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A Song for the Dying | [Stuart MacBride]

A Song for the Dying

A heart-stopping crime thriller from the author of three consecutive No. 1 bestsellers, including Birthdays for the Dead and the DI Logan McRae series. He's back... Eight years ago, ‘The Inside Man' murdered four women and left three more in critical condition - all of them with their stomachs slit open and a plastic doll stitched inside. And then the killer just … disappeared. Ash Henderson was a Detective Inspector on the initial investigation, but a lot can change in eight years.
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Publisher's Summary

A heart-stopping crime thriller from the author of three consecutive No. 1 bestsellers, including Birthdays for the Dead and the DI Logan McRae series.

He's back... Eight years ago, 'The Inside Man' murdered four women and left three more in critical condition - all of them with their stomachs slit open and a plastic doll stitched inside. And then the killer just…disappeared.

Ash Henderson was a Detective Inspector on the initial investigation, but a lot can change in eight years. His family has been destroyed, his career is in tatters, and one of Oldcastle's most vicious criminals is making sure he spends the rest of his life in prison. Now a nurse has turned up dead on a patch of waste ground, a plastic doll buried beneath her skin, and it looks as if Ash might finally get a shot at redemption. At earning his freedom. At revenge.

©2014 Stuart MacBride (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

What the Critics Say

"MacBride is the natural heir to the late and much lamented Reginald Hill." (Andrew Taylor, Spectator)
"MacBride is a damned fine writer - no one does dark and gritty like him." (Peter James)
"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (99 )
5 star
 (31)
4 star
 (32)
3 star
 (18)
2 star
 (9)
1 star
 (9)
Overall
3.7 (89 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.0 (84 )
5 star
 (35)
4 star
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3 star
 (11)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (4)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Galadriel 01-22-14
    Galadriel 01-22-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    291
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    410
    103
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    44
    8
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "MacBride knocks it out of the park."
    What did you like best about this story?

    Hooked me from the first chapter and never let up. Amazingly, I almost read this in one sitting.


    What about Ian Hanmore’s performance did you like?

    Excellent reader, moves seamlessly through various dialogues, male/female voices without overacting. Wonderful with the author's sprinkling of dark humor.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Dunno, but I'd cast Sean Bean as our hero.


    Any additional comments?

    This author has almost ruined me for other mystery writers (with a few exceptions). MacBride never settles for stock characters,TV movie dialogue or tiresome plot conventions. On the contrary: his characters are eccentric, the dialogue gritty and true to each character and the plot twists each and every familiar mystery formula into a neat pretzel. Every time I thought I had something figured out, the plot took a turn that gave me whiplash. Ash is King of the Anti-Heroes, very damaged, full of dark impulses but still somehow moral, someone you like and root for. His continuing bond with the fragile, empathy-driven profiler Alice is unique in mystery novels. Again, MacBride's books are not for the squeamish, but so rich and well-written that they leave me wanting more.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary 04-26-14
    Mary 04-26-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    3
    2
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    "Fast paced and thrilling"
    Where does A Song for the Dying rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    A terrific thriller, there was even humour hidden among the blood, gore and twisted minds. Far fetched, certainly and very gritty but highly entertaining and beautifully narrated by Ian Hanmore. I am really looking forward to the next book by Stuart MacBride, hoping to meet up with the same characters again.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    I was engrossed in this book from the start although I found some of the characters very harsh and some of the scenes were brutal. I loved the problem solving skills used to untangle the crimes and the way the team each pitched their unique skills to arrive at the truth. The plot reminded me of Ian Rankin with the gloves off, clever, intuitive, gritty and at times funny.


    Have you listened to any of Ian Hanmore’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't heard Ian Hanmore before but love his Scottish accent and would like to hear more of him narrating .


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    At times the book made me laugh but the humour was secondary and almost covert.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved this book, it captured my imagination and managed to be both far fetched and totally believable at the same time. The considerable talents of the writer and the narrator
    combined to make this a wonderful audio experience.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Persis Florida, US. 03-17-15
    Persis Florida, US. 03-17-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    83
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    115
    44
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    5
    8
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Wonderful!!"

    I'm thoroughly enjoying this series and can't seem to get enough.
    This is one of the best series I've read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gideon PRINCE ALBERT, South Africa 02-05-15
    Gideon PRINCE ALBERT, South Africa 02-05-15 Member Since 2009

    Will read just about anything. Favourites include Tom Robbins, Umberto Eco, Michael Connelly, Chris Brookmyre, Julian Barnes, James Joyce, Tim Butcher, Barbara Kingsolver, Ettienne van Heerden, Deon Meyer and ....

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    12
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    "MacBride at his brutal best."

    Beautifully read, very clever. Read Birthdays for the Dead first. Not for the faint hearted. Ash Henderson is one of a kind

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lesley United States 04-07-14
    Lesley United States 04-07-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    24
    6
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    "Brilliant!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Song for the Dying to be better than the print version?

    I haven't read the printed version. Why bother? The audio version is so great!!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Song for the Dying?

    So many memorable moments, it's hard to choose. Probably during the torture scene. Very gritty and difficult to read because it was so realistic.


    Which character – as performed by Ian Hanmore – was your favorite?

    I really liked Ash Henderson. A great cross between funny and gritty!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Absolutely. It is one of the best murder mystery thrillers that I've read.


    Any additional comments?

    Ian Hanmore did a fantastic job. He managed to pull off so many Scottish accents, both male and female. I really liked the understated narrative interspersed with the character voices. I'm a professional narrator myself, so I admire great work! :) I also liked the short sentence style used by Stuart MacBride. It made for easy listening in audible format. Well done on both the story and the narration. I would highly recommend this book!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Malcolm J Street 07-02-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Too much gore and violence"
    Would you try another book from Stuart MacBride and/or Ian Hanmore?

    No, I got tired of the excessive gore, violence and constant conflict between everybody and gave up listening.


    If you’ve listened to books by Stuart MacBride before, how does this one compare?

    First and probably last


    Have you listened to any of Ian Hanmore’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but though the reading was quite clear and easy to listen to.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Storyline line was interesting, created suspense could be followed but in the end I decided I didn't need to know the outcome.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-6 of 6 results
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  • MISS
    OXFORD, United Kingdom
    3/24/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Vile crimes, awful language - got to be MacBride!"
    What made the experience of listening to A Song for the Dying the most enjoyable?

    Ah I love MacBride! If you've read anything of his before then you'll know what to expect - absolutely monstrous crimes set in Scotland, generally atrocious weather (although he does seem to be perking this up recently) and a lot of dark cop-humour and swearing! I find that MacBride is top of his genre and I never tire of his stories. This is an 'Ash Henderson' novel and whilst I do prefer his 'Logan McRae' series due to a couple of extra amazing characters (DI Steele is pure gold!!) and the fact that there is unrestrained foul language and black comedy in them, something that seems slightly toned down in the Henderson series, I do thoroughly enjoy Ash Henderson and it's nice that MacBride is starting a whole new 'family' of characters to get to know. I can't fault this book or the author, absolutely love it!


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    Balerno, United Kingdom
    2/17/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The best narrator for Scottish Novels"

    I discovered the Stuart MacBride novels after finishing listening to others narrated by Ian Hanmore. This is a great listen, made even more enjoyable by Mr Hanmores fantastic voices and intonation. The story is gritty, a bit gory but totally enthralling. I want more from these characters, and I want them brought to life by Ian Hamore!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Patricia
    scunthorpe, United Kingdom
    1/27/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I enjoyed this but not as much as a Logan McCrae"

    This was an excellent story and was well read. There is not as much of the light relief that you get from the characters in the Logan McCrae books. I wonder if our Stuart has been on an NLP course recently?

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Crime Fiction Groupie
    High Wycombe, United Kingdom
    2/4/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Dark and compelling"

    I hoped we'd see Ash and Alice again after Birthdays for the Dead, but wasn't sure how.... although this tale stretches credulity sometimes, who cares. Its a really good read, even through all the darkest gut-wrenching bits. As has been said elsewhere, Ash is a real anti-hero, you shouldn't like him but he is so well-written that you understand the demons driving him, and can see past his awful behaviours into his humanity. I thought Alice was better developed too, although still not sure I understand their relationship! Ian Hanmore's performance was excellent, I loved all the characterisations. Excellent book - love both the Logan and Ash series from MacBride.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Stephan
    PretoriaSouth Africa
    3/4/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It could have been better..."
    Would you listen to A Song for the Dying again? Why?

    Yes, because I struggled to follow the events.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Song for the Dying?

    Every interaction between Henderson and Sabir (?).


    What three words best describe Ian Hanmore’s performance?

    Good, but confusing


    Any additional comments?

    For just about the first time since using Audible I thought the audiobook was let down by the performance. The first problem is that Mr Hanmore does not sufficiently distinguish different characters, of which there are many. In a book with long series of conversation without an indication who the speaker is, I found this a substantial source of confusion. The second issue is the actor's way of dealing with grunts and mumbles from gagged characters. I thought this was over the top -- several times I wanted to shout, "stop now!" Related to these issues is what was surely supposed to be background noise (singing) in the home of the child molester, which was performed more loudly than any conversation taking place at the time. Given the darkness of the story, I thought these irritations detracted from the overall experience.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Daniel
    2/4/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book"

    Well narrated, great macbride book, gripping and well paced a thoroughly enjoyable book. I would recommend to any fan of crime fiction

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Clive
    Bolton, United Kingdom
    1/13/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Five stars for Stuart MacBride."

    A.really excellent thriller. Kept the mystery right to the end and finished with an excellent round up the outcome of all involved. A definite must read for all lovers of the modern detective genre. The reader of this tale had just the right pitch in his voice that kept your attention to detail. His performance was flawless and with the perfect story line nothing could go wrong. The story was well set out with good narrative.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Alan
    9/18/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant story made better by fantastic narration"
    What made the experience of listening to A Song for the Dying the most enjoyable?

    The headline says it all. I don't normally bother writing reviews but this audiobook was so good I wanted to acknowledge it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • BlueQuill
    Scotland
    6/9/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "More bloody brilliant MacBride!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Song for the Dying to be better than the print version?

    For this book, yes. The hardback is the size of a breeze block. Also, having someone tell you a story tweaks the imagination that little bit more than the written word.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Stuart MacBride has created a great character in Ash Henderson. He's been through events in his life that would break a lesser man, leaving him hanging in there by the skin of his teeth. He acts as tough as old boots, yet he's vulnerable, and under all that bluff and bluster beats a heart of gold and you can't help but wish him some happiness..and a hug.


    What does Ian Hanmore bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Ian Hanmore has a style of reading that is almost hypnotic in it's nature and as such you just cannot stop listening. Each character was so unique, with different accents and different layers to their personalities, yet Ian not only got the measure of them all, he inhabited them, especially Ash. In fact, he IS Ash Henderson. A wonderful reader!!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, and I very nearly did. I was so reluctant to switch off and couldn't wait to get back to it.


    Any additional comments?

    You don't NEED to read / listen to Birthdays for the Dead first to understand what's going on in Song for the Dying, but it certainly helps. Ian Hanmore read that too, so double the pleasure.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • EVA
    WRAY NR LANCASTER, United Kingdom
    6/4/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "NOT A LOT TO SAY......JUST LOVED IT!!!"
    Would you listen to A Song for the Dying again? Why?

    OH YES PLEASE. GREAT STORY AND GOOD NARRATION


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Song for the Dying?

    THE SUSPENSE AS ASH TRIES TO GET RETRIBUTION FOR SHIFTY. WHEN WILL HE BE ABLE TO GET NEAR THE LADY


    What does Ian Hanmore bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    THE ACCENT MAKES IT MORE BELIEVABLE, REMINDS ME OF MY MATERNAL SCOTTISH FAMILY


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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