May 27, 2024


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The Coffinmaker’s Garden, by Stuart MacBride

The latest novel in the Ash Henderson collection has an intriguing premise, but it’s permit down by some uninspiring characterisation, writes Rhona Shennan

Stuart MacBride wearing glasses

© Stuart MacBride PIC: Mark Mainz

Stuart MacBride is the bestselling creator of the Logan McRae and Ash Henderson novels, and he has also penned a range of standalone novels, short stories and even a children’s photograph ebook. His latest giving is The Coffinmaker’s Yard, the third in the Detective Inspector Ash Henderson series – except you’d improved make that ex-Detective Inspector now.

The opening is intriguing: a storm is raging and the property of Gordon Smith is falling bit by bit into the North Sea. As the headland on which the home is located crumbles absent, the dark tricks he has been hiding are slowly but surely discovered, and the human continues to be buried in his backyard are discovered.

With the storm battering the Scottish coastline, nevertheless, it is also risky to retrieve the bodies, and with every single passing instant a different piece of beneficial evidence is swallowed up by the drinking water, in no way to be seen yet again. The tale then follows Henderson as he sets out to monitor down the cold-blooded killer.

It’s a promising begin. Difficulties is, nothing at all feels serious, from the figures them selves to the way they interact with just about every other, and even the story itself. Many of the characters feel like caricatures, which include, regretably, the really hard-boiled ex-detective who doesn’t engage in by the regulations and his quirky sidekick, Dr Alice MacDonald, who functions extra like a remarkable teen than a 30-yr-previous forensic psychologist. Other people are equally bland placeholders: the dumb just one to make Ash search sensible, the frustrating one particular for Ash to berate, and so on.

Moreover, the undertones of sexism and racism are way too substantially to dismiss. The continual references to the appears to be like and pores and skin colour of just one black feminine character are unneeded, and mentioned character, who is in fact a police officer, does not get to do considerably apart from chauffeur Ash close to and get ogled at. Most likely these things have been penned into the story to add some idea of realism – the environment isn’t as politically accurate as we could like it to be, following all – but instead they arrive throughout as compelled and unnatural, and the very same can be reported for the greater part of the dialogue.

a close up of a sign

© The Coffinmaker’s Back garden, by Stuart MacBride

As beforehand pointed out, this is the third e book in the Ash Henderson sequence, so it is pure that there may possibly be some areas where new visitors may possibly battle to catch up with the story so much. Nevertheless, there is a large cast of characters to get your head close to, and this isn’t made any easier by the simple fact that MacBride refers to them working with a mixture of their previous name, very first title, rank and any range of nicknames as nicely.

The Coffinmaker’s Backyard garden, by Stuart MacBride, HarperCollins, £18.99

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