Gory, dark but compelling

March 1, 2016

A Song for the Dying,

by Stuart MacBride (HarperCollins, RRP $35):

Scottish author Stuart MacBride has delivered yet another gritty, gruesome and somewhat uncomfortable murder mystery in A Song for the Dying.

Detective Inspector Ash Henderson was on the trail of a brutal killer dubbed “the Inside Man”, who abducted and killed four women, and left a further three in critical condition with their stomachs slit open and a plastic doll stitched inside before simply disappearing.

Fast forward eight years, and Henderson’s life is a mess: his family has been torn apart, his career is in ruins and a vicious criminal is making sure he spends the rest of his life in prison. Then, a dead woman turns up with a doll stitched inside her and Dr Alice McDonald realises those investigating that murder might just need the help of the one man who has experience in hunting this brutal killer: Henderson.

She convinces the authorities and Henderson is freed to work with the investigating team.

But while everyone is focused on finding – and stopping – a sadistic killer, Henderson is equally focused on revenge.

This is dark but incredibly compelling and, as uncomfortably gory and violent as the story was at times, I read it in just two sittings.

I grudgingly put the book down to get some sleep after reading 360-odd pages, and then buried my nose in it again as soon as my eyes were open in the morning. And best of all, aside from the gory bits, A Song for the Dying slowly offers up its clues and secrets, leading you on a journey that is breathtaking.

Jillian Allison-Aitken

I come from the other land down under, where men are men, and sheep are nervous. I'm a sub-editor and in the past have been a proof-reader, news editor and web editor. I am also an ex-columnist, and book and software reviewer for the local daily newspaper.I still read. A lot. And surf the web. Also a lot.You'll find a little about both of those pastimes here, and on By George.

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