A Litter Of Bones by JD Kirk

5 Stars from me!

THIS IS SO GOOD! I genuinely can’t recommend A Litter of Bones highly enough, I was absolutely blown away by this debut novel and if I didn’t know better I would have sworn it was written by one of the crime thriller greats.

It is so good in fact that I can almost (almost) forgive JD Kirk for calling his main character DCI Logan. I say that because, for me, there is only one Scottish detective called Logan

DCI Logan is a great character, he has the right balance of flaws and assets to make him a great lead and the supporting cast of his temporary team was equally well constructed.

Clever and innovative storyline, yes I guessed ‘whoduunit’ but that didn’t spoil anything for me – if anything it added to the build up. I raced through the book and loved (almost*) every second of it as the story unfolded. It was well observed, had tangible and likeable characters, had an intense build up of suspense and was peppered with intelligent humour in among the gloom – literally the perfect book?

If you like Stuart MacBride you will love this book, in fact if you are fan of crime thrillers you will love this book.

*If you are a mad ole crazy cat lady then there are a couple of pages you may want to skip!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author bio: JD Kirk lives in the wilds of Scotland, where he spends his days making stuff up and writing it down. He lives with his wife, two children, one dog, and – if his daughter has anything to do with it – a cat in the very near future.

Having been writing in various genres for over a decade, JD turned his attention to crime fiction in May 2019, and hasn’t looked back. A Litter of Bones is his first crime novel, and the first of his hundred-plus books that his wife could bring herself to read.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jdkirkbooks/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/jdkirkbooks

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19106689.JD_Kirk

Website: http://www.jdkirk.com

Synopsis: Was the biggest case of his career the worst mistake he ever made?

Ten years ago, DCI Jack Logan stopped the serial child-killer dubbed ‘Mister Whisper,’ earning himself a commendation, a drinking problem, and a broken marriage in the process.

Now, he spends his days working in Glasgow’s Major Incident Team, and his nights reliving the horrors of what he saw.

And what he did.

When another child disappears a hundred miles north in the Highlands, Jack is sent to lead the investigation and bring the boy home.

But as similarities between the two cases grow, could it be that Jack caught the wrong man all those years ago?

And, if so, is the real Mister Whisper about to claim his fourth victim?

A Litter of Bones is the explosive debut crime thriller novel from JD Kirk, an exciting new voice in Scottish crime fiction.

A Dark so Deadly by Stuart MacBride

5 stars from me!

I just didn’t want this book to end! As much as I desperately wanted to know who the killer was, I felt like I could have kept on reading about these characters for ever.

Poor DC Callum MacGregor, sometimes life really does rain down on you from a great height doesn’t it but he is such a fantastic character throughout this book, so well defined, and the fact he is essentially just a really decent guy radiates from the pages.

The ‘Misfit Mob’ have all the markings of being more than just a standalone – or maybe they will be the launchpad for a whole new series starring DC Callum MacGregor; I hope so. Mother and her little band of rejects make for a very interesting read.

I also love the parallels between these characters and earlier MacBride genius inventions. The bag of jellybabies is not lost on us.

Really good book, inventive story, interesting new characters and I simply didn’t want to put it down.

 

Synopsis: Gripping standalone thriller from the Sunday Times No. 1 bestselling author of the Logan McRae series.

Welcome to the Misfit Mob…

It’s where Police Scotland dumps the officers it can’t get rid of, but wants to: the outcasts, the troublemakers, the compromised. Officers like DC Callum MacGregor, lumbered with all the boring go-nowhere cases. So when an ancient mummy turns up at the Oldcastle tip, it’s his job to find out which museum it’s been stolen from.

But then Callum uncovers links between his ancient corpse and three missing young men, and life starts to get a lot more interesting. O Division’s Major Investigation Teams already have more cases than they can cope with, so, against everyone’s better judgement, the Misfit Mob are just going to have to manage this one on their own.

No one expects them to succeed, but right now they’re the only thing standing between the killer’s victims and a slow, lingering death. The question is, can they prove everyone wrong before he strikes again?

The Missing and The Dead by Stuart MacBride

Missing and Dead

It was so good to catch up with Logan McRae again, it’s been too long! I wish this series would be snapped up for TV rights and it would make for great viewing.

Logan’s new role in the police isn’t filling him with joy but it does seem to be giving him a bit more stability… until Steel pops up again because she’s missing him. They make a great pair though.

The thing I love most about a Stuart MacBride novel is that although at time the subject matter may be silly, or gritty, or gross, the way the sentences are constructed is always intelligent. The words fly across the page because the flow is perfect; I never get bored, skim read or lose my place.

Logan’s ‘relationship’ with his poor girlfriend is both depressing and uplifting as although he is essentially tied to a ghost it also shows what a truly wonderful human being he is as he lives in virtual poverty in order to support her medical care.

Fabulous book (aren’t they all by Mr MacBride?), already looking forward to the next.

Synopsis: One mistake can cost you everything…

When you catch a twisted killer there should be a reward, right? What Acting Detective Inspector Logan McRae gets instead is a ‘development opportunity’ out in the depths of rural Aberdeenshire. Welcome to divisional policing – catching drug dealers, shop lifters, vandals and the odd escaped farm animal.

Then a little girl’s body washes up just outside the sleepy town of Banff, kicking off a massive manhunt. The Major Investigation Team is up from Aberdeen, wanting answers, and they don’t care who they trample over to get them.

Logan’s got enough on his plate keeping B Division together, but DCI Steel wants him back on her team. As his old colleagues stomp around the countryside, burning bridges, Logan gets dragged deeper and deeper into the investigation.

One thing’s clear: there are dangerous predators lurking in the wilds of Aberdeenshire, and not everyone’s going to get out of this alive…

Cold Granite by Stuart MacBride

Cold Granite5 Stars from me!

Cold Granite is the first book in the DS Logan McRae series and it is a belter!

I am a fan of Stuart MacBride and cannot believe that I don’t have a review of Cold Granite on here! It was only when I was reviewing another fabulous Scottish crime debut that I realised and so I’ve quickly put together a review as Cold Granite is a brilliant book and the DS Logan McRae series is not to be missed.

I was first introduced to the book on a flight home from New York when the person to my left was chuckling to themselves while reading it. When I got a chance to glance at the cover it didn’t strike me as looking like a particularly amusing book but once I secured a copy and sat down to read it for myself I soon discovered that the story is full of humorous touches and one liners; welcome relief from the stark gruesomeness of the tale itself.

Logan ‘Laz’ is brilliant character, he puts me in mind of Gary Goodhew from the Cambridge Blue books, his personality is perfect for the role and he bounces off of his quirky superiors in a delightful manner. It is the wonderful DI Steel who brings much of the humour to the book, she is fabulous to read. Then there is DI Insch who bears the brunt of many an eloquently penned joke. Both are great.

The Aberdeen described in Cold Granite is not one that I would imagine the tourist board appreciating! It sounds like hell on earth but the descriptive writting required to bring about this assault to the senses is quite flawless.

If you like crime books, you must read Cold Granite.

Synopsis: Winter in Aberdeen: murder, mayhem and terrible weather…

It’s DS Logan McRae’s first day back on the job after a year off on the sick, and it couldn’t get much worse. Three-year-old David Reid’s body is discovered in a ditch, strangled, mutilated and a long time dead. And he’s only the first. There’s a serial killer stalking the Granite City and the local media are baying for blood.

Soon the dead are piling up in the morgue almost as fast as the snow on the streets, and Logan knows time is running out. More children are going missing. More are going to die. And if Logan isn’t careful, he could end up joining them…

 

Dead Men’s Bones by James Oswald

Dead Men's BonesSynopsis: A family lies slaughtered in an isolated house in North East Fife…

Morag Weatherly and her two young daughters have been shot by husband Andrew, an influential politician, before he turned the gun on himself.

But what would cause a rich, successful man to snap so suddenly?

For Inspector Tony McLean, this apparently simple but high-profile case leads him into a world of power and privilege. And the deeper he digs, the more he realises he’s being manipulated by shadowy factions.

Under pressure to wrap up the case, McLean instead seeks to uncover layers of truth – putting the lives of everyone he cares about at risk…

3 stars from me

I’ve gone and done that daft thing of reading a new author but not from the start of the series. Dead Men’s Bones is actually the fourth in the Inspector McLean books; I wouldn’t ordinarily have done this but the book was given to me as a gift so it seemed churlish not to read it anyway!

Only 3 stars for a couple of reasons:

1. Unless I missed it… the book doesn’t explain the cause of the burned lips. I won’t say any more as I always endeavour to avoid spoilers, however I felt this was mentioned sufficiently that it required explanation. If you read it and find the answer, do let me know!

2. Something just didn’t quite gel with all the elements of the story. Maybe it’s because I’ve thrown caution to the wind and jumped in at book 4, or maybe something just doesn’t quite gel with the story! I felt like it was almost there but not quite, things didn’t quite pull together enough and, for me, the reason for Weatherly’s actions wasn’t quite sufficient. Yes, I could see why it would cause him to take his own life rather than face the music, but not why it would necessitate the demise of his family.

Other than the above, I liked the character of Tony McLean, I liked most of his colleagues, some were a little weak and some a little irrelevant but that may again be from reading the books out of order. Any tough main character who keeps a cat is always going to be a winner with me.

I’m more than happy to give Oswald another chance and have ordered book 1.

There is a blatant nod to Stuart MacBride in the book and I can’t decide if I liked it or found it cringey – I wonder what Mr MacBride himself thought to it?

One final thought, shouldn’t it be Dead Mens’ Bones rather than Dead Men’s Bones? Or does that just stir up the whole Father’s Day/Fathers’ Day, Valentine’s Day/Valentines’ Day debacle?

 

 

Close To The Bone by Stuart MacBride

Close To The BoneIt pains me to only give this 3 stars as I adore both Mr MacBride and the Logan McRae character, but the truth is this book just isn’t up to his usual standard.

Having said that, I did enjoy reading it for the simple act of ‘catching up’ with Logan; what can I say, I’ve missed him!

But the book was disjointed and I felt the story wandered too much to hold my interest in the way that I’ve come to expect from this author.

The whole Samantha thing – just daft.

I waited with anticipation for this book and on the whole I was a bit disappointed with it.

Birthdays for the Dead by Stuart MacBride

Birthdays for the Dead

I have given this book 5 stars (out of 5) on Good Reads because, frankly, it kicks butt! I think it would make for brilliant TV.

DC Ash Henderson is policeman on the edge and he makes for a fantastic character. I started off missing Logan McRae and the well-known, well trodden streets of Aberdeen but was soon sucked into the downright murky world Ash and his faithful sidekick Rhona. I didn’t like the Dr McFruitloop character when she was first introduced, felt she was a little too contrived, but I grew to love her after a couple of chapters.

I should add that before anyone reads this book they need to be fully aware that the subject matter is grim beyond all measure. It is painful to read and certainly not for the feint hearted. It goes WAY beyond the usual line in the sand for describing atrocities and if you look directly at it you’ll struggle to read on! I tend to read the words but ignore the content when he’s talking about the girls.

OK so why did I give it 5 stars?

This book doesn’t confirm to the norm. It doesn’t do as you expect it to. MacBride has been brave enough (bored enough?) to throw the crime writers rule book out of the window and he has written an outstanding standalone book which is like no other.

DC Ash Henderson is a ridiculous yet fantastic character. He does not abide by the rules – most similar characters fly close to the wind, or bend the rules but he does not have any boundaries not a single one. It is exhilarating to read about someone who just does want he wants/needs in order to get what he wants.

This book seems to have been somewhat slated on Amazon and I think a lot of its critics were expecting a fluffy crime book that follows the crime-by-numbers format of some other writers. It is hard reading in places. The pace does move so quickly that you literally feel your head spinning. It is down right gritty, grim and unbelievable; yet FABULOUS.

I loved it.

Having said that, I’ve gone from this to the slightly more frothy Notting Hell as I felt I needed to wash all of the macabre grimness out of my system!

 

The synopsis bit: Five years ago his daughter, Rebecca, went missing on the eve of her thirteenth birthday. A year later the first card arrived: homemade, with a Polaroid picture stuck to the front – Rebecca, strapped to a chair, gagged and terrified. Every year another card: each one worse than the last.

The tabloids call him The Birthday Boy. He’s been snatching girls for twelve years, always in the run-up to their thirteenth birthday, sending the families his home-made cards showing their daughters being slowly tortured to death.

But Ash hasn’t told anyone about Rebecca’s birthday cards – they all think she’s just run away from home – because if anyone finds out, he’ll be taken off the investigation. And he’s sacrificed too much to give up before his daughter’s killer gets what he deserves.