Unlike having to listen to a narrator who seems to miss nuances from time to time, Mr MacBride is able to override that completely.
As well as being a talented writer, he’s clearly a pretty good mimic; it’s easy to imagine him as an actor on the stage, working in radio drama or doing the voiceover for a telly ad. The accents and voices he uses for the characters in Blind Eye make it easy to follow all the way through.
The novel tells the story of DS Logan McRae as he takes a kicking from criminals and his bosses alike while investigating the Oedipus case.
The Oedipus case involves attacks on the Polish community of Aberdeen which link into the local Scottish crime hierarchy and into prostitution and porn films. The handle for the case and the perp has been chosen because of his modus operandi, the gouging out of a victim’s eyes with a spoon and then the burning out of the eye-socket afterwards.
It’s fairly grim subject matter if taken at face value, but it’s handled in a way that makes the book light and dark in fairly equal measure.
All the way through there’s a humour that is very entertaining and that makes the gritty elements of the story more palatable. In fact, the book has the feel of a comic crime novel as much as anything else. MacBride barely misses the chance for a pun or a sharp retort and he really does have a huge variety in
his wit. The comedy enters some of the character creations in the book who seem like caricatures sketched by a cartoonist as well as into some of the
Along with MacRae, there’s the ever present lone-lesbian DI Steel who goes into overdrive on this one, not least because she’s in need of sperm (you’ll have to read it to work that one out).
As well as a tour of the Aberdeen underworld, there’s a strong section set in Poland that gives a vivid sense of place.
What I really enjoy about the writing style is that it’s always moving forwards. This provides a real sense of drive and momentum, something that kept me as a listener pinned to those speakers (not literally, though I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr MacBride has used that somewhere in his books). It makes the work very engaging and means there’s always something to look forward to.
Whether you go for this as a novel or in its adiobook form, you’re in for a treat.