Simon's Bookcase

Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe

Broken Skin

Broken Skin: Stuart MacBride, January 19—26, 2016

My rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

Broken_SkinDetective Logan McRae is back with another handful of cases – this time with no gory decomposing bodies! This time he’s juggling a runaway eight-year-old murderer, a victim of murder or BDSM misadventure, and increasingly violent rapes that may be the handiwork of the local star footballer.

Detective Inspectors Insch and Steel get pretty much equal page time, and it’s dynamite as they play off McRae’s reluctant loyalties to each of them. If Cold Granite had Steel as a supporting character, and Dying Light as an interloper, it’s in Broken Skin that she becomes a bona fide co-star. She’s outrageous and hysterical.

The supporting characters are all perfectly drawn out and drawn in. Big Gary is always slurping tea and complaining McRae’s phone is switched; Hissing Sid is still at his sneaky, infuriating best; Ma, the local bookie, is hilarious and Colin Miller has to embrace fatherhood with fewer fingers than he’s used to.

MacBride’s tongue-in-cheek writing style offsets the horrendous nature of the crimes. The downright cruelty of our villains is viewed through a withering and sarcastic lens. That’s not to say it’s trivialised; Jackie Watson and even Insch are horrified on behalf of the victims of crime – particularly the rapes – and there are genuinely sobering moments.

He also does a great job of showing his research without being a show off. Where Connelly can be guilty of lengthy exposition of police procedures or systems, MacBride is more subtle. We learn a lot without ever being coached. There’s even a nod to the other great Scottish crime writer of our time: Ian Rankin.

It’s hilarious – genuinely laugh-out-loud funny – and brilliantly paced. Broken Skin is moreish and very entertaining, packing a punch with its final cliffhanger that could make the next instalment a game changer. In short, this is crime fiction at its most flawless.



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This entry was posted on January 26, 2016 by in 5 star, Logan McRae and tagged .

Author Cloud

@Queen_UK Adolf Hitler agatha christie Alan Clements Alastair Campbell Aldous Huxley Aleksandr Orlov Alex Shaffer Andrew Neiderman Anthony Burgess Arthur Miller Bateman Ben Brooks Ben Elton Bram Stoker Bret Easton Ellis C.J. Cherryh Carolyn Jess-Cooke Charles Dickens Chuck Palahniuk Dan Brown Dante Alighieri dashiell hammett david baldacci David Brin David Glattauer David Kirkpatrick David Line David Tennant David Wolstencroft Dylan Jones E.L. James Edgar Allen Poe Emilia Fox Eoin Colfer Erica Spindler Frank Peretti Gabrielle Lord Gareth Roberts Geoff Ryman George Orwell George R. R. Martin George W. Bush Gillian Flynn Gillian Slovo Graham Greene Guy Piran Harper Lee Harriet Lane Herman Koch Ian Rankin J.K. Rowling Jack Thorne Jacqueline Rayner James Herbert James Patterson Jasper Fforde Jeff Green Jeff Kinney Jeffrey Archer Jem Lester Jenny Robson Jeremy Clarkson Jerry B. Jenkins Jim Thompson John Crowther John Green John Grisham John Tiffany John Verdon Jonas Jonasson Judith Kerr Juliana Foster Justin Richards Kaci Hill Karen Levine Keeley Bolger Louis Walsh malorie blackman Marissa Meyer Mark Haddon Mark Z. Danielewski Martin Sixsmith Mary Higgins Clark Mary McNamara Matt Haig Matthew Ravden Michael Berry Michael Connelly Michael Morpurgo Michael Quirke Miguel de Cervantes Mike Lancaster Morris Gleitzman Morton Rhue Neil Sinclair Nick Hornby Nick Page Patricia Cornwell Patricia Stotley Patrick Ness Paula Hawkins Paul Johnston Peter James Phil Allcock R.J. Palacio Rachelle Dekker Raymond Chandler Richard Bachman Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Ludlum Robin Cook Robin Kirkpatrick sandra brown Sebastian Beaumont Sharon Osbourne Stella Rimmington Stephen Cole Stephen King Steve Lookner Steve Lyons Stuart MacBride Sue Townsend Suzanne Collins ted dekker Terry Pratchett Tim LaHaye Tim Randall Todd Strasser Tom Avery Tom Bower Tom Cain Tom Hoyle tony blair William Golding William P. Young William Shakespeare