His Bloody Project: Documents Relating to the Case of Roderick Macrae (Man Booker Prize Finalist 2016)

His Bloody Project: Documents Relating to the Case of Roderick Macrae (Man Booker Prize Finalist 2016)

by Graeme Macrae Burnet


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Man Booker Prize Finalist. LA Times Book Prize Finalist. New York Times Editor’s Choice. American Booksellers Association National Indie Bestseller! Named on “Best Book” lists by Newsweek, NPR, The Guardian, The Telegraph, and The Sunday Times!

In the smash hit historical thriller that the New York Times Book Review calls “thought provoking fiction,” a brutal triple murder in a remote Scottish farming community in 1869 leads to the arrest of seventeen-year-old Roderick Macrae.

There is no question that Macrae committed this terrible act. What would lead such a shy and intelligent boy down this bloody path? And will he hang for his crime?

Presented as a collection of documents discovered by the author, His Bloody Project opens with a series of police statements taken from the villagers of Culdie, Ross-shire. They offer conflicting impressions of the accused; one interviewee recalls Macrae as a gentle and quiet child, while another details him as evil and wicked. Chief among the papers is Roderick Macrae’s own memoirs where he outlines the series of events leading up to the murder in eloquent and affectless prose. There follow medical reports, psychological evaluations, a courtroom transcript from the trial, and other documents that throw both Macrae’s motive and his sanity into question.

Graeme Macrae Burnet’s multilayered narrative—centered around an unreliable narrator—will keep the reader guessing to the very end. His Bloody Project is a deeply imagined crime novel that is both thrilling and luridly entertaining from an exceptional new voice.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781628728309
Publisher: Arcade
Publication date: 09/12/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 206,267
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Graeme Macrae Burnet has established a reputation for smart and literary mystery writing with his highly praised first novel, The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau, which was featured in the List’s Top Scottish Books of 2014. He was born and brought up in Kilmarnock and has lived in Prague, Bordeaux, Porto, and London. He now lives in Glasgow, Scotland.

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His Bloody Project: Documents relating to the case of Roderick Macrae 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Incredible book but also very sad. The hardship endured by so many during that time is sad and eye opening. I definitely recommend this book.
Ambur More than 1 year ago
Wow. I don't usually read thrillers or any kind of crimes novels, so HIS BLOODY PROJECT isn't my typical genre, but we'd been getting seriously excited about it at work because it was nominated for the 2016 Man Booker Prize (it ended up being a finalist, but didn't win), and my company distributed it for the first time in Canada. The description had me seriously intrigued, so I gave it a shot, and I'm so glad that I did! I decided to snag a sample copy for myself to read when I flew home to Alberta in September, and I'm so glad that I did! The story was extremely intriguing, complicated and I didn't want to put it down! HIS BLOODY PROJECT is complex, and it'll leave you feeling more conflicted than you can possibly imagine. It'll keep you up at night reading, and when you're not reading, it'll still be on your mind. It's the kind of story that sticks with you and I'm extremely glad that I decided to go outside of my regular reading habits and give it a shot because it turned out to be one of my favourite books this year! If you're already a thriller fan, definitely read this, and if it's not your typical genre either, but you find the story compelling, I wholeheartedly recommend it because I thought it was remarkable! I had a total book hangover after finishing this one, and it's continued to be on my mind for the past few months! * I received a sample copy of HIS BLOODY PROJECT through work. This review is my own honest opinion, and are only a reflection of my own thoughts. * This review also appears on my blog and on other social media profiles.
Daniel_Martin More than 1 year ago
I've never read a book with a structure like this before. In researching his family's ancestry the author supposedly comes upon a newspaper article about a distant teenaged relative, Roderick Macrae, who was tried in 1860s Scotland for a murder in a small farming community. Most of the book is the young man's memoir that he is urged to write by his barrister, who wants to understand why Macrae committed the murder and has no qualms about pleading guilty. Other elements include neighbors' depositions, his doctor's "learned" observations, and newspaper accounts of the trial. All in all, it's a fascinating look at one man's path to ruin--an eye opening psychological study.
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
His Bloody Project is the second novel by award-winning Scottish author, Graeme Macrae Burnet. It is presented in the form of a set of historical documents pertaining to murders committed in early August, 1869 by Roderick John Macrae. These ‘documents’ are ‘edited’ by Macrae Burnet, who explains in his preface how he came across this fascinating case. They include interviews with people who knew Macrae, Macrae’s own written account of events, a handy map, post-mortem reports on the victims, an excerpt from a book on mental illness written by J. Bruce Thomson, Resident Surgeon to the General Prison for Scotland at Perth, and an account of the trial proceedings, compiled from various press articles of the time. The Epilogue describes the aftermath to the trial. Roddy Macrae stood accused of three brutal murders, to which he freely admitted, and for which he, at no time, showed remorse. His solicitor, Andrew Sinclair had asked him to write his own account of events, and had also asked Mr Thomson to give an opinion on his client. It soon becomes clear that Mr Sinclair was hoping to have Macrae found Not Guilty by reason of Insanity. Roddy’s account is comprehensive, quite eloquent and credible and makes a compelling read in itself, but Macrae Burnet makes it even more interesting by throwing in a few conflicting facts and opinions with the other documents. By inserting these contradictions, Macrae Burnet leaves it to the reader to form their own opinion: was seventeen-year-old Roddy a cold, calculating murderer? Or, having lost the steady support and moderating influence of his mother, was he simply an overwhelmed young man, driven to a gross overreaction to his ultimate victim’s continued persecution of his family. Macrae Burnet easily captures the era with his descriptive prose, conveying not just the oppression suffered by the Highland crofters, but also the mindset of society and the prevailing knowledge of mental illness. This is a cleverly constructed, thought-provoking novel and it is easy to understand why it was shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize. It will be interesting to see what this talented author does next.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Not much of a story line. Blessedly short
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Chowbell More than 1 year ago
This was a great mystery, thriller, character study, slice of history. It deserved to be nominated for the Man Booker Prize,. What a read!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Xcellent book the right mix of fiction and historical fact..... Felt sorry for Roddy and family but could also understand the verdict...mix of historical fact and fiction worked so well
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A tragic story of poverty and loss and rage, set in victorian Scotland very well written even though the topic was ghastly I was drawn in and read every word. The same story recurrs today.