The Missing and the Dead by Stuart MacBride
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As I've always said, Stuart MacBride's novels are like returning home to a warm, comforting bed after a long, arduous trip. The Missing and the Dead plunges you head first into an on-foot police chase with our hero Logan McRae. It's that instant excitement of not entirely knowing what is going on but being very excited at the same time!
Fast forward, after the successful arrest of Graham Stirling. Logan is given an 'opportunity', to lead his own force as a Sergeant but the catch is he's back in uniform.
This is a very different kind of novel that we normally expect from Stuart MacBride. There is a murder, and it is a mystery, but the focus this time is on a much bigger picture. Logan and his new team, including the plucky 'Calamity Janet', are now pounding the streets, arresting drug dealers, herding cows back into their fields and keeping an eye on various stag do's and hen do's. In fact it seems completely unfair that as soon as a case grows to a certain size, it is taken off them and handed to someone else. Of course, this does give us the opportunity to be reunited with the rude, callous, chain smoking Steel. One of my favourite characters in all of literature, let alone Stuart MacBride's novels. When the body of a six year old girl is found in a disused swimming pool Steel and Co. are called in to take the case of their hands. She would love for 'Laz' to join her case but he refuses, choosing to focus on his own cases and own work. And in true Stuart MacBride style, details that seem irrelevant or disconnected are actually all linked together.
What I really found interesting about this book was the day-to-day life of a uniformed policemen. I know what I live in a sleepy Shropshire village, but I'd never appreciated the amount of crap they have to put up with, for the reigns to be handed over before any credit is really given. Although there was a case and it was the main thread of the story, at the end of the day, it wasn't really relevant. I was quite happy to read about the characters, the interactions and the daily goings on.
I look forward to the next novel of Stuart MacBride and I still can't believe that no one has snapped up TV or film rights yet!
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