A bleakly funny, savagely brutal and very gripping crime story. In Aberdeen Polish men are being found with their eyes gouged out and the sockets burned, the victims are left alive after the mutilations. Detective Sargent Logan McRae under the supervision of the bitingly sarcastic Detective Chief Inspector Finnie, is involved in the case. With the presence of a paedophile who becomes a witness , a gang from Manchester who are bent on trouble and strong indications that a major gang war is brewing the situation continues to become more complicated and desperate. The reveals are wonderfully paced, the writing is razor sharp and the big and wonderfully energetic cast drive the story to a suitably grim conclusion.
This is crime writing of the highest order, the action is brutal and vividly described, the plot is tightly wound and carefully constructed. The glory of the book is the cast that swirls and swears their way through the story. Logan McRae is a superb central character, he is battered and bruised and frequently unlucky, he is also diligent, compassionate and genuinely and sometimes falteringly trying to do the right thing.
Detective Inspector Steel emerges in this book to take her rightful place as one of the greatest characters in contemporary crime fiction. Stuart Mcbride has done something wonderful, he has created a lesbian character whose sexuality is central to who she is and proudly worn and completely irrelevant to to her professional life. DI Steel is mater-of-factly lesbian, she is also heroically foul mouthed, temperamental and extremely competent. She is a wonderfully realised character, one of the significant pleasures of the book. A great read.