This is the fifth book in the DS Logan McRae series (the first is Cold Granite), so if you like reading books in order, start back at the beginning! That said, this works well as a standalone read; there are some references to earlier crimes/books, but any necessary outline is also given in this book (for example, why the main character is a vegetarian) and it doesn’t detract from the main story in this book or cause any confusion.

Set up in cold, wet and windy Aberdeen (even though it’s set in summer time, the rain still features heavily!) this follows the exploits of Detective Sergeant Logan McRae and his colleagues as they deal with a number of grizzly incidents in the Scottish city (and beyond). The main case focuses around the brutal attack on Polish members of the community; specifically, having their eyes cut out, and a potential new drug gang unleashing warfare on the existing setup. The only witness is a convicted paedophile, who himself is on the run.

The book is fast paced and is a lengthy read (in a good way, nothing worse than getting a good book that finding that you’ve finished it only a few hours later) and although does touch on some sensitive themes, I can safely say that I enjoyed every page (well, apart from one, where something nasty was happening to someone!). It’s expertly written with lifelike characters who have soul. My favourite being Logan’s boss, DI Roberta Steel – who if you’re a fan of R D Wingfield’s Inspector Frost, you’ll also get on well with.

As well as the main plot of the book, there are also several subplots weaving their way into the book (such as DI Steel trying to convince Logan to “help” her and her wife conceive a baby), which makes for a good read, but doesn’t detract.

I’ve enjoyed all of the books in this series, so much so that I have read some of them twice. If you like British police/crime books, have a bit of a dark sense of humour about you and don’t mind the occasional swear word, then I would strongly recommend you give this a go.

Best wishes, Jim

May 2024