Mysterious Book Report A Song For The Dying

A Song For The Dying by Stuart MacBride

Harper Collins, £16.99 (about $29.95) 516 pages, ISBN 978-0-00-734430-7

Have you ever thought about, or have a personal vision of Hell?  It is of course, a theme which reverberates throughout the canons of the great religions of the world; but it’s also a subject many of the world’s greatest writers have tackled . . . the most famous of which is a fourteenth century epic poem by an Italian named Dante Alighieri in which he describes in minute detail, his vision of nine circles of Hell.  Hell, has in fact, been discussed and described so often and so much that it’s become a ubiquitous part of our everyday language . . . what the hell, where the hell and how the hell, being familiar phrases to ordinary folk the world over.

So . . . where the hell is this talk about Hell getting us in a book review???

Ahhh . . . thanks for asking.  The answer is simple, but lengthy, and it involves a novel that is so new, it’s only edition to date is the British one, published in England.  It’s description  so aroused my curiosity that I didn’t want to wait for it to be published in America . . . hopefully it will be soon . . . and guess what, the opening scene contains what can only be described as Hell for the protagonist, a Scottish man named Ash Henderson.  He’s the creation of the international number one bestselling author, Stuart MacBride.

A Song For The Dying, opens with Henderson, a former Detective Inspector for the Scottish National Police, serving a prison term for a murder he didn’t commit . . . and for which he’s been exonerated.  Trouble is, the crime lord who framed him for his brother’s murder has vowed to keep him in prison until she ‘gets tired of screwin’ with him and has him killed.  Henderson is still incarcerated because each time he comes up for parole, he’s beaten by thugs in the pay of Mrs. Kerrigan, the crime lord herself, and the thugs swear that Henderson attacked them. The result is that probation is denied, again and again in what can only be described as Hell for Ash Henderson, whose only crime was to be an honest cop who was unable to catch a serial killer the press has named ‘The Inside Man’ because he mutilates his victims by sewing a toy doll inside their stomachs.  Now, after a hiatus of several years in which no new murders have occurred, the killings have started again.  When a special task force is formed, Ash Henderson is released from prison to join it, but he’s only got one thing on his mind . . . revenge.  This novel will have fans of hard-boiled crime fiction jumping for joy . . . and everyone else on the edge of their seats reading the next chapter.


John Dwaine McKenna