All That’s Dead – Stuart MacBride

Put-upon cop Logan McRae is back on the mean streets of Aberdeen.

McBride’s novels are as dark, gritty, serious and topical as the best from Ian Rankin, Mark Billingham and the Scandinavian pack led by Jo Nesbo.

But he has something else – a black, sharp humour that makes his books hilarious – and every scene memorable – while keeping you gripped throughout.

McBride isn’t afraid of mixing things up, putting McRae of his comfort zone: in recent books he’s been put back in uniform, seconded to Professional Standards, and even promoted to inspector above his long-time chief Roberta Steel.

Roberta’s on top form in this book, as potty-mouthed and irreverent as ever, demoted to bagman for Detective Inspector King as the pair look into the disappearance, and potential murder, of an anti-independence campaigner.

McRae is seconded to the investigation to investigate the investigator – for King has nationalist sympathies and possible terrorist involvement in his own past.

Cue fighting between the myriad Scottish independence groups, infighting within the police, and unwelcome attention from unfriendly journalists.

Logan’s professional and personal lives collide – as usual – in an intricately-plotted, fast-moving the story, with less of the padding some of MacBride’s previous novels have suffered. This one is up there with the best of Logan’s previous outings

David Knights