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Close to the Bone by Stuart MacBride Review

Title: Close to the Bone

Author: Stuart MacBride

First published December 1, 2012

511 pages, Hardcover

ISBN: 9780007344260 (ISBN10: 0007344260)

Rating: 4.16


Logan McRae, a detective inspector, is facing a string of gruesome murders that seem to have no connection. With bodies turning up in different parts of the city, Logan has his hands full trying to piece together the clues.

But when bones start appearing outside his caravan, Logan realizes that he might have a personal connection to the killer. As he races against time to solve the case, Logan must also navigate the challenges of office politics, a new and ambitious detective, and the constant yelling of his boss, the irrepressible Chief Inspector Steel.

With each murder, the stakes get higher, and Logan must use all his skills to catch the killer before it’s too late. Close to the Bone is a gripping crime thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

About the Author

Hi there, I’m Stuart MacBride – a writer with a beard and a somewhat interesting life story. I was born in Dumbarton, which is basically Glasgow in my eyes, but moved to Aberdeen when I was just two years old.

My childhood consisted of learning to play the recorder, forgetting how to play when they switched from coloured dots to proper notes (why couldn’t they have taught us the notes first?!), appearing in a bizarre musical production, and trying to avoid eating haggis while running around a lot.

I then spent a decent amount of time in Westhill, a small suburb outside of Aberdeen, where I had a mediocre academic career due to my inability to spell and a short attention span. Despite that, I went to university in Edinburgh, way too young and naive, and shared a flat with a mad Irishman and a few other odd individuals.

Walking to art school in the mornings was an adventure in dodging fresh bloodstains and undercover police officers trying to buy drugs. Not the best place, but it was what it was.

University and I didn’t get along, so I left and worked offshore, which was like being in Animal House without the clever bits. Swearing, smoking, eating, more swearing, pornography, drinking endless cups of tea, and did I mention the swearing?

But the money was good, and blowing most of it in Aberdeen’s pubs and clubs was a rite of passage.

I then worked as a graphic designer, in studio management, and did a bit of freelance design work, voiceovers for local radio and video production companies, and even tried my hand at acting. It became apparent that I wasn’t good enough to earn a living from acting, so I gave it up.

Then I fell into bad company – a blonde from Fife who conned me into marrying her – and started producing websites for a friend’s fledgling Internet company. That led to a roller coaster ride from web designer to web manager, lead programmer, team lead, and other assorted technical roles with three different companies, eventually ending up as a project manager for a global IT company.

But throughout it all, there was always the writing. I didn’t start writing until a few years ago when I fell victim to peer pressure.

Two friends were writing novels, and I thought, ‘why not? I could do that.’ And after a few years, I did.

Editoral Review

Stuart MacBride’s Close to the Bone is a gritty and intense crime thriller, first published on December 1, 2012. MacBride is a Scottish author who is known for his dark and twisted crime novels that manage to captivate and horrify his readers.

The story is set in Aberdeen, Scotland, and follows detective Logan McRae as he investigates the brutal murder of two children. The killer is a sadistic pedophile who has been preying on children for years, and Logan’s team is racing against time to catch him before he strikes again.

However, Logan’s own demons and personal issues come to light as he dives deeper into the investigation, making it even more challenging for him to solve the case. MacBride’s writing style is raw and unapologetic, forcing readers to confront the dark and horrific realities of crime.

The characters are complex and flawed, making them feel like real people instead of just characters in a book. The setting of Aberdeen adds to the bleak and grim atmosphere of the story, making it feel like the city itself is a character in the book.

The themes of Close to the Bone are difficult and uncomfortable, but MacBride handles them with sensitivity and care. He never shies away from the atrocities that are committed, but also doesn’t revel in them either.

Instead, he shows the impact that these crimes have on the victims and the investigators who work to bring the perpetrators to justice. One of the strengths of Close to the Bone is its pacing.

The story moves quickly but never feels rushed, keeping readers on the edge of their seats as they try to piece together the clues alongside Logan and his team. The plot structure is also well-crafted, with twists and turns that keep readers guessing until the very end.

However, the book’s biggest weakness is its graphic and disturbing content. The scenes with the killer and his victims are difficult to read, and some readers may find them too upsetting to continue.

Additionally, some of the secondary characters feel underdeveloped, making it hard to connect with them on a deeper level. Overall, Close to the Bone is a gripping and disturbing crime novel that will leave readers shaken to their core.

It’s not for the faint of heart, but for those who can stomach it, the book is a masterclass in crime fiction. Fans of authors like Val McDermid and Karin Slaughter will find a lot to love in MacBride’s work.

Rating: 4/5