"It’s summertime in Scotland: the sun is shining, the sky is blue and people are dying…
She’s just the first. How many more will die?
It starts with Rosie Williams, a prostitute, stripped naked and beaten to death down by the docks – the heart of Aberdeen’s red light district. For DS Logan McRae it’s a bad start to another bad day.
Rosie won’t be the only one making an unscheduled trip to the morgue. Across the city six people are burning to death in a petrol-soaked squat, the doors and windows screwed shut from the outside. And despite Logan’s best efforts, it’s not long before another prostitute turns up on the slab…"
I'm always nervous when picking up a second book in a series. Will it live up to the first book? Not only did Dying Light by Stuart MacBride, live up to the first, I thought it actually surpassed it.
"How? How does writing rubbish about the fires being a sexual thing help us catch the bastard doing it? What am I supposed to do with that? Put an ad in the personal columns? 'Looking for white, male GSOH, mid twenties -- into setting fire to people's houses, with them inside, and masturbating while they burn -- for long-term commitment at Her Majesty's pleasure. Genuine psychos only: no time wasters.' Can really see that working." - DI Insch
I don't know how MacBride manages to make a story based on solving gruesome crimes fun, but somehow he always does. I feel almost guilty describing it that way given its content, but it is fun watching these guys work. The characters are just so well-drawn, and endearing, even the prickly, insensitive ones, and I love the dark humor.
"DI Insch ran a tight ship. A stickler for punctuality, preparation and professionalism, his briefings were clear and concise. DI Steel's, on the other hand, seemed to be pretty much a shambles. There was no clear agenda and everyone talked at once, while Steel sat by an open window puffing away on an endless chain of cigarettes, scratching her armpit...[s]omething terrible had happened to her hair, but everyone was too afraid to mention it."
The one character who stole the show, though, was Detective Inspector Roberta Steel. She is a vulgar, crass, chain-smoking, hot mess, and I just adored her. I hope Logan has to work every case with her from now until eternity. I just couldn't get enough of her. Watching her interaction with Logan was so much fun. Hell, watching her interaction with any of the characters was fun.
Logan, of course, is great as well. The one thing that drives me nuts about him, though, is that just like the first book, he sometimes misses obvious links or clues. I found myself catching onto something and then waiting for him to catch up. That was a little frustrating, but not enough to ruin my affection for him or my love of the story.
The crime solving portion of the story was as good as the first book. I like that more than one crime is featured, even though one takes center stage. It keeps things interesting.
So, if like me you are always a bit hesitant when picking up a second book in a series, I wouldn't worry too much when it comes to Dying Light. It's a great addition to the Logan McRae series. Highly recommended.
Final rating: 4.5 stars