This is ‘the real sh*t,’ if you’ll pardon my language. Allan Guthrie and Stuart MacBride might have written novels suitable for dyslexic adults, but the books are no more simple or childish, let alone tamer, than their longer counterparts.
I had read one crime novel by Allan Guthrie before, which was depressing and gritty. Excellent, but too bleak for my comfort. Stuart MacBride is new to me, apart from playing the part of Sherlock Holmes during Bloody Scotland recently.
And unlike their female colleagues whose books I reviewed the other day, I suspect Allan and Stuart simply don’t know the meaning of the word light-hearted. As for happy endings; don’t even go there.
Bye Bye Baby, by Allan Guthrie tells the sad and puzzling story about a missing child. We follow the detective whose job it is to find the boy, and how, due to the abnormal nature of the case, he encounters unforeseen difficulties.
I did get one clue correctly, but not the rest. You just know something isn’t right, but which something, and how not right? Trust me, it won’t make you feel good. (At least I trust it won ‘t.)
Now, Sawbones by Stuart MacBride seemed much more streamlined, in a rough American style kind of way. Lots of foul language and lots of killings, but you sort of expected… Well, you shouldn’t.
As the title suggests, it is not for the fainthearted, and thirty years ago I would have stopped halfway. Sawbones is not your typical serial killer with a saw. Nor is one of his victims, the teenage daughter of a New York gangster, a typical victim.
But it won’t be the way you expect. Whatever you expected. There is a certain charm, hidden deep within the violence and gore. Which doesn’t stop me from feeling relief at the civilised length of these two novels. 100 pages of gruesome is about right.
I can truthfully say that dyslexic adults have some great stuff to look forward to. There should be far more books like these, and they should be much more widely known. Whether or not you find reading hard, you have the right to some good sh*t.