Well dyamm. I did a quick check on the other reviews to make sure I wasn't writing similar reviews. I am so screwed. But I promise I was dictating while I was reading on my handy dandy little phone. So it's just tempting to quote from them. Yeah, that's the ticket.
"You think you’re having a bad day? DC Callum McGregor is having a bad life. " Sandy, GR reviewer.
A very bad, very sad life.
"This is a standalone darkly comic novel from the prolific author Stuart MacBride ...." Paromjit, GR reviewer.
I know, hard to believe those two review lines can be talking about the same book, but MacBride manages it with great skill.
After being transferred to a crew of other misfits because he covered for his pregnant girlfriend who screwed up a crime scene, McGregor hopes his life will start to improve. Not so fast there, buster. There is terrible verbal abuse by co-workers who think he took a bribe to mess up the crime scene. Professional Standards is still investigating him for the same reason and everyone he tries to arrest wants a chunk of him.
But a little ray of sunshine does appear, in the form of several mummified bodies. Yep, the work of a serial killer certainly is a day brightener for The Misfits, especially when due to circumstances beyond the control of their superiors; they get to keep the case.
McGregor soldiers on, despite seeing his future devastated and several horrors from his past confronted. Not to mention still losing body parts to biters.
This is such a five star novel. Oddly enough, we are able to find humor in Callum’s life and circumstances. Much of it is supplied by others in the Misfit Mob; the DI who is known as Mother to those who earn the right to call her such, the especially abusive Andy who is dying of cancer and fancies himself an author, the ever fighting Dot and Watt, Dot missing most of a leg and Watt who is hated just about by everyone. Then Rosalind Franklin, a beautiful black woman with a large, but earned chip on her shoulder is transferred in as McGregor’s new partner. His biggest job evidently is to keep her from punching out co-workers.
Oldcastle is presented as a town where I really wouldn't want to spend any time and Police Scotland as an agency it would be best to avoid.
MacBride manages the many characters and the many story lines with adroitness.
We share the thoughts and motivations of the killer but never the identification. There is a deadly race on to find the last victim of the killer who still might be alive. It all makes sense at the end, albeit a sick sense.
MacBride does not spare us anything; there is true darkness and despair page after page. That we can smile at a book that features murder, child abuse, spousal abuse, adultery, abandonment and sexual predators sneakily speaks more to our optimism than to our darkness. Not a bad lesson from MacBride and one we should heed.
Thank you to Net Galley for an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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