The Missing and the Dead by Stuart MacBride — Review

All the minutiae of policing on a local level permeate the almost 600 pages of this Logan McRae crime novel. Bumped down to duty sergeant from acting DI, he now supervises the operations of B Division from Banff in northeastern Scotland, not only chasing drug dealers, shoplifters, vandals and disqualified drivers, but facing the infighting of the politics of doing the job while absorbing the pressures from higher-ups.

When Logan discovers a six-year-old girl’s body washed ashore, a major investigation team arrives from Aberdeen to take the case away from him. But that doesn’t stop McRae from continuing to snoop, and with DI Steel, his former and sometime superior, uncover a bunch of pedophiles who may be involved in her murder. Nor can he keep away from a suspected drug dealer about whom he is warned off by the powers that be.

Written to demonstrate the rather humdrum duties of local policemen, occasionally peppered with exciting and meaty cases, the author takes advantage of the many examples of events and people facing a cop. And the decisions that have to be made on the spot. The length of the novel merely emphasizes the often boring hours spent policing the streets. Written simply but firmly with occasional flurries of excitement, the book, the 9th in the series, is recommended.

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Theodore Feit

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