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BIRTHDAYS FOR THE DEAD by Stuart MacBride

BIRTHDAYS FOR THE DEAD

By Stuart MacBride

Pub Date: Feb. 19th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-00-734420-8
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Vengeance compels a Scottish detective to find a brutal serial killer and to protect a dark secret.

Constable Ash Henderson has received another anonymous birthday card addressed to his daughter Rebecca, who went missing five years ago shortly before her 13th birthday. Inside is a photo of his Rebecca, bound and gagged. Several other families receive the same annual torture, apparently sent by a killer who's still at large. Ash had spread the myth, even among police colleagues, that Rebecca ran away from home. Though the cards have continued to arrive on schedule, the killer the media has dubbed "The Birthday Boy" has not been active lately. So, when someone stumbles upon the remains of a young woman during a sewer repair, Henderson's heart beats a little faster. Unfortunately, he is teamed with the chirpy and optimistic Dr. Alice McDonald, whose voice and manner affect him like the screech of chalk on a blackboard. After she convinces the family of the unearthed victim to go public, reinvigorating the case, pressure mounts on Henderson as police search for other bodies in the same location. More victims mean more families to interview in the twisty investigation. Could there be a worse time for a perv named Ethan Baxter to resurface and harass Henderson's surviving daughter, Katie? Stopping him seems the only thing Henderson and ex-wife Michelle can agree on.

Henderson's gritty first-person perspective adds authority and tension to a complex police procedural in which MacBride (Dark Blood, 2011, etc.) captures both the tumult and the telling details of a busy squad room.