What’s it all about?:
The city is in a state of fear. Some 20 years ago, the Grampian police nailed a particularly vicious serial killer known as The Flesher, a monster who had claimed victims throughout the country. But one of those frequent legal appeals which so often release dangerous criminals into the community has freed him, and when a container with human body parts appears at Aberdeen harbour, it looks like the stage is once again set for carnage on a massive scale. DS Logan McRae (along with his less experienced colleague, Chief Constable Mark Faulds from Birmingham — who was on the original team tracking down The Flesher), finds himself in charge of one of the most ambitious manhunts city has ever seen. And then members of the original team tracking down their serial killer prey (whose real name is Ken Wiseman) begin to disappear — and more human meat is making grisly appearances. All of this is delivered with the requisite grasp of tension and characterisation that we have come to expect from Stuart MacBride.
What did I think?:
This is the fourth book in the Logan McRae series, and has to be my favourite one so far. Twenty years ago, a serial killer known as The Flesher, terrorized Scotland by dismembering his victims and eating them. A man called Ken Wiseman was fingered for the murky deeds but escaped jail time on a technicality which has always infuriated Logan’s boss, Insch who played a major part in his conviction and trial. Fast forward to the present day where butchered human remains are found in food about to be sent to an oil rig, even more in the supplier’s freezers and considerably more in an abattoir – along with some grisly parts like hair and teeth which leave the police force in no doubt that the cannibalistic killer has returned and may be attempting to get some human bits and pieces into the food chain.
The obvious perp for the crime is Ken Wiseman and the fact that he has done a runner doesn’t exactly look good for him, but as with MacBride’s other work, the real story is considerably more complicated. And it is a work of pure genius. The plot kept me gripped throughout, to the extent where it got incredibly frustrating as I just wanted to know what was going on! Character wise, I felt Logan was pretty much put on the back burner in this novel, but don’t think this was necessarily a bad thing as the plot was so convoluted in its structure that digging further into the mind of Logan McRae may have over-egged things slightly.
I also enjoyed exploring a different side of Insch – the notorious jelly baby muncher/Logan’s superior, and the hilarious chain-smoking Steel. Also characteristic of these novels is MacBride’s hard and gritty sense of humour which I always appreciate, especially when delivered in the textbook Scottish self-deprecating style. Is it wrong to say that I found the word “jobbie,” strangely comforting as a Scot living in England?! Other things that made this book quite special was the addition of newspaper articles interspersed between some chapters with images that the author claims are family and friends he roped into posing for him (although I don’t know who drew the short straw to play The Flesher). I really don’t want to say too much about the ending, but it’s an absolute blinder and one I won’t forget in a hurry. If you haven’t read any Stuart MacBride before (do it!), this is a brilliant introduction to his work, and can be read as a stand alone or as part of the series. I’m hoping you all get a good laugh out of Steel’s Kermit the Frog joke also, it might be a bit rude to repeat here…
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):