SHATTER THE BONES is the seventh book in the Detective Inspector Logan McRae series. Set in Aberdeen, the stories are permeated with the problems that a bad economy dumps on the locals. The one bright spot around which all of Aberdeen gathers is the telecasts of a major reality show: Britain’s Next Big Star. This most recent round of the show has reached the semi-finals and Aberdeen is as one in the collective excitement surrounding local stars, Alison and Jenny McGregor. The mother/daughter singing duo have a very good chance of winning the big prize, a recording contract and millions of pounds in endorsements of products that the British public will gladly purchase in order to own a piece of the famous.
Alison McGregor and her six year-old daughter are on the covers of every tabloid in Britain. Their version of Wind Beneath My Wings has had millions of hits on YouTube. Scotland is proud and happy and positive that the McGregors are going to bring everything good to Aberdeen until Alison and Jenny disappear and a ransom demand is made. If the ransom is not paid, the kidnappers will begin leaving pieces of Jenny for the police to find. The British viewing public rushes to contribute money but the police aren’t sure how real the kidnapping is. The producer of Britain’s Next Big Star is in a position to get his hands on the donations but the general public is convinced of the dangerous position their heroines are in and with shrines, tribute programs, and vigils, the McGregors, and the show, are getting more publicity than anyone could have dreamed of.
McRae is also caught up in a serious drug trafficking investigation. The McGregors might have a way out of poverty, if they survive, but there are those in Aberdeen who get rich selling drugs to the poor and unemployed who buy those drugs to forget the circumstances of their own lives. It is that investigation that leads Logan to a place from which he fears he can’t return.
Stuart Macbride writes 400 page books that need to be finished in a day. Logan McRae’s nickname is “Laz” and those who have read the series from the beginning understand why he has the name and why it is so appropriate. All the McRae books are violent; hero or villain, inflicting severe harm seems the answer to most problems. Yet, McRae is a hero, a man who knows that his role as a police officer is one that brings good to people who have little that is good in their lives. This does not keep him from thinking, frequently, that he should leave the job but he doesn’t know what he would do if he no longer carries a badge.
McRae is one of the few who doesn’t forget that there is a little girl at the center of the crime, a little girl who is being terrorized by people she does not know for a reason she cannot understand. To give any detail of the story is to spoil SHATTER THE BONES. The series is best read in order, beginning with COLD GRANITE, and it is a series that can be enjoyed by most whose taste runs to police procedurals. Brutal details and profane language can be skipped to get to the good part.
Macbride has a sense of humor that takes aim at parents. The name of the production company responsible for Britain’s Next Big Star is an homage to Dr. Seuss.