Scottish Review of Books Review: Flesh House
Set in Aberdeen, Flesh House dramatises the interminable hunt for the Flesher, a psychologically unhinged serial killer who butchers his victims and puts their fleshly remains on the food market. All we know about the murderer at first is that he wears a mask of Margaret Thatcher while carrying out his misdeeds. Perhaps there is a covert political allusion here to the government cutbacks of the 1980s which served to deplete Scotland’s heavy industries. If so, the theme never progresses beyond a couple of lame gags. The characters that inhabit the book seem very much of the comic strip variety. Much of the action, as with MacBride’s earlier work, focuses upon DC MacRae who has a tendency to swither between sharp insights and foolish blunders. Much of the novel is peppered with poor jokes, melodrama and glib observations, as when one of the victims held captive ends up in dialogue with the ghost of her murdered husband. When she realises that she has been feeding on black puddings and sundry items from her husband’s butchered corpse, his ghost consoles her with the following anecdote: “Hey, at least I was tasty…It’s just meat, Honey. In the end we’re all just meat”.