Review: Dying Light is Stuart MacBride's second police procedural to feature Aberdeen (Scotland) Detective Sergeant Logan McRae. Logan, assigned to a squad of misfits in the homicide department, is working on several cases, none of which seem to be connected, but each of which involves a violent crime with no obvious motive. The crimes being investigated are brutal, and the violence in the book is often depicted in graphic, sometimes horrific detail.
Dying Light is surprisingly vivid in its descriptions of Aberdeen, and the city is as much of a character in the book as are the detectives in the homicide department and the victims of the crimes under investigation. This is not the Scotland that the tourist boards are advertising to visitors. Much of the narrative takes place at night or in the rain, giving the book a noir feel.
There are long stretches where very little happens. No doubt this is typical of an actual police department investigating any serious crime. There is a lot of bureaucracy, clues to sift through, many of which lead no where, stake-outs that are mind-numbingly boring, and the ever present paperwork. Dying Light includes all this, making the book somewhat long but never dull.
A word of caution: Though it resembles English, the characters in Dying Light speak a language that is, at times, "colorful", explicit, and completely foreign to the American reader. For the most part, unknown words can be defined by the context in which they are found, but at times, a handy website of Scottish slang will be helpful to have available.
What elevates Dying Light above similar books in this genre is the author's willingness to take risks in style, tempo, and characterization. The result is a memorable mystery.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of Dying Light for this review.
Review Copyright © 2006 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Birthdays for the Dead
Harper (Trade Paperback), January 2013
ISBN-13: 9780007344208; ISBN-10: 0007344201
Location(s) referenced in Dying Light: Aberdeen, Scotland
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Dying Light by Stuart MacBride — A Logan McRae Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: August 2006
List Price: $24.95