The Coffinmaker’s Garden written by Stuart MacBride is the third in the Ash Henderson series. The Coffinmaker’s Garden additionally includes the ‘Misfit Mob’, the group of delinquent criminal investigators who were highlighted in the standalone book “A Dark So Deadly”. It is set in the fictional Oldcastle.
Retired detective Ash remains traumatised by the demise of his daughter. He is currently working in a civilian role for Scotland Police in a special unit. Along with his friend and housemate Dr Alice McDonald, a psychologist. Their group is in pursuit of one chronic killer, who is abducting and abusing children. When a house on a windswept coast is washed into the North Sea, uncovering an underground chamber of killing in the basement.
Alice keeps on profiling the child killer while Ash is drafted into to deal with the subsequent case, alongside DS Franklin of the Misfit Mob. They need to find the owner of the abandoned house, designer Gordon Smith. Also the true identity of victims, with very little information to go on than Polaroid photographs taken by the killer.
Toss in with the general mish-mash of “The Coffinmaker’s Garden” a ruthless tabloid journalist and a neighbour of Gordon Smith who likewise has a colourful criminal history. Along side you have a significant road trip for Ash and Franklin. As things escalate, Ash strikes out all alone, and afterwards with his closest friend DI Morrow, otherwise known as Shifty, to dispense his own specific image of justice.
The strength of MacBride’s books for me has consistently been the manner in which they join violence and upsetting storylines with humour. The Logan McRae books are police procedurals, and follow the logic of an investigation. However, the characters are totally heightened, clever, odd, with their own quirky intentions, from desire for power, to vanity, to lethargy.
Logan McRae is an ordinary person attempting to do great in a world that is both brutal and absurd. When he break the norms, it is for everyone’s benefit. Debris Henderson is an altogether different character, a vigilante fuelled by a need for revenge, obliged exclusively by what he can get away with. While the humour is there, the general feeling is bleaker.
The Coffinmaker’s Garden has all the MacBride trademarks. It has a fast pace story, energy, and visceral violence. Also, the ending opens up incredible opportunities for another outing for Ash and his friends.
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