Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dying Light: Stuart MacBride

From the Book Description at Goodreads:
On the coast of Scotland, in the "Granite City" of Aberdeen, Detective Sergeant Logan MacRae is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Bumped to the homicide department's "Screw-up Squad" after a sting operation gone wrong, Logan will do anything to prove that he doesn't belong there…even if it means working overtime on two baffling cases: a fatal act of arson in a squatter's apartment and the murder of a prostitute in the city's notorious red-light district.
I really did not enjoy reading this book. I had read the first book in the series and liked it well enough to buy the next 3 in the series (when I found them at a good price). For some reason I could not get into the story. Out of roughly 400 pages, I enjoyed about 30 in the middle, and maybe 100 at the end.

I do like that the protagonist, MacRae, is fallible and not superhuman, but he really messed up a lot in this story and I had a hard time figuring out why he had the reputation as a capable policeman. Part of his problems seem to be in dealing with relationships and jumping to conclusions. In the end, it almost seemed accidental that they actually caught the bad guys.

A warning. The book (and the series) is very gritty. With a lot of swearing and graphic violence. I don't mind swearing (in books or in real life); I can handle violence to a certain extent in fiction. But I need something else to keep me going. I felt like the book moved slowly and I was not that interested in the characters and their plights. Maybe both Logan MacRae and I were having a bad week. (His was way worse than mine.)

A quote from this review (which was overall very favorable):
I do have to say that MacBride increases the graphic nature of the sexualized violence here beyond anything found in Cold Granite or in the Ian Rankin canon.

I have come to the conclusion that I like my books a little less gritty than this one. I like to read all kinds, from cozies to thrillers to spy fiction, but I do need some softening around the edges. However, I have read a lot of reviews that praise this book and the rest of the series highly, so I am not giving up on it.  I will read the next one.

To assure you that a lot of other readers enjoyed this book:
Review at Euro Crime
At Book World In My Head

What I learned about Scotland:
This series is set in the city of Aberdeen. This book (and the one before) gives one the impression that Aberdeen is dark and cold and full of crime.  I guess it is relatively cold, and like any large city, has plenty of crime.  If you check out this page on Aberdeen at Undiscovered Scotland, it looks beautiful and light and full of delightful attractions. I would love to visit.

This counts as one of my books for the following challenges:
Mt. TBR Challenge
Read Your Own Books Challenge
Merely Mystery Reading Challenge
Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge
European Reading Challenge
2nds Challenge

1 comment:

Gilion at Rose City Reader said...

Thanks for the heads up! I always like finding new mystery series. But I don't like books with "sexualized violence." As soon as I read those words, I knew this wasn't one I needed to start.

Thanks for including your review in the European Reading Challenge.