cover image The Missing and the Dead

The Missing and the Dead

Stuart MacBride. HarperCollins, $25.99 (592p) ISBN 978-0-00-749460-6

In MacBride’s uncharacteristically plodding ninth novel featuring Det. Sgt. Logan McRae (after 2013’s Close to the Bone), McRae gets reassigned to the tiny town of Banff in northeast Scotland, where most of the crimes involve drunk driving or drug offenses, with the occasional call to clear livestock from the road. When the body of a little girl is found in an outdoor pool, McRae thinks he’s found a case worthy of his talents, until the Aberdeen Major Incident Team—including his former boss, cranky Det. Chief Insp. Roberta Steele—take over. McRae, who has never been good at taking orders, hovers at the periphery of the investigation, which focuses on trying to identify the victim and perhaps tying her to the recent disappearance of a known pedophile in the area. MacBride, who usually excels at weaving together disparate plot threads, can’t seem to pull them all together, and the reader’s mind too often wanders. Agent: Philip Patterson, Marjacq Scripts. (June)