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All That's Dead: A Logan McRae Novel

Review

All That's Dead: A Logan McRae Novel

ALL THAT'S DEAD marks the return of Inspector Logan McRae. This dark, edgy series is set in Scotland, and Stuart MacBride enjoys peppering these books with the unique language of the Scots who live on both sides of the law. In a previous review, I noted that MacBride is the Scottish version of American hard-boiled authors like George Pelecanos and Dennis Lehane. I think it would be far more appropriate to hold up this stellar series against other Scottish literary giants, such as Ian Rankin and Val McDermid.

This latest installment may stand out as being the most Scottish of them all, as the murder mystery at its heart and the dark suspicions concerning one of the investigators are both centered on ties to Scottish nationalism. There is a large faction of Scottish society longing to come out from under the rule of Great Britain and stand on their own. In ALL THAT'S DEAD, Logan is going to learn that association with these radical factions could be enough to get you killed --- or worse.

"...an incredibly timeless novel... It is dark and gritty, and MacBride fuels his characters with an energy and language that are infectious."

Logan is looking to ease himself back into police work after being away for nearly a year on sick leave. Unfortunately, fate and the growing Scottish Nationalist Movement have other ideas for him. The first case he lands is the disappearance of Nicholas Wilson, a high-profile professor and anti-independence campaigner. That Wilson is quite vocal about the latter has angered some extreme members of the faction that has an opposing perspective on where Scotland should be. The crime scene is filled with blood, and it is shortly thereafter that part of Wilson is found --- his hands --- which were sent by the alleged perpetrators in an effort to send a message. Is Wilson still out there, handless but alive?

Muddying the waters is the fact that Logan has been teamed up with DI Frank King, who has been making headlines for being a member of the People's Army for Scottish Liberation (PASL). King's involvement makes matters quite sketchy for Logan and the entire investigation. He already knows that his boss is not pleased with all the negative press that the King situation is bringing to the Wilson case. King swears allegiance to Logan and the task at hand, claiming that any talk of his involvement with the PASL was way back in his teenage years when he did something stupid for a girl he liked. Whether or not that is true is not first and foremost. Logan still has a potential killer or killers to catch as this may be the act of terrorists. King knows that his own police brass will gladly fire him and throw him to the media wolves if the investigation does not yield a solution right away.

Their focus quickly turns to a male-female duo; the woman is a con artist using the identity of Mhari Powell. Logan knows that the real Powell was at an anti-Trump rally, while the fake Powell was on camera nuzzling with their primary target, Haiden Lochhead. A nationwide manhunt is organized for the couple, even though Lochhead claims he was heading to France to hide away.

When a second high-profile personality goes missing, Councillor Lansdale, Logan and company really begin to feel the pressure. Lansdale's hands have not turned up, but he's still just as missing as Professor Wilson. The closer Logan and King get to the truth, the closer they get to a plot that is much bigger than this case, which threatens to eat them alive.

ALL THAT'S DEAD is an incredibly timeless novel as it provides us with a high-exposure criminal case in this new age of Brexit. It is dark and gritty, and MacBride fuels his characters with an energy and language that are infectious. If this was a television program, subtitles would be needed --- that's how realistically Scotland is portrayed here. If you're new to these books, dive right in with this one and see if Logan will survive to take on more daunting challenges in this first-rate crime series.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on September 6, 2019

All That's Dead: A Logan McRae Novel
by Stuart MacBride

  • Publication Date: September 3, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN-10: 0008328463
  • ISBN-13: 9780008328467