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Birthdays for the Dead by Stuart MacBride
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Birthdays for the Dead (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Stuart MacBride

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2101255,654 (3.43)22
Member:Clair155
Title:Birthdays for the Dead
Authors:Stuart MacBride
Info:Harpercollins (2012), Hardcover, 496 pages
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Birthdays for the Dead by Stuart MacBride (2012)

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[Birthdays For the Dead] by Stuart MacBride
Ash Henderson series Book #1
3.5 stars

From The Book:
A bloody, brilliant and brutal story of murder, kidnap and revenge.

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: home-made, 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 just before their thirteenth birthday, killing them slowly, then torturing their families with his homemade cards.

Ash hasn’t told anyone what really happened to Rebecca – they all think she ran away – 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 murderer gets what he deserves.

My Thoughts:
The jury is still out on Ash Henderson but it is totally back in the box on Dr. McDonald, the forensic profiler and psychologist. My opinion is that she needs a psychiatrist...and he might want to take a look at the rest of the team. What a nut job! Even Ash calls her "DrFruitLoop". And then there is Ash... "a horse of an entirely different color" doesn't even begin to describe him. I entirely understood his need to find these girls but what have the police been doing for the past ten or twelve years since the "Birthday Boy" took the first one? He is a total loose cannon with an explosive temper...owes money to a group of loan sharks...has an on the border drug problem because of chronic pain with his back...and the problems with his ex wife and 12 year old remaining daughter are just too numerous to mention.

All of the characters are totally unlikable and nonredeemable for the most part. One reviewer described the story as "cringe - worthy". That does pretty much round it off. This book is not for those that don't want loads of blood and violence in their reads...but the characters are so off the wall you just have to see how they plan to solve this. ( )
  Carol420 | Mar 26, 2017 |
Birthdays for the Dead is a very dark and gritty book that keeps you on the edge-of-your-seat. It has all the ingredients you need for a thriller: murder, mystery, violence, good and bad guys, vengeance, justice and a surprise ending. Abduction of twelve year-old girls is a disturbing subject so the book does not have the humor of the Logan MacRae series. I did, however, enjoy the interaction between DC Ash Henderson and profiler, Alice McDonald. I found all the characters to be interesting and the unique plot kept me guessing all the way through. This chilling story will stay with you even after you finish the book. I now look forward to reading the second book of the series. I highly recommend this book to those who like mystery thrillers. Warning: not for the faint of heart. ( )
  EadieB | Mar 14, 2017 |
I do own the second book in this series, but I am not sure that I can face reading it. This serial killer novel has a reasonable plot and interesting characters but is just too, too violent for my tastes. I had never picked up a Stuart McBride book for reasons I don't understand, now I think I know! ( )
  johnwbeha | Nov 8, 2016 |
I am a long time fan of Stuart MacBride’s Logan McRae series so was interested to see what he would do outside this franchise. Birthdays For the Dead is a psychological thriller that goes way out beyond the normal and delivers the darkest story I’ve yet read from this author. Unlike the McRae series, there wasn’t as much humor to balance the violence, and unlike McRae, the main character in this book is almost a psychopath himself and very difficult to relate to.

Although I do admit once this over-the-top story grabs you, it is impossible to put down. Like being unable to turn away from a car accident, this story details how a detective spirals out of control and apparently takes his more likeable but dysfunctional sidekick along with him. There is no road to redemption in this book it becomes simply a matter of holding on until the end.

Stuart MacBride knows how to keep his readers glued to the pages, but this book did have a fair number of plot holes and seemed a little unpolished. I am still a fan of his horrific, dark stories but would warn everyone that this particular book involves the torture of children and I wouldn’t suggest this as a place to start with this author. I understand there is a second book about these characters but I think it will be a long time before I am ready to read about them again. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Feb 9, 2016 |
I enjoy Stuart MacBride as an author. He has a good writing style and has a dark sense of humour. The narrator of this book was excellent.
This book, however, I just could not get into properly because of the constant violence and the nasty brutish behaviour of the protagonist, Ash Henderson. When he uses his brain and behaves like a detective, it becomes interesting. So often though, he just reacts in the most extreme way, without thinking, to so many situations. Actually, there's nasty, brutish behaviour by a lot of the characters in this book, not just the serial killer who's kidnapping young girls and killing them just before their 13th birthday.
There's a lovely little sidekick, Dr Alice McDonald, who has so many quirks you just love to see her in action.
But, other than her, this book didn't really appeal at all. ( )
  quiBee | Jan 21, 2016 |
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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.… (more)

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