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Flesh house is the fourth novel in the Logan McRae detective stories set in modern day Aberdeen, the books are written by Scottish author Stuart Macbride. The novels are all set in Aberdeen, Scotland and all feature graphic descriptions of sex, violence and strong language.
Flesh house continues the story of Logan McRae, Logan is a man of his times who is in his late twenties. He is intelligent, reasonably good looking, loyal to his superiors but strong enough to argue his case if desired. He had been in a relationship with PC Jackie Watson but they have temporarily split after she went to Glasgow on an extended secondment.
Flesh house continues Stuart Macbride's depiction of a wintry, desolate Aberdeen gripped with fears, anxieties and neurosis over the loss of the oil industry, crime and the bad weather. The book starts with a startling discovery on a ship's larder that in a parcel of meat is a human hand. The meat is soon referred back to a supply depot, and then a butcher's before ending at an abattoir, as the investigation progresses more and more human parts are discovered.
Alongside the current investigation, the eponymous Flesher has been released by the prison. The flesher was a killer who filleted his victims before force feeding the parts to others, a man was arrested but always protested his innocence and indeed was acquitted because of procedural problems.
The new spate of killings appears to coincide with his release and along with the usual Aberdeen police force we have the entry of Chief Constable Mark Foulds. Foulds was part of the original investigation 20 years earlier and has always maintained that the man responsible was arrested and put behind bars.
Logan is soon ensnared in the new investigation when people from Aberdeen go missing and investigating the original investigation, the original investigation featured a PC Insch who is now in charge of the new investigation. Insch is large, abrasive, and aggressive and is also certain that the original killer was correctly identified. Another feature of the book is the inclusion of a fly on the wall team filming the running of the police station for release by the BBC the following year.
So we have a book which starts with a bang, draws the reader in with descriptions of decapitations, dismemberment, police brutality and a little bit of humour. There is also a lot of swearing, aggression and running around but the over-riding feeling is one of displaying Scottish justice for what it truly is. Logan is the first person viewpoint on all these events and we through his wry observations, clever reasoning and occasional flawed jumps of conclusions we see a seedy side of Aberdeen perhaps not included on the tourist information.
Stuart Macbride's Logan McRae novels have fast become my favourite reading material, they aren't for everyone they are graphic, fast paced and firmly in the 'this is how it truly is' genre but as a read take some beating. This is my third encounter with Logan and the reader instinctively warms to him as a character, he has flaws but they aren't obnoxious or unpleasant more a man trying his best in an unforgiving environment.
The Flesher is a character too, we have a first person perspective of his actions from an abducted character and as far as I'm aware this is the first time that Stuart Macbride has used another character as a first person perspective for any protracted period.
Yet there are flaws in the novel, one of my favourite aspects of Macbrides writing is that he gives the reader enough clues to work out who the murderer might be. Yes he springs a few surprises but he doesn't rely on Logan suddenly having a flash of insight and working out who the murderer is. However, in this novel there is a really obvious error in how the case would have been handled just to give a cliff hanger ending. I spotted it and I can't be the only one who wondered why the police did A when clearly they should have done A and B. They don't do B, Logan decides on his own to do B and we have a cliff hanger ending.
However, this is only a minor complaint and shouldn't detract from the quality of the writing or the clarity of the thought processes of the author constructing a story involving dismemberment and cannibalism.
Flesh House - Stuart MacBride
Description: Author: Stuart MacBride / Genre: Crime / Thriller.
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I am a big fan of crime and thriller fiction and read quite a lot by various authors. Stuart Macbride was previously shortlisted for Theakston's Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year Award and the International Thriller Writers' best debut novel award. He has also won the Barry Award for best first novel, and the 2007 CWA Dagger in the Library, awarded for a body of work.
When I picked this book up and read the above information, I took it as an indication that this would be a good read and I certainly wasn't disappointed. Set in Aberdeen, the book begins with the discovery of a container filled with what turns out to be human meat.
Twenty years ago, a serial killer nicknamed "The Flesher" was captured and jailed by Grampian Police. Like the name suggests, The Flesher butchered and then ate his victims. Eleven years have passed and he has been released on appeal. Now he has disappeared and nobody can track him down.
Members of the original investigation begin to be targeted and it soon becomes clear that things were not as they seemed all those years ago.
I won't say any more in case I spoil the plot for those who haven't read this book yet but in my opinion, this is an excellent read. It is fast paced and filled with twists that the reader will not expect. It is also darkly funny in places with characters so gritty that you will be repelled and intrigued.
I found it very difficult to put this book down, and was entertained from beginning to end. As far as crime novels go, this one is first class and hurtles along at a speed that leaved the reader no time to become bored.
I genuinely enjoyed every minute of this book and am now looking forward to reading earlier books by the author, if you are a fan of crime fiction then you will certainly not be disappointed!
5 thrilling Dooyoo stars from me!