Stuart MacBride is a relative newcomer to the crime fiction scene. His first novel, COLD GRANITE, featuring DI Logan Macrae, burst onto the scene to much acclaim in 2006. Since then there have been four other Logan Macrae novels, with a sixth in the pipeline.
SAWBONES is a different kettle of fish. It is set in the USA for a start and is a road trip no one would ever want to undertake. There are three gangsters in a car, a teenage boy who has recently had his “frank and beans” cut off and a dead FBI agent in the boot. They are on the trail of a serial killer who kidnaps young blonde women and cuts off their limbs while they are still alive. This time the killer has picked the wrong victim. He has taken Laura, the sixteen year old daughter of a New York crime boss.
Police throughout the country are making enquiries, but the gang boss doesn’t trust them. His minions are making their own. Their interviewing techniques aren’t what you’d call subtle. After being questioned by this lot, a witness is just relieved to still be alive, let alone still have all their original body parts.
SAWBONES is very violent and definitely NOT for readers of cosies. It could very easily be very grim indeed, but underlying all this blood and gore lurks MacBride’s humour. And that is the attraction for me. While one of the more psychotic members of the gang is wreaking havoc on the most innocent of bystanders, the narrator of the story (another member of the gang ) is standing back admonishing “never poke a bear”. More a novella than a novel ,SAWBONES is just 114 pages long. But those pages are action-packed with never a dull moment. If you think you can handle the violence, then give SAWBONES a try. I loved it.