Overview from www.bn.com: Stuart MacBride’s Number One bestselling crime series opens with this award-winning debut. DS Logan McRae and the police in Aberdeen hunt a child killer who stalks the frozen streets.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…
The plot of this novel could be summed up in one sentence. A serial killer is on the loose in Scotland and his victims, all children, are piling up faster than the police would like. Well, that’s the short version anyway.
The downside is that version leaves out our protagonist, a DS (which I assume stands for Detective Sargent) Logan “Lazarus” McRae who has recently returned to the Aberdeen Police after a year’s hiatus due to an on the job injury.
Now that McRae has had some time to rest up, his supervisor assures him that he will go easy on him as he comes back. Unfortunately, McRae’s supervisor himself is soon injured in the line of duty and Logan is reassigned to work under another DI (which I assume stands for Detective Inspector) who seems to have some work/life conflicts.
On his first or second day back, a dead boy, who was presumed missing, is found. Since DI Insch is unable to attend to the body or the medical examination, he sends Logan in his stead. This provokes anew some previous issues that Logan has with the medical examiner when they were dating. Logan desperately wants to correct these problems but finds that discussing them while she cuts up and examines the body of a dead child is not the best time.
As the story continues, Logan’s personal problems take a back seat to the manhunt for this serial killer—well mostly. Although he still tries to move on with a potential new girlfriend, the case seems to keep getting in the way. That and the various parents of the victims who are desperate to hear news of the case.
As he combs the city of Aberdeen for any trace of the killer, he must also deal with the weather, an annoying reporter who is determined to scoop the competition at Logan’s expense, and his own propensity to cover his mistakes with lies.
I enjoyed the story as much as am able to enjoy stories about serial killers. To be honest, when I first picked it up I had a sense of dread. I don’t know why, but I didn’t think I could sit through another serial killer novel. I especially didn’t want a peek inside the killer’s mind like I got on the last serial killer story I read.
Thank God that was not what I got with this one. I spent more time in the story itself as seen through Logan’s eyes. And I also saw the city of Aberdeen through his eyes, getting a sense of some of the people who lived there.
Although I didn’t necessarily approve of Logan’s decision-making process, I did get a sense of what he thinks and how he feels about both the city and his job. Overall, he did rate as a sympathetic character as he is basically trying to do the right thing even if goes about it in the wrong way sometimes. For a series character (this is only the first book) this is important and I think the author pulls it off.
I also get the sense that the city of Aberdeen will also become even more of a character in this city as the series moves on and I like that. The city seems to have a film noir type atmosphere about it and I don’t think is only due to the constant rain that runs the banks of the Don River. (Btw, I had never heard of that river before I read this book but I now know about it.) I look forward to that if I decide to read the next book in the series.
The only downside would be the frequent use of the f bomb again, though it is not as bad as the last two books that I noticed it in. There is also some sexual stuff but it is not real obscene surprisingly. Obviously it is not a book for children. But for some adults it might be just right.