Page Count 480
Publication date April 2022
Publisher Transworld, Random House UK
It’s been seventeen months since the Bloodsmith butchered his first victim and Operation Maypole is still no nearer catching him. The media is whipping up a storm, the top brass are demanding results, but the investigation is sinking fast.
Now isn’t the time to get distracted with other cases, but Detective Sergeant Lucy McVeigh doesn’t have much choice. When Benedict Strachan was just eleven, he hunted down and killed a homeless man. No one’s ever figured out why Benedict did it, but now, after sixteen years, he’s back on the streets again – battered, frightened, convinced a shadowy ‘They’ are out to get him, and begging Lucy for help.
It sounds like paranoia, but what if he’s right? What if he really is caught up in something bigger and darker than Lucy’s ever dealt with before? What if the Bloodsmith isn’t the only monster out there? And what’s going to happen when Lucy goes after them?
The last and only MacBride novel I read was Halfhead on a flight to Glasgow fifteen years ago, I absolutely loved it and can’t explain why I’d not read another since- especially since there are five more sitting patiently in my library!
For reasons unknown to me I suddenly found the urge to try, I spotted No Less The Devil on Netgalley and thought- here’s a way to make sure I finally read some more MacBride, I’ll sign up to review. So here we are..
After a quick scan of Goodreads I came to realise the only other MacBride novel I had read was actually a divergence from his usual fare, one not wholly welcomed by his fan base. Whoops.
No Less The Devil is written in third from the perspective of DS Lucy Mcveigh as she chases down gory serial killer ‘The Bloodsmith’ and attempts to help recently released child killer Benedict.
There were many referrals to a previous major event between MC Lucy and a man not present in No Less The Devil, I could almost fill in the blanks to begin with but thought perhaps I’d picked up part of an ongoing series…I needn’t have worried! Happily the mystery of Neil Black is a subplot and all will be revealed- though be warned it is particularly brutal.
Macbride uses his characters to weave humour in amongst the gory murders that I really appreciated. The banter between them all, alongside main character Lucy’s exasperated reactions to people in general, (especially sidekick ‘the Dunk’) endeared me to them all with a good chuckle.
The speech of characters with strong accents is written phonetically so anyone unfamiliar with a Scottish accent can hear it whilst reading, I love when authors do that.
I also enjoyed the frequent use of local slang, I’ve a few pals there so understood enough of it to recognise what was being said.
Add the perfect amount of location description and MacBride easily sets and maintains the atmosphere of the bleak, grey Scottish scene.
When previous trauma and a recent head injury turn Lucy into a seemingly unreliable narrator, everything you thought was true will be questioned.
A fantastic crime thriller mystery that has me determined to read more MacBride this year.