Wednesday, February 04, 2015

The 45% Hangover by Stuart MacBride


It's the night of the big Referendum when everyone should be out voting either for or against Scottish independence. All Acting Detective Inspector Logan McRae has to do is find a missing "No" campaigner somewhere in Aberdeen. It shouldn't be too hard even though, as votes start being counted, trouble is beginning to brew in the pubs and on the streets. But when has anything ever been simple for McRae? He's picked up a promising lead on his missing campaigner, but he's finding it difficult to follow it. Why? It's simple. Detective Chief Inspector Roberta Steel has other plans for him, that's why. And once her plans begin to fall into place, everything starts going dreadfully wrong....

"The 45% Hangover" would be an excellent introduction to Stuart MacBride's McRae and Steel mystery series because it's got all the marvelous pacing, humor and wit with none of the darkness that's usually found in the books. Yes, this is very light in tone and should not be read as serious crime fiction. Do what I did-- read it for fun, and fun ye shall have. I think I had a big grin plastered on my face throughout most of the story.

"The 45% Hangover" by Stuart MacBride
eISBN: 9780008123277
Harper © 2014
Digital Short Story, approximately 80 pages

Short Story featuring Logan McRae and DCI Steel
Rating: A
Source: Purchased from Amazon.


I needed a little separation from my mini-review above because I want to say something about the series in general. For the first few books in this series, I was in love with MacBride's storytelling, his sense of humor, and the character of Logan McRae. When I think of McRae, one of the first thoughts that springs to mind is "If it weren't for bad luck, he'd have no luck at all." Nothing goes McRae's way. Nothing. But somehow he always manages to get the job done. 

And then Roberta Steel became his superior officer, and my love affair soured. Evidently Steel must be a big hit because she's featured more and more in each book. Whereas so many other readers love her and think she's hilarious, I think she's a menace to her fellow officers. I can't stand her. I have never seen a character do so little work and create so much mayhem. If she only got paid for the actual work she did, the woman would be on the dole. (Err... welfare on this side of the pond.) I have had to work for people like her, and I just can't see the humor in it anymore. It's gotten so bad that I've been hesitating to read the books in the series that are sitting on my to-be-read shelves.

Have any of the rest of you had one specific character ruin a series for you? Please let me know that I'm not alone! (And if you're wondering why I rated this story as highly as I did, it was due in part to the fact that Steel came in for some well-deserved aggravation!)



  1. Oh, that's such an interesting question, Cathy, about characters who ruin a series. I wouldn't say I can't stand Tony Hillerman's Janet Pete, but I certainly didn't like her very much in the novels where she appeared. I didn't think she added a whole lot to the stories, to be honest. At first, I thought she wasn't bad as she defended a character that Jim Chee was investigating. But after that, I just didn't care much for her, and quite honestly I was glad when she left the series.

    1. Thank you. Even though you didn't have as strong an aversion to Janet Pete as I do to Roberta Steel, I don't feel as alone!

  2. That is an interesting question, Cathy. I'm trying to think but nobody is coming to mind right now. I have had reasons that I've left a series - don't read Patricia Cornwell anymore and haven't for long time - that whole Bennett thing. Mostly, I just get tired of the characters and then there are so many more books out there.

    I will say that Stuart MacBride has been on my list for a long time. Have you read BIRTHDAYS FOR THE DEAD? I have been thinking about reading that one soon.

    1. It's been so long since I stopped reading Cornwell that I can't remember the specifics. And I just remembered a second series that I stopped reading due to one specific character.

      I have Birthdays for the Dead on my TBR shelves, and I've been looking at it a lot because I know that it's the first in a new series that shouldn't have Roberta Steel in it. If she didn't remind me so strongly of a couple of people who caused me years of ulcer-inducing work, I'd be able to deal with her! LOL

  3. I stopped reading Cornwall years ago, too.
    I stopped reading the Sharon McCone series by Marcia Muller because the stories changed and started going off into international terrorism issues and all sorts of topics that I didn't want to read about. I liked the character's working for a legal aid office and the people in it and the plot lines.
    I'm just not interested in the plots now.

    I also stopped reading Linda Barnes' Carlotta Carlyle books years ago. I loved those books, but they also took a turn I wasn't interested in, going into South America, etc. I was fine with Boston-area crimes and characters.

    1. I've stopped reading some series because of the way the story lines went, too, Kathy. It's rare that I'll stop due to one particular character.


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