Offbeat mix in agreeable murder mystery

February 21, 2017
By

Close to the Bone,
by Stuart MacBride (HarperCollins, RRP $20):

DI Logan McRae has a lot on his plate. His girlfriend is lying in hospital, he is living in a caravan park because his flat has blown up, a local criminal godfather type is wanting his help and, to top it all off, there seems to be a psycho murderer on the loose.

A bestselling novel is being turned into a movie and filming is taking place in Granite City (Aberdeen to us not in the know). It’s an imaginary tale of witchcraft, witch finders and ritual killings. Then in a case of life seemingly imitating art, a man is found murdered in the same horrific manner as one of the victims in the book.

The novel has an offbeat mixture of styles. Tight police thriller, black humour interspersed with dashes of wacky repartee. It is the latest in a series of McRae novels and despite the comic spasms the plot is good and most of the characters are agreeable enough to make a sound story.

F Mulligan

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