Book Review

Book Review – The Missing and the Dead

the missing and the deadThe Missing and the Dead by Stuart MacBride


DS Logan McRae is moved from being Acting Inspector back down to uniformed Sergeant in a neighbouring police force – and he makes the most of getting up the boss’s nose whilst he’s at it! In other crime thriller novels we have one main story arc with several subplots and themes, but this book is different because it has many (many!) short story arcs which are bound together by several longer plotlines overall. It is a bit confusing to explain, but I found it exciting to read and I found myself saying “just one more bit” every time I picked it up to read. 

My overall impression?

This is the 9th book in the Logan McRae series and it is quite different from the previous eight. Where they have been quite dark and in some places quite disturbing, this one is lighter and has more humour in it. We get to see a different version of the tried and trusted “police procedural” format, and it is refreshing to see how it works from the uniform point of view rather than the CID viewpoint. I love the character of McRrae and I feel for him when he ends up in trouble through no fault of his own. He tries to do the right thing, but as we all know in the world of fictional police-land, doing the right thing doesn’t always mean the best outcome for our hero. I did enjoy the different viewpoint, and I did enjoy the necessary differences in tone in the prose. For example, because the job of a uniformed officer is fragmented and has short-lived actions, so too was the prose. Shorter sentences, one sentence paragraphs and so on suited the flow of the book.

Stuart MacBride has introduced me to a whole new vocabulary too. I found myself giving the kettle a “shoogle” the other day to sit it on its stand, and after my nachos today I found myself “sooking” my fingers. Thanks Stuart!

Who are the main characters?

The main protagonist is Logan McRae, a police sergeant with Police Scotland (the new name for the homogeneous organisation made from the old Scottish divisions) and he is “supervised” by Inspector Steele, a character from previous books in the series. There are a couple of other characters that make it from past books, such as McRae’s girlfriend Sam, but in the main this book is all new characters.

Where is it set?

It is set in and around Aberdeen in the present day.

Will I read the next in the series?

Yes I will. As I said earlier, some of the previous books have been quite dark in tone and there has been some stomach churning violence, which I wasn’t too fond of, but this book is a refreshing improvement so if the next one is similar then I will definitely read it.

Would I recommend it to my friends?

Tricky one – whilst it stands alone as a book in its own right, there are quite a few links to previous books which are not fully explained and would perhaps be confusing if someone were to start with this book. But, to totally understand this one you’d have to read the previous ones and because of their content I would hesitate to recommend them to some of my more delicate friends (and my Dad!). If you are like me and don’t mind reading about the darker side of human nature then I would recommend books 1-8 beforehand, and to those who are a bit squeamish or delicate then this one won’t offend, and I would recommend it even if not all the references would be understood.







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