A Dark So Deadly, by Stuart MacBride

>> Sunday, October 29, 2017

TITLE: A Dark So Deadly
AUTHOR: Stuart MacBride

PAGES: 608
PUBLISHER: Harper Collins

SETTING: Contemporary Scotland
TYPE: Mystery
SERIES: Stand-alone

Welcome to the Misfit Mob...

It’s where Police Scotland dumps the officers it can’t get rid of, but wants to: the outcasts, the troublemakers, the compromised. Officers like DC Callum MacGregor, lumbered with all the boring go-nowhere cases. So when an ancient mummy turns up at the Oldcastle tip, it’s his job to find out which museum it’s been stolen from.

But then Callum uncovers links between his ancient corpse and three missing young men, and life starts to get a lot more interesting. O Division’s Major Investigation Teams already have more cases than they can cope with, so, against everyone’s better judgement, the Misfit Mob are just going to have to manage this one on their own.

No one expects them to succeed, but right now they’re the only thing standing between the killer’s victims and a slow, lingering death. The question is, can they prove everyone wrong before he strikes again?
Stuart MacBride is an author I've been meaning to try for a while. He's got a long-running series, the Logan McRae books, which is supposed to be good. I never know if it's best to just jump in with the latest book (and possibly feel a bit lost) or go for the first one in the series (which I've often found is not great). Seeing this new stand-alone title saved me making the decision.

The premise is not particularly novel: after a bit of a screw-up that was not his fault, DC Callum MacGregor has been assigned to the Misfit Mob, a unit which is the dumping ground for officers that, for whatever reason, are going nowhere in their careers, and yet can't be sacked. They are given the pointless, annoying cases no one else wants. The latest, a mummy found in a recycling centre, seems exactly that. Only it turns out the mummy isn't ancient, as originally assumed, and someone is kidnapping people and mummifying them. So the Misfit Mob find themselves with a serial killer case on their hands.

A Dark So Deadly had a lot of promise and could have been really good, but man, did it need an editor! A ruthless one, preferably, who could tighten all the many, many threads a bit and trim the pointless detail. As it is, this was much, much too long and as a result, it flowed about as well as treacle. It felt like a chore to push through, and as a result, it felt even longer.

I read the first half and gave up, because in addition to the slow pace and the clutter, I also had a number of issues that bothered me. First, the women. First, there's Callum's pregnant partner, Elaine, who's portrayed as nagging and manipulative (ridiculously so). Then there's DC Franklin, new to the squad and possessor of a truly impressive chip for her shoulder. She's portrayed as blaming every slight on her race (she's black) and accusing anyone who's nice to her of trying to get into her pants. They were both unbelievable.

And then there was how everyone dumped on Callum. Elaine treats him terribly. His colleagues disrespect him and bully him to an infuriating degree. Random people get in the act. People he tries to arrest keep beating the shit out of him. His balls are crushed, he has people bite him in two separate incidents, first his ear is bitten off and then someone bites his leg. I started out feeling sorry for Callum, but after a while my feelings started turning into contempt.

Then there's the plot, which I just could not buy. It becomes clear quite quickly that what they've got is an active serial killer, and this is treated by everyone as not a big deal and nothing to make a fuss about. This beggars belief, as does the fact that Callum has apparently worked on 4 serial killer cases in his relatively short career. Seriously? What world, let along country, is this set in? And Callum is portrayed as this young, nothing special policeman, not some sort of serial killer specialist.


MY GRADE: It was a DNF.


Post a Comment

Blog template by simplyfabulousbloggertemplates.com

Back to TOP