A Dark So Deadly by Stuart MacBride

The Misfit Mob in Oldcastle, Scotland. The dumping ground for those police officers who just don’t fit in. If you’re dying of cancer or have just punched a superior officer for sexual harassment, it’s the place where you end up, assigned to boring cases where you can’t do any harm. All DC Callum McGregor did was cover up a mistake made by his pregnant fiancée – which would have resulted in her losing her job – but that’s enough to end up in the Misfit Mob.

But things are about to get interesting. A mummified body has been discovered but it hasn’t been stolen from a museum – it has had recent dental work. As Callum and his colleagues work towards finding the serial killer known as Imhotep (or Paddington – long story) – and finding a way not to get on each other’s nerves – they find themselves in a race against time to save the killer’s most recent victim…

It’s been a while since I’ve read something by Stuart MacBride, which is odd given that he wrote two of my favourite modern crime books since I started the blog – Birthdays For The Dead and Shatter The Bones. But for whatever reason, I’ve missed out on the most recent Ash Henderson and Logan MacRae novels, so it was rather thoughtful of Stuart to write a non-series novel. Well, it’s non-series but set in the same location as Birthdays For The Dead – the Birthday Boy gets a name-check, but there’s no spoilers here.

So, what do we have here? Basically, it’s business as usual from the author. In other words, an outstanding read. Dark humour laced throughout an intriguing plot with strong, well-defined, characters that you find yourself desperate to know what happens to. Some characters that seem objectionable at first, but you suddenly find yourself caring about what happens to them. And a plot that basically keeps you looking the wrong way, despite a plot that makes perfect sense once you know what has been going on. The more you think about it, the more you spot little things that should have nudged you in the right direction but didn’t.

I’m not going to say any more, for fear of spoilers, apart from don’t be put off by the hefty page count – this is (rarely for me) a book where the longer page count was appreciated as it gives the reader a chance to get under the skin of the protagonist. Of course, the only problem is that I want to know what happens next for Callum and the rest of the Mob. One of the most enjoyable reads for a long while, so, needless to say, I think this is well worth your time and is, of course, Highly Recommended.

A Dark So Deadly is out in the UK on Thursday 20th April. Many thanks to HarperCollins for the review copy via NetGalley.

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