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MacBride, Stuart - 'Dark Blood'
Hardback: 496 pages (Apr. 2010) Publisher: HarperCollins ISBN: 0007244606

In this sixth outing for Logan McRae, Logan and DI Steel are responsible for the safe keeping of recently released rapist, Richard Knox.

Knox who was convicted of only one rape of an old man (but suspected of many others) wants to stay in his grandmother's house in Aberdeen rather than in his native Newcastle. Knox is accompanied by Detective Superintendent Danby who seems to have a greater interest in Knox than to hand him over to Grampian Police. So whilst volunteers from SACRO (Safeguarding Communities Reducing Offending) look after Knox, Grampian Police are monitoring his security.

Of course Logan and Steele do not just have Knox to look after, there are counterfeit goods, fake banknotes, sawn-off sledgehammer raids on jewellers and a missing informant to find. Steele's informant Steve, who seems to have gone missing whilst undercover on one of Malcolm "Malk the Knife" McLennan's building sites, is nowhere to be seen, but when Steve's mobile is found on the building site, it sets Logan on a search of McLennan's house (which has some of the counterfeit goods and fake banknotes). McLennan, an Edinburgh villain, seems to be trying to move into the Aberdeen drugs trade - which of course is upsetting the local villains.

To add to Logan's misery, DI Beattie is wanting Logan to focus on the counterfeit goods case while he and Steele are more than a little pre-occupied with protecting Knox (after journalist Colin Miller releases his whereabouts on the front page of the local paper). He has also been informed by Steele that he has an attitude problem and if he doesn't sort himself out, he could be sacked.

Knox is moved out of his granny's house after a baying mob protest outside and is taken to a safe house but very quickly escapes, with a group from Newcastle hot on his tail. It soon becomes clear that the reason everyone is interested in Knox is that he was the accountant for a Newcastle villain Michael "Mental Mikey" Maitland and Knox is thought to know where his money is hidden. When DSI Danby also disappears, the race is on for Logan and Steele to find them both.

This novel is not as gruesome as MacBride's more recent books (if you ignore the body buried alive in concrete). MacBride has yet again produced a book that you can't put down (I read this nearly 500 page book in less than a day). Whilst his books have threats of violence (not least on Logan himself), he captures the real nature of police work - multiple cases, changing priorities and an urgency to get results. He has produced a book which has a real pace along with moments of humour (eg. McRae wondering how the flatulent cadaver dog with an amazing sense of smell can stand its own flatulence).

Read another review of DARK BLOOD.

Paul Blackburn, Scotland
May 2010

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 10/10/2010 11:16