Now We Are Dead by Stuart MacBride is described as number 10.5 in the Logan McRae series. While I believe it could be read as a standalone, there are many, many rewards for those who know the series and in particular, those who have grown to know and love the former DCI Roberta Steel, a major character throughout the series as well as Logan’s previous boss, the mother of his children and in many ways, his nemesis as well. A woman who is the most original, entertaining, frustrating, sexually inappropriate and marvellous character to ever schoogle her way through a crime series.
The reason a regular reader will reap more rewards is because this book is about Steel and her new side-kick, DC Stuart Quirrel, a man as likely to opine about Black Holes, sense when a greasy bacon butty is in order as he is be a Jiminy Cricket to Steel’s worst instincts. Demoted after she was reported to Internal Standards for planting evidence, Steel is lucky she hasn’t been sacked. Dropping two ranks is a bitter blow for the woman with hedgehog hair and unique way with insults. Relegated to returning lost property along with her staff, Steel refuses to buckle down and restore her damaged reputation – not when there are slimy criminal’s and “rapey scumbags” out there to bring to justice. Determined to bring her nemesis to account, nothing will stand in her way, not solid alibis, the Powers That Be breathing down her neck, or threats of legal repercussions; nor will she listen to DC Quirrel, not even when any professional punishment she receives will also fall on him – including being kicked out of the force for good should she take one wrong step.
Now there’s not only one career at stake, but two… Since when has that stopped Roberta Steel?
Filled with fast-paced action, rich, often hilarious dialogue (the word of the day trope was just too good), not only is this a wild, wonderful ride, but it’s also a great story about criminals, police, loyalty, family, friendship, ethics, compassion and, above all, decency. I laughed, I cried, I gritted my teeth and forgot to breathe on a couple of occasions (particularly towards the end), but not once did I want to stop reading, except to delay finishing. Damn it. I did. I have.
A fabulous addition to one of my favourite crime series.