the way they did at first. Thank goodness for Rankin and Rebus – may he never retire again! 🙂

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