cover image Birthdays for the Dead

Birthdays for the Dead

Stuart MacBride. Harper, $14.99 trade paper (496p) ISBN 978-0-00-734420-8

A cop’s horrifying personal connection with a serial killer puts a chilling spin on MacBride’s solid stand-alone. Det. Constable Ash Henderson, of Oldcastle, Scotland, is on the police team investigating “the Birthday Boy,” who for the last 12 years has abducted 12-year-old girls. Each year on their birthdays, the psychopath sends their parents Polaroids of them being tortured to death. Ash’s daughter, Rebecca, was taken five years before, but to stay on the case he has hidden this fact, a secret that drives him into gambling debts with the local mob and away from his ex-wife, Michelle, and his other daughter, Katie, who both blame Rebecca for running away. Teamed with quirky forensic psychologist Alice McDonald, Ash is shaken after some of the bodies are found, just as another girl disappears. MacBride delves into revenge and grief while adding a strong emotional wallop and avoiding the clichés of the serial killer genre. Agent: Philip Patterson, Marjacq Scripts. (Feb.)