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His Bloody Project ~ Graeme Macrae Burnet

Excellent. Hooked from the start.

In the late 1800’s, in the remote Highlands of Scotland, a brutal triple-murder takes place and there is no shred of doubt who the killer is. It is nice natured seventeen-year-old Roderick Macrae. How could this have happened? In a small village of a handful of inhabitants, where the gravest of crimes till date were nothing more than petty thievery.

My first impression of the book was reminiscent of sentiments I had when I watched the first episode of Fargo. Graeme Macrae Burnet is a clever writer. He insists that the book is based on real events, on an ancestor of his. Which is furthermore believable given that the protagonist shares the writer’s name. Very clever indeed, because I spent some time initially just trying to figure out if this was true crime or not. I’ll save you the research – it is not. This is entirely a fictional piece of work.

In its historical setting, the book is masterful. The tone is somber and the events unfolding are narrated with forensic precision, devouring you into Roderick’s plight. That is what any writer wants from their book is it not? For the reader to root for the protagonist, despite knowing what they are ultimately capable of.

I am not usually a reader of genre crime fiction, and I commend Burnet and his publishers for marketing the book as that – but it is very far from it. It is very much a literary piece of work, if you are not opposed to using that term.

Why you should read it –

  • For the admirably artistic way that crime can be written
  • I wasn’t once bored as I read the book
  • For the thrill of loving a villain

Why you shouldn’t read it –

  • If you’re looking for a classic whodunnit
  • If you don’t like unresolved bits in the books that you read