Police Scotland has created a “dumping ground” for those officers who don’t quite fit; the ill, those who have faced disciplinary action, those who refuse to play by the rules. DC Callum McGregor is an expectant father with a girlfriend who desperately needs to keep her maternity benefits, so it is in covering for Elaine’s on-the-job mistake that Callum finds himself joining Mother’s team at Oldcastle. Mother takes care of her castaways but they don’t always get along - or with anyone else for that matter.
It’s a matter of huge excitement when a mummified body turns up at the Oldcastle dump. Not an unusual occurrence – bodies turn up at dumps all the time – but it is the finding of this one dried up corpse that leads to the discovery of others who have been murdered in the process of being turned into modern day mummies. There’s a serial killer at large. Callum is one man with many pots up in the air between his disintegrating personal life and dire financial straits and as the investigation heats up, Callum’s tragic past and current investigations begin to converge.
The beauty of a standalone is the tantalizing possibility of it being a series starter. A DARK SO DEADLY introduces an irresistible new cast of characters (that this reviewer absolutely wants to see again) with the ‘Misfit Mob’. This ragtag collection of police officers is pure reading gold and it is a testament to the authors skill that he is able to create (again) a fresh set of police officers who are all complex, rich with backstory, and let’s not forget, hilarious. You can’t help but feel for Callum who has the whole world either badgering him for something or actively dropping bombs on him from a great height.
This ridiculously enjoyable book hurls along at a great pace, throwing up new dodgy villains and antagonistic colleagues for Callum to deal with at every turn. MacBride injects a terrific amount of energy and fizzy enjoyment into his novels and A DARK SO DEADLY is no exception. It’s rare you find a crime novel that is truly horrifying, whilst making you laugh out loud during the reading. Another great book delivered from a modern crime master.