Review published on September 25, 2017.
DS Roberta Steel is back. I’ve been reading MacBride for a few years now and this book brings us up-to-date with where our regular favourite is, after finding herself demoted for planting evidence and trying to still bring down a man she believes has been raping women.
Unlike a lot of crime books, this one doesn’t have a major incident that we need to figure out the perpetrator of, but instead focuses on day to day policing, with Steel’s history ticking away in the background. We have teenage mobile phone thieves, a loan shark, a man with a strange sexual habit of pleasuring himself in superhero masks… and of course a free man whom Steel really wants locked up. All these give a great mix of cases that allow you to feel the stresses and strains of day to day policing, whether that be dealing with superiors, the need for evidence of everything, and uncomfortable uniforms, which all come together in the end but in the mean time allow for endless laughs and jokes along the way. I loved this book and giggled on the bus so much that people were craning their necks to see the title. There are of course gory bits that you’d expect of MacBride and the genre in general, but there’s so much more to this book than that.
There’s also a nice nod to MacBride’s appearance on Celebrity Mastermind and his specialist subject of A.A. Milne, as the chapters are described in the way you would find in Winnie the Pooh books and there are echoes of the characters Milne created, particularly in relation to DS Steel’s sidekick, Detective Constable Stuart Quirrel, or Tufty, who amusingly always seems to get the wrath of all who surround him in the defeatist way Eeyore might, but with the classic innocent simplicity of Piglet.
Overall, if you like MacBride, this won’t disappoint, even Sergeant Logan McRae crops up once or twice, and Steel is both irritating and as lovable as ever, and new readers will be lucky to meet her and learn her story and slightly unorthodox way of doing things. A funny, warm, grim read that gave me plenty of entertainment.
Helen Corton 4/3
Now We Are Dead by Stuart MacBride
HarperCollins 9780008257088 hbk Nov 2017
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