His Bloody Project

His Bloody ProjectHis Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet
Published by Contraband on November 5th 2015
Pages: 280
ISBN: 1910192147
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4.5 stars

His Bloody Project was bloody good! Starting the book, I had no idea I would like it as much as I did. I read most of the book today. The book reads (and feels) like a memoir. This book feels as if it is a “true crime” non-fiction book. This is a novel – but the beauty of it is that it feels SO REAL!!!! This story is told through the “found memoir” of Seventeen year old Roderick “Roddy”Macrae and trial transcripts, the coroner’s report, the psychiatrist’s report and court testimony of villagers. The Author leads the reader to believe that he has found the 150 year old memoir of a person with the same last name as himself. But keep in mind, this is a Novel and not a memoir.

As I stated above, Seventeen year old, Roderick Macrae is telling his story for most of the book. He is the son of a crofter (tenant farmer who does not own the land he farms). His Mother died in childbirth and his depressed father is left to care for the family. Roderick paints a dreary picture of life in Culdie, a Scottish farming community. His story sounds, feels and is dreary. His family leads a harsh existence made even harder by Lachlan Mackenzie, the Constable, who wields his power to bully Roderick’s father, rob them of part of their land, and torment the family.

Roderick has killed three people. We know this. He admits to this. He is being held in Inverness Castle during his trial. During his imprisonment he has penned his memoir. Roderick paints a picture of his life, but then during the trial, those who live in the Highland community with him paint a differing story – thus making Roderick a very unreliable narrator. This is where the MAGIC happens. While I sat and read this part, I thought “Wait!” “What?” and “Wow!” this turned the book on a dime.

Yes, Roderick really did commit the Murders but what was really going on with him? Was he Mentally Ill? Was he just a poor boy from a poor family (sorry channeling Queen here). But seriously, was he a young man avenging all of the wrongs committed against his family or was something else entirely going on with this young man? Boy oh Boy was this book up my alley!

What I wished would have happened -well, I was hoping for the woman mentioned Roderick’s sister condition to be like that of his Mother’s. I wish that section would have come up. YES I am being vague so as not give away too much of the plot. I WISHED what Roderick walked in on and witnessed was mentioned. It was not. Are you kidding me??????? Why Not?

This book was a Man Booker Prize finalist. Not every book lives up to it’s hype. This one not only lived up to it’s hype – it jumped in the air, turned on a dime and nailed the landing!!! This is a book that I sat and thought about for most of the day. This is a book that one does not only read – but one feels. The atmosphere is just as much a character in this book as the “real” characters are. This book is, in reality, a psychological thriller parading as a memoir – bloody brilliant!


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