A Dark So Deadly by Stuart MacBride

The Blurb On The Back:

Welcome to the Misfit Mob …

Police Scotland’s dumping ground for officers it can’t get rid of, but wants to.  Officers like DC Callum MacGregor, lumbered with all the boring go-nowhere cases.  So when an ancient mummy is dumped at the Oldcastle tip, it’s Callum’s job to find out which museum it’s been stolen from.

But when Callum turns up links between the mysterious mummy and several recent disappearances, life suddenly starts to get more interesting.  With O Division’s Major Investigation Teams stretched to breaking point, the Misfit Mob unexpectedly finds themselves on the trail of a serial killer who isn’t afraid to take his time.

The question is, can Callum overcome his troubled past, not to mention his troubled present, in time to save himself, let alone anyone else?

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

DC Callum MacGregor works in O Division, based in Oldcastle, which is Police Scotland’s dumping grounds for the unpopular (DC Watt), the dying (DS McAdams), the quick tempered (DC Franklin) and the disabled (DS ‘Dotty’ Hodgkin) and is run by DI Malcolmson (known as Mother).  But even by O Division’s low standards, MacGregor is viewed with contempt: he made a mistake with a crime scene that resulted in a known crime lord to go free.  They don’t know that he’s covering for his pregnant girlfriend, Elaine, who was already on a warning and couldn’t afford to lose her job – as far as they’re concerned, they’re just waiting for Internal Investigations to interview him and get him sacked.

Callum’s glad of the distraction when a mummy is found at Oldcastle’s tip, even though he’s stuck with phoning museums to see who it was stolen from.  But when he discovers a link between the mummy and a young man whose disappeared, it becomes apparent that something more sinister is going on and it isn’t long before O Division finds itself on the trail of a serial killer whose goal is epic …

Stuart MacBride’s standalone crime thriller has a preposterous story that’s filled with unlikely coincidence and some easily guessable twists but the relationships between the characters, the humour and the fact that MacBride makes you root for his Misfit Mob held my attention from beginning to end and made it enjoyable.  Callum is a really likeable character – constantly suffering for trying to do the right thing – he’s the glue that holds the book together because you actually care what happens to him.  I enjoyed the antagonism between him and McAdams but wished that there’d been more of a confrontation with Elaine following a revelation and two key revelations about his family life came far too late to be credible.  The Misfit Mob themselves work well and I really enjoyed the friction between them with MacBride really making the dialogue pop, which made it a shame not to find out what happened to one of them at the end (and in a similar vein, two of the victims don’t get a definitive resolution either).  I thought that the killer was a bit too easy to guess and I wanted more of an explanation for how they managed it but there’s potential left for a sequel, which I would definitely check out.

A DARK SO DEADLY was released in the United Kingdom on 20th April 2017.  Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

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