Book Review: His Bloody Project #ManBookers2016


Also In the series 

Book Review: The Sellout 

Man Bookers 2016 Shortlist

I don’t know how to categorize this book. Set in 1860s, the author claims that the events in the book are inspired or part of the actual historical event, so we are safe to call it Historical Fiction but at the same time the premise is for set for very legit crime fiction.

Set the rural Northern County of Applecross in Scotland, the book follows the story of the central character Roderick Macrael- a fifteen year old who brutally kills three people. He immediately surrenders & admits the guilt & is captured by the local police. The tone of the book at the beginning is that of crime reporting but later the “first person” prison dairy takes over. Here, with his skillful writing, Roderick narrates the story of his family & the hardship they faced- thereby establishing the motive of his actions.

The character development of Roderick is a lesson in writing itself.  He is established as intelligent in school & good in behavior in general but he struggled to satisfy his father in their family occupation of crofting. His relationship with his father, sister & neighbors shapes him in to  what he is, when he commits those crimes. The final part of the book is the trail which maybe the only part that I wished could had been better. It seemed like it was building for some big surprise, but it didn’t.

I don’t know if this book can win the Bookers’ or not, but by including it ahead of heavyweights says that the jury is inviting new voices & different writing styles. No one outside Scotland knew about Contraband, the publisher of this book. I hope this shortlist will not only leap the fortune of the publishing housing & writer, but also inspire many others to promote new voices.

I rated His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet 5 out of 5 stars ( more like 4.5 because of the ending) on Goodreads.

Next on #ManBookers2016- Book review of Eileen & Hot Milk


11 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi, I think the brilliance of the book is that it is portrayed as a real life event. As per the end notes the author researched in the area and time period and then concocted this brilliant book in such a manner that it comes across as a real case. He does mention that some of the characters are based on or inspired from real people but not in the context of the story though. The main protagonist, sorry to correct, is seventeen and I Contraband has been on people’s radar for a while, although for me this could also be because I spend a considerable time in UK.

    Nevertheless, loved the book and how it is presented. I also liked how it ended in the sense that the reader is left with all the possibilities and just like the jury it is on to us to make up our own mind about the events.



    1. Thank you for your comment. I agree with you that the style itself is very interesting & that is where it has hooked so many admirers.

      Thank you for the correction about Roderick’s age. I will correct it. Also, what I meant about Contraband that is not one of those mainstream publishing house that are used to see in the Bookers’, especially the ones from UK. I have not read any books by them .

      I am glad that you also enjoyed the book. Cheers 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. MyBookJacket says:

    great review as always. I may rate it 5 stars because I’d not expect the surprise ending after reading your review. Another great review for this book. Can’t wait to read this!


    1. Thank you. Did I spoil the ending? Sorry for that 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      1. MyBookJacket says:

        You’ve saved me from getting angry at it. Haha.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haha..then I don’t feel so bad 😛

        Liked by 1 person

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