All That's Dead, Stuart MacBride

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

Any author who starts out a blurb with "darkness is coming" and then gives Logan McRae a happy home life needs a damn good glaring at. The only saving grace is that things are typically shit creek / broken paddle at work so it's not a massive glaring at...

Book number 12 in the Logan McRae series, ALL THAT'S DEAD, finds him still an Inspector in Professional Standards, sucked into an ongoing murder investigation when the lead investigator is himself about to be outed by the papers as a member of a Scottish Nationalist group. Most inconvenient timing as a high profile anti-independence campaigner goes missing, minus a sobering amount of his blood at his house (what happened with his dog I hear you all wonder), and that disappearance is down to what seems for all the world to be somebody with a massive "issue" with Anti-Independence supporters. Aka a Scottish Nationalist. McRae is part assistant Investigator, bunny on the spot in the event that the upper brass need somebody to blame, and part agony Aunt for Inspector King - whose dalliance with the Nationalists as a teenager with a hard on for a girl is just one more thing, added to the grief he's getting from his wife about her affair with an unnamed one of his colleagues, and the complications of a possible kidnap victim still alive, but badly injured.

Of course Tufty, Rennie, and the gloriously over-the-top Steel are all in place to provide "moral support" to an increasingly pissed off McRae, freshly back at work after 12 months off recovering from stabbing wounds. Situation normal then. Sort of. The case is complicated by another high-profile disappearance, and made murky / mucky by the receipt of various body parts belonging to the presumed alive earlier victims. It's a twister, that's helped somewhat by a tiny mistake on the part of one of the suspects, not helped by the less than tiny mistakes by Steel and King in the pursuit of same suspect, and definitely not helped by the media attention, and the ever-hanging threat that one of the less than favoured journalists is happy to dump the news about King's past right smack bang in the middle of an investigation that's struggling for traction.

So everything as you'd expect it to be in a Logan McRae book, and absolutely nothing to dent favourite reading status. Except maybe for that happy home life thing, which, now that I think about it, is worrying. We all know what happened last time Logan was happy. We all know the deviousness that can lie at the heart of a beardy crime writing genius from Scotland. 

Year of Publication
Book Number (in series)

Darkness is coming… 

Inspector Logan McRae was looking forward to a nice simple case – something to ease him back into work after a year off on the sick. But the powers-that-be have other ideas…

The high-profile anti-independence campaigner, Professor Wilson, has gone missing, leaving nothing but bloodstains behind. There’s a war brewing between the factions for and against Scottish Nationalism. Infighting in the police ranks. And it’s all playing out in the merciless glare of the media. Logan’s superiors want results, and they want them now.

Someone out there is trying to make a point, and they’re making it in blood. If Logan can’t stop them, it won’t just be his career that dies.

Review All That's Dead, Stuart MacBride
Karen Chisholm
Wednesday, June 5, 2019

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