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Birthdays for the Dead - Stuart MacBride Stuart MacBride is an evil genius and I absolutely love it.

I was first introduced to the world of Stuart MacBride back in October when I had the chance to attend a murder mystery evening with him at Harper Collins Canada HQ (HCC Facebook Page ftw). I really had no idea what I was getting myself into, but it ended up being amazing. At the end of the evening, all attendees were given a copy of his latest book Birthdays for the Dead. I can’t even adequately describe just how amazing this book is.

Birthdays for the Dead is a stand alone book and a bit of a break from MacBride’s popular Logan McRae series. The main character in Birthdays for the Dead is a cop with some questionable habits named Ash Henderson. Those same habits don’t stop Ash from being fiercely protective of the ones he loves.

Enter the Birthday Boy!

In Birthdays for the Dead, the aptly named Birthday Boy kidnaps girls just before their thirteenth birthday. Then on their birthday, the parents of the missing girl receive a birthday card. But of course this is no ordinary birthday card with picture of cake, glitter and sappy messages of well wishes. On this special birthday card is a picture of the missing birthday girl being tortured. The Birthday Boy continues to send cards to the parents every year on the missing girls birthday, with each picture of her torture being more gruesome.

Suffice to say that Ash’s younger daughter ends up being one of the victims of the Birthday Boy. The book follows Ash as he races to save his daughter and put an end to the Birthday Boy once and for all.

Birthdays for the Dead is just so dark and gritty. It moves at a relatively fast pace which really keeps the book flowing. While it does have dark sarcastic humour throughout the book, it is by no means for the squeamish or faint-at-heart. This book is top notch for me and will be standard upon which I judge all other crime novels.

P.S. If you haven’t had the chance, you really need to read Stuart MacBride’s short story the Princess and the Pervert. He read it to us at the Harper Collins event and it was hysterical. Disturbing, but funny all the same.