SHATTER THE BONES - Stuart MacBride

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Shatter the Bones
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Logan McRae
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Book Synopsis

You will raise money for the safe return of Alison and Jenny McGregor. If you raise enough money within fourteen days they will be released. If not, Jenny will be killed.

Alison and Jenny McGregor—Aberdeen's own mother-daughter singing sensation—are through to the semi-finals of TV smash-hit Britain's Next Big Star. They're in all the gossip magazines, they've got millions of YouTube hits, and everyone loves them. But their reality-TV dream has turned into a real-life nightmare. The ransom demand appears in all the papers, on the TV, and the internet, telling the nation to dig deep if they want to keep Alison and Jenny alive. The media want action; the public displays of grief and anger are reaching fever-pitch. Time is running out, but DS Logan McRae and his colleagues have nothing to go on: the kidnappers haven't left a single piece of forensic evidence. The investigation is going nowhere. It looks as if the price of fame just got a lot higher.

Book Review

Here's the thing. You hoard a book because it's a favourite series, and there's no sign of the next one yet. But then there are noises about the next one, but that's not out for ages, but you can't wait any longer so you read the one you've had tucked away. Then you've not got that little thing of joy hidden away in the bookcases anymore. So now you're stuck in that horrible no man's land, because the next book's not out for ages, and you've given into temptation. It's a nightmare.

Mind you, that's about the only complaint I can come up with about SHATTER THE BONES. But then I'm a huge fan of Stuart MacBride's Logan McRae series. He's one of those writers that combine violence, brutality and some truly shocking story lines with absolute laugh out loud moments, a heap of creative swearing, some terrific insights into human nature and, in this case, social commentary into the bargain. There's a sense of urgency, lunacy and hurtling madness about most of the investigations in the McRae books that feels real. There are believable, fantastic characters performing over and above the call of duty, desperately hanging onto family and personal in the middle of an absolute storm of crazy.

In SHATTER THE BONES MacBride is also taking a wee shufty at the madness of reality TV - the way that a frenzy of interest and concern whips up when a mother and daughter are kidnapped, an interest that seems unlikely to have occurred without their TV profile. In amongst the kidnapping, the reactions, an investigation hampered by a total lack of forensic information, and some very cunning acts on the part of the kidnappers, further hinderance comes from closer to home. When the serious crimes squad sends in an "expert" you just know that things are going to get complicated, but the level of idiocy of this bloke is beyond the pale.

Whilst a lot of the madness, and the characters and their personal situations are carrying forward from the earlier books (thank goodness DI Steele remains a standout as frankly I'd be spitting the dummy well hard if she backed off), there are things that are moving forward. McRae's actually in danger of developing a personal life of his own, the relationships between the team are expanding a little, and ranks are progressing. There's also more than a few smacks around the head at the end of this book, and there's a final scene that's an absolute kicker.

CLOSE TO THE BONE is out in January 2013. I might ... just ... last ... until ... then.

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