Aberdeen is panicking. It's been eighteen years since Grampian Police caught the Flesher - the notorious serial killer who butchered people all over the UK - and seven years since he was released from Petershead prison, his conviction overturned on appeal. But when a container full of joints of human meat turns up at Aberdeen Harbour, it kicks off the largest man hunt in Aberdeen's history. Ken Wiseman is on the run and looking for revenge.
If you are teetering on the edge of fully-fledged vegetarianism FLESH HOUSE could be the trigger that pushes you over. MacBride is one of those author's who seem to be able to take the grotesque, the frequently cruel and absolutely obscene and wrap that in humanity. FLESH HOUSE is one of those books. At points you're giggling away at the magnificently over the top DI Steel, feeling for the put upon DS McRae, wondering whether DI Insch is really going to burst a blood vessel, and at the next minute you're peeking through your fingers reading some truly confrontational scenes.
The Flesher got his nickname from the ancient trade of the butcher - his victims were expertly slaughtered - the only word for it. When Wiseman was charged and found guilty all those years ago, he had ranged widely over England before being caught. So when it looks like he's started killing again - this time with the added twist of parts of his victim's being discovered in the local human food chain, Chief Constable Mark Faulds from West Midlands police who was involved in the initial investigations, also comes to Aberdeen to help.
DS McRae thinks he's going to be part babysitter for Faulds, but finds himself part investigator - working with Insch, Steele and Faulds. He is also part confessor and protector for a boss who has been even more prickly and difficult than usual, as Insch finds himself in trouble with his own bosses, and deeply in personal grief and crisis. In a way, McRae seems more comfortable these days working with Steel and her highly unorthodox approaches. Plus McRae's got personal problems - his live in girlfriend, and workmate Jackie and he are really on the rocks. And his mother really wants him to wear a kilt at his brother's wedding!
FLESH HOUSE is the fourth Logan McRae book and it really does deliver on those elements that fans of this author have come to expect. It's a truly horrifying scenario - frankly nauseating in places. It's delivered in a manner that keeps the reader constantly wrong-footed. From snickering away at the in jokes by DI Steel; switching rapidly to a captive's viewpoint; back to the personal tragedy in Insch's life; back to way too much information about golden syrup and the reader is never ever left in a comfort zone for too long. With an ending that has shock and poignancy attached to it, FLESH HOUSE could be read as an introduction to the series if you've not seen the earlier books; although McRae's back story is well worth following.