The Missing and the Dead is the ninth book in the Detective Sergeant Logan McRae series, a collection of murder-mystery, police-procedural, best-selling books set in Aberdeen , Scotland written by Stuart MacBride. In this book, however, Logan has been transferred to the rural suburbs of the city called Aberdeenshire as a professional development opportunity which could strengthen his case for his long-delayed promotion to Detective Inspector.
The first body that is discovered is that of a very little girl, roughly the same age as Logan’s own biological child (he is presumptively the spad, i.e. sperm dad, of the daughter his lesbian boss’s wife had 5-6 years ago). That boss is the singular Detective Chief Inspector Roberta Steel, who abuses Logan constantly and has an expansive (some would say "situational") view of police regulations. Steel was the subject of her own recently published spin-off, Now We Are Dead, in 2017 which in my opinion was not a very successful outing.
One of the main features of The Missing and the Dead that is very different from previous entries in the series is the focus on local policing. Logan is the deputy head of a rural police station with some unusual characters. The Logan McRae series are generally police procedurals but this entry takes the details (and monotony) of actual policing to the extreme. The typical crimes Logan and his fellow officers have to deal with are shoplifting, domestic violence and illegal drug use (as well as teenage vandals who delete in spray-painting large images of "willies" on public billboards) . More seriously, there’s also an ongoing crime wave of ATM machine thefts (smash and grab) as well as a known ring of pedophiles who appear to be disappearing and turning up dead.
Happily the distinguishing element of Logan McRae books from most other works in the genre of British police procedurals is very present here and that is the amount of humor (and nearly incomprehensible Scottish slang) that are always included.
Overall, I don’t think this entry is as effective as the earlier books in the series were, primarily because it is too long (there are multiple overlapping and intersecting criminal threads and an entire romantic arc that simply complicate the plot without improving the story). The series is highly sequential and so now that we are in Book 9 things that happen to Logan and other However, The Missing and the Dead is rescued by a Cracker Jack thriller of an ending that positively affected my overall impression of the book.
Title: The Missing and the Dead.
Author: Stuart MacBride.
Paperback: 592 pages.
Date Published: January 15, 2015.
Date Read: April 12, 2019.
GOODREADS RATING: ★★★★☆ (4.0/5.0).
OVERALL GRADE: A- (3.67/4.0).