Thursday, 7 May 2015

Dying Light by Stuart MacBride (Logan McRae, #2) - Book Review

4.5/5 Stars

It's summertime in the Granite city: 
the sun is shining, 
the sky is blue 
and people are dying...


Edition: Paperback
Pages: 519
Chapters: 45
Publisher: Harper

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Author's Website


Apart from the awesome title, Dying Light is another testament to MacBride's enviable ability to make you feel dirty and guilty upon completion of one of his works, and wholly helpless, because you know you're not going to stop. Like its predecessor, Cold Granite, this entry keeps the dark and gritty elements up to a high standard. With a smashing story, captivating characters and Scottish slang I'm frighteningly familiar with, Dying Light is a worthy sequel.

SPOILER WARNING - Not 100% positive, but be wary.

Synopsis (Not a copy from the book, but I always keep my interpretations close.)

DS Logan McRae is back, and there's a dead prostitute lying on a cold, metal slab waiting for him.
And just when Logan doesn't think his day can get worse, six people across the city are burned to death in their own home.
The front door screwed shut from the outside.
And it doesn't take long before another prostitute ends up dead.
Mr McRae's work has been cut out for him...

Plot - 4.5/5 Stars

Reading crime novels always leaves me with a sense of foreboding, but MacBride's thrillers have me looking over my shoulder and hesitant to leave the house at all. They're that good, and for me, close to home. Literally. Aberdeen isn't that far from me. 

In all seriousness, Scotland's not that bad.

Really, it's not...

*Disappears to check crime statistics*

Dying Light certainly keeps up his infuriatingly hooking delivery. I am a little disappointed by the blurb at the back of the book. Cold Granite was an instantly shocking punch to the gut, and while this entry definitely caught my attention, it was underwhelming; generic almost. 

The inside? Totally different. The first paragraph has you by the throat, and the second instalment to the series for sure matches its predecessor in terms of depressing, disgusting detail. The story is more or less perfect. There are a few short, oddly placed scenes that focus on characters outwith our main cast, and at times I felt disjointed. 

Overall: Awesome.

Pace - 4.5/5 Stars

I'm actually a little surprised by the book's length. Why? I can't put my finger on it. Too long is the best I can give you. Along with the scenes I mentioned before, that's my only problem with the pace. 

99% of the time, Dying Light hits the nail on the head. Unputdownable. I picked it up whenever the opportunity to arose. 

A practically seamless read.

Characters - 4.5/5 Stars

Oh, I adore MacBride's characters. They're just as real and captivating as the story. There are a few that aren't up to par and they are almost interchangeable with one another.

Jacobs and Rennie - Couldn't tell you the difference.

Doc Wilson and Doc Fraser - Nope.

But, they are only minor characters, the main cast are superior in every way.

Logan: Our MC, protagonist and completely awesome. Logan is the guy you root for, through and through; smart, competent and the hero in this dark tale. He's one of the few people to never settle on one possibility, always asking questions, questioning everything and pursuing every theory until he comes to the right one. Thankfully, he never comes across as a know-it-all. He's a damn good cop, who never receives the right amount of glory, which only makes us like him more.

Steel: The dirty-mouthed Detective Inspector who takes a more prominent role in Dying Light than she did in Cold Granite. She's perfect. I like and dislike her in equal measure. She's sarcastically cruel, sometimes overly so, but there's a cunning to her that earns my respect, even if she is a bit of a glory thief. 

Insch: Detective Inspector from the first book. Not as prominent as I'd like him to be, but he still fits nicely. Fair and capable. I hope Logan gets to go back to him, because, as a team, they rock.

Jackie: Let me down a little bit. She appears for the first half of the book as Logan's nagging girlfriend. She finally gets to live up to her moniker 'Ball Breaker' in the latter parts of the novel, where I was whooping her along. Jackie is tough, as nails. 

The cast is well-developed, and an utter joy to read.

Writing - 4.5/5 Stars

You'd think I'd be perfect to determine how strong the Scottish is, being a fellow Scot myself. But I find it mighty difficult. I think in Dying Light the slang and accents are a lot stronger than the book's predecessor, and for those not used to it, it could be a little jarring. 

Mostly it's fine, confined almost predominantly to dialogue. The dark humour that had me laughing guiltily in Cold Granite is still as good in this entry.

Overall - 4.5 Stars

Another cracking novel from Stuart MacBride. Any problems I had can't really be classed as problems. 

Definitely pick up a book from the series.

Also, I'm damn shocked at how little I know of my own justice system...

Previous Instalment: Cold Granite
Next Instalment: Broken Skin

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