"Flesh House" is the fourth in Stuart MacBride's outstanding series of gritty crime novels set in his dark and brooding Aberdeen: a city in which violent crime and untimely death are only ever a street corner away. Or, in this case, only as far as a container on Aberdeen's dockside, one of many transported each day by ships supplying the oil and gas rigs in the North Sea. Only someone has noticed that one piece of meat has a nipple ring; and as the police investigate the find, more and more human meat turns up.
Two decades previously the police had encountered a very similar series of brutal and grisly murders, carried out across the UK by "The Flesher". The police eventually tracked down and locked up Aberdonian Ken Wiseman. Only he was later released on appeal because of problems with police procedures when he was arrested, and now he has disappeared. He was last known working for his brother in law, the Aberdeen butcher who supplied the meat found in the container, and the hunt is on to find Wiseman before even more people are abducted, killed, and butchered.
Detective Sergeant Logan MacRae finds himself minding an original member of the team who hunted The Flesher, now the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, and the story develops on a number of different levels as more people go missing and more human meat turns up in the food chain. Meanwhile MacRae is offered a Detective Inspector post - in the West Midlands - by his new colleague. Stuart MacBride is a master of managing the way his plot is revealed to his readers, and the twists and turns in "The Flesher" will certainly not disappoint any of his growing number of fans. What is particularly good about his approach in this book (and some others in the series) is the way the reader starts with certainties they later come to question. A novel departure (and one not found in later books in the series) is the inclusion of a number of double page spreads featuring "press clippings". These are very successful in drawing together strands of the plot at a particular moment, and if you pay attention, some also contain fascinating background detail not referred to elsewhere in the novel.