Gory, dark but compelling

JILLIAN ALLISON-AITKEN
Last updated 10:43 04/09/2014

BOOK REVIEW: A Song for the Dying
By Stuart MacBride (HarperCollins, RRP $35)

Scottish author Stuart MacBride has delivered yet another gritty, gruesome and somewhat uncomfortable murder mystery in A Song for the Dying.

Detective Inspector Ash Henderson was on the trail of a brutal killer dubbed "the Inside Man", who abducted and killed four women, and left a further three in critical condition with their stomachs slit open and a plastic doll stitched inside before simply disappearing.

Fast forward eight years, and Henderson's life is a mess: his family has been torn apart, his career is in ruins and a vicious criminal is making sure he spends the rest of his life in prison. Then, a dead woman turns up with a doll stitched inside her and Dr Alice McDonald realises those investigating that murder might just need the help of the one man who has experience in hunting this brutal killer: Henderson.

She convinces the authorities and Henderson is freed to work with the investigating team.

But while everyone is focused on finding - and stopping - a sadistic killer, Henderson is equally focused on revenge.

This is dark but incredibly compelling and, as uncomfortably gory and violent as the story was at times, I read it in just two sittings.

I grudgingly put the book down to get some sleep after reading 360-odd pages, and then buried my nose in it again as soon as my eyes were open in the morning. And best of all, aside from the gory bits, A Song for the Dying slowly offers up its clues and secrets, leading you on a journey that is breathtaking.

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