Close to the bone – Stuart MacBride

Detective Inspector Logan McRae is the Aberdeen copper living in a world of death and destruction. This time around it starts off with the discovery of a body, chained to a stake, strangled, stabbed, and sporting a necklace formed by a burning tire. It’s straight out of a bestselling book – one being filmed on site, locally – and yet surely it’s more to do with organized crime.

If that were not bad enough, someone is going around crippling oriental gentlemen with hammer blows to their knees, but the victims are staying schtum. Then there’s the small matter of the bundles of bones being left around McRae’s caravan home. Oh, and two teenage lovers are missing and the police are accused of not doing enough to find them. What else could happen?

Quite a lot.

And it happens alongside McRae balancing several plates on poles all at once, as he is harassed by his superior, troubled by the woes of his hospitalized girlfriend, assaulted by a deadly enemy, challenged by the behavior of his colleagues and subordinates, and wooed by a dying crime lord.

What you get here is terrific banter, a rapid fire plot with great misdirection and red herrings, sparks of black humor, and generally decent folk trying to muddle through. The major minus is that the setting and the characters are so powerful, they have a habit of reminding you of past books. (In other words, it’s very familiar territory for those who have read any of the previous books in the series.) But it’s great entertainment.