Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
Flesh House: Stuart MacBride, October 11—October 21, 2016
My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊
This time, it’s the Flesher. A serial killer released from prison on a technicality has, it seems, returned to his passtime of butchering people and then serving them as supper. Rotting flesh and enforced cannibalism is the firing gun for Logan McRae’s least pleasant case so far.
The whole thing is being followed by the BBC. Poor old Alec was set to film Insch and co in a 24 Hours in Police Custody style fly-on-the-wall documentary but got the scoop of his life when a nationwide case unfolded in front of his lens. As such, some parts are scripted and set up as talking heads which is hilarious, as our old favourites McRae, Insch, Steele and Rennie act true to form. Alec provides even more comic relief alongside the Detective Inspectors, who never miss a chance to be outrageous.
Things take a shocking turn, and MacBride seems a little unsure how to handle the more solemn material. Lashings of blood and sarcasm won’t cut it so he sort of jumps awkwardly from one character and setting to the next until it’s over with. The characters don’t really know how to act either and it’s all a bit of an awkward aftermath until normal service can be resumed.
Overall it’s symptomatic of Flesh House. It’s just a touch too knowing and too cynical. The scenes feel shorter and less,purposeful. Before, they’d be doing something while Steel swears, scratches and makes a few appalling comments. Now, it’s just a quick set up for the comment and then moving on. The flow isn’t what it was in the previous books, but the overall plot is well thought out.
The characters and patter is on form (except a sadly absent Hissing Sid), with potentially game-changing consequences afoot. It’s not the strongest entry in the series but it’s still bloody good.