MacBride, Stuart - 'Flesh House'
MacBride has a bit of a reputation for darkly funny books and this one is no disappointment. However this one takes the darkness to a whole new level. It's far more gruesome than the previous books.
As usual it features DS Logan McRae and the familiar team at Grampian Police Headquarters and it starts with the discovery of human remains in a catering consignment heading for a North Sea oil rig. Someone has been butchering people and passing them off as meat. There are links to an old case, solved by McRae's boss, the lumbering DI Insch. Did they get the right man? Or is there a copycat butcher on the loose? The body count mounts and soon everyone in Aberdeen is thinking of turning vegetarian. To make McRae's job even harder he's being filmed for a fly-on-the-wall documentary - just what he needs.
This is a gripping thriller with twists and turns aplenty. It builds on the characters of the usual team of detectives, including the wonderful DI Steel, and it includes a visiting Chief Constable from the West Midlands, thus providing some international humour.
I really like this series. It's well-written, full of great, rounded characters, set in a wonderful city (which isn't Edinburgh). It's stark and unflinching and yet it's funny too. That's a difficult trick to pull off, but MacBride does it with panache.
Pat Austin, England