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Birthdays For The Dead [Paperback]

Stuart Macbride
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 17 2012
The gritty new standalone crime novel from the No. 1 bestselling author of Shatter the Bones and Dark Blood Detective Constable Ash Henderson has a dark secret! Five years ago his daughter, Rebecca, went missing on the eve of her thirteenth birthday. A year later the first card arrived: homemade, with a Polaroid picture stuck to the front -- Rebecca, strapped to a chair, gagged and terrified. Every year another card: each one worse than the last. The tabloids call him The Birthday Boy. He's been snatching girls for twelve years, always in the run-up to their thirteenth birthday, sending the families his homemade cards showing their daughters being slowly tortured to death. But Ash hasn't told anyone about Rebecca's birthday cards -- they all think she's just run away from home -- because if anyone finds out, he'll be taken off the investigation. And he's sacrificed too much to give up before his daughter's killer gets what he deserves!

Frequently Bought Together

Birthdays For The Dead + Close To The Bone + Flesh House
Price For All Three: CDN$ 35.63

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  • Flesh House CDN$ 11.54

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Review

Praise for Birthdays for the Dead: 'MacBride is a damned fine writer -- no one does dark and gritty like him' PETER JAMES Praise for Stuart MacBride: 'Fierce, unflinching and shot through with the blackest of humour; this is crime fiction of the highest order' Mark Billingham 'Some of the grittiest crime-writing in the field' Independent 'Admirers of tough, modern crime novels will be in seventh heaven -- or should that be hell?' Express 'Ferocious and funny' Val McDermid 'Hard-hitting prose with a bone-dry humour and characters you can genuinely believe in, Stuart MacBride's novels are a real treat' Simon Kernick

About the Author

Stuart MacBride is the author of several bestselling novels featuring DS Logan McRae, including Shatter the Bones, which reached No. 1 in the Sunday Times bestseller list. The McRae novels have won him the CWA's Dagger in the Library, the Barry Award for Best Debut Novel, and Best Breakthrough Author at the ITV3 crime thriller awards. Stuart's other works include Halfhead, a near-future thriller, Sawbones, a novella aimed at adult emergent readers, and several short stories. He lives in the north-east of Scotland with his wife, Fiona and cat, Grendel.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Birthdays for the Dead March 3 2012
By L. D. Godfrey TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Stuart MacBride's novel Birthdays for the Dead is a great read. I started the book as soon as it arrived and it was one of those novels that you don't want to put down. The main character, Detective Constable Ash Henderson is almost the stereotypical cop character,you know the type. They have been beaten by life,divorced,living only for the job because the rest of their lives are in ruins,but still standing or almost standing.When I say that Henderson was beaten,I mean figuratively and literally. This guy was being beat up or beating someone up in almost every chapter. This is one rough guy. Henderson doesn't believe in taking prisoners with his give harder than you get mentality,after all some creepy serial killer has his daughter,a fact that he has kept to himself for years not even sharing with his ex-wife or the police. Then you have Dr Alice McDonald, her real name is Charlotte but she likes Alice better. Alice is a forensic psychologist, new to the force, described as delightfully quirky. She is top of her class, intuitive, intelligent and completely helpless in the face of her own fears. I loved this character, she provides the comic relief that is much appreciated for while MacBride doesn't keep hitting you over the head with the violence he also never lets you wander far away from it either.I can't say I have read all of MacBridefs work or even most but I can tell you that this won't be the last. Say what you want about recurring characters, I found this pair a class act and I hope they show up again. MacBride does a great job spinning this plot, laying out the very colourful characters and bringing it all together.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Birthdays for the Dead June 23 2012
By Gloria Feit TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Stuart MacBride''s writing has been called 'gritty,' and 'brilliant.' Understatements both.

In his new standalone mystery/thriller, the author introduces DC Ash Henderson of the Oldcastle Police, formerly DI Ash Henderson ' he was busted down to Constable following a particularly horrific phase of an investigation into murders committed by a killer dubbed by the tabloids the 'Birthday Boy,' an investigation now eight years old. The victims have all been young girls, abducted within a few days of their thirteenth birthday, their parents tormented with photos mailed to them every year on the ensuing birthdays, each one increasingly grotesque in its images of torture, mutilation and, finally, death. What no one else knows ' not the detectives with whom he works, not even his wife ' is that Henderson's daughter, Rebecca, who went missing five years before, is another of those victims. The rest of the world believes that she has simply gone missing; Ash has hidden the truth so that he can continue to hunt for the killer, in the quite-correct belief that he would otherwise be pulled off the case, placed on compassionate leave and given grief counseling.

Henderson is a fascinating protagonist, 45 years old, with an ex-wife and twelve-year-old daughter and now living in a dilapidated council estate, he is not one to shy away from exacting revenge, or justice, when called for. But the most fascinating of the characters created by Mr. MacBride for this novel is Dr. Alice McDonald, brilliant forensic psychologist, somewhat mentally unstable, self-described as 'delightfully quirky' - - a more objective viewpoint might include OCD and perhaps agoraphobia.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty Drama March 8 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A tad more gruesome than Stuart MacBride's previous books so it is not for the faint of heart. The main characters are well developed and, as usual, flawed. This is what makes Stuart MacBride's books so interesting. Fast paced, gritty, and keeps you guessing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars My first MacBride read - won't be my last Feb. 20 2013
By Luanne Ollivier #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Stuart MacBride is another author whose name I was familiar with, but hadn't sampled yet. Well, that's all changed. I just read Birthdays for the Dead and I am hooked.

MacBride grabs you by the throat in the opening prologue and only eases his grip long enough to let you take a breath and then the pressure is back on. Non-stop.

The day's mail includes a birthday card for Detective Constable Ash Henderson's daughter Rebecca - she would have been eighteen. Rebecca went missing days before her thirteenth birthday and it's assumed she ran away. But, Ash knows differently. She was a victim of The Birthday Boy - a sadistic killer who sends parents horrific photos of their dead daughters in a yearly birthday card. And Ash has just received his latest. The Oldcastle police have been chasing this maniac for over eight years and they may have just caught a break - a body has been found. Ash has withheld his cards and daughter's death from everyone as he doesn't want to be taken off the case. But, it's taken a toll - he's divorced, lives in a dive, is dangerously in debt to the local mob, eats painkillers constantly and is a little too quick with his fists. He's a train wreck of a man - and you can't help but hoping he comes out on top.

Whew. Where to start? It took me the first few chapters to catch on to MacBride's style - fast and furious, but also with some funny bits. I know, after what I just described, funny doesn't seem possible. But Ash is paired up with Alice, a very 'different' psychologist, who has her own set of issues. The dialogue between the two is quite witty. On the flip side, Mrs. Kerrigan scared the bejesus out of me. The action truly never stops, the tension never lets up and I was unable to predict where the plot was headed next. Or the ending.
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