Grave Situation

Rated 4.10/5 based on 22 reviews
The murders have all the signs of a serial killer collecting trophies, but the truth is something more bizarre. More

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About Alex MacLean

Alex MacLean is a writer, martial artist and an avid reader, with a special interest in books dealing with cultural history. He makes his home in Nova Scotia where he has spent many years working in the security industry.

His novels are Grave Situation and One Kill Away. He's currently working on his third - Nine Days To Sunday.


Review by: April on Jan. 17, 2012 :
MacLean's characters are unique in this genre - we see not only the cracks in the armour of a hardened police officer, but also the human side of a serial killer that almost makes the reader feel pity for him. This is the most real murder mystery that I've ever read because it's not just about the scare factor or the suspenseful buildup - it actually takes the reader through all aspects of an investigation, top to bottom, and makes you understand the characters. A very good book by a talented author
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Michele Minor on Jan. 14, 2012 :
This crime drama is one that holds your interest until the last page. We do see a little bit about police detective, Allan Stanton’s private life though it doesn’t go into much detail. It does cover finding a serial killer on the loose in Halifax Canada and in a small Canadian town where we do discover why the killer did what he did. The book does keep you on the edge of your seat while you wait for the cops to find out who the serial killer was.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: MrsFlicker on Jan. 11, 2012 :
The energy an effort that the author spent on this novel is immediately evident. There is great time spent making sure that details are accurate; however, I have to be honest. I couldn’t finish it. For me, it was overly graphic and I question why. I am recommending this book for those who are not queasy readers and who love a good mystery/thriller. It just wasn't my style.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Doug Bower on Jan. 05, 2012 :
This is a crime/police procedural that is extremely graphic - particularly the descriptions of the crime scenes and autopsies. It also is heart wrenching as it deals with the impact of child abuse and family violence as well as the death of estranged children on the surviving family. Overall, the story is well developed and told from the perspective of both the police investigator and the criminal. For the most part it was fast paced and kept my interest. If you like hard core, graphic crime/police procedurals this book is for you. I found this book disturbing but amazing. Well worth the read.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: breezywriter on Dec. 25, 2011 :
I really enjoyed this book. The writing was tight, concise, and full of description. The story reminded me of something that should be an episode of Criminal Minds! I couldn't put it down.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Lesli Kerfien on Dec. 24, 2011 :
Book as whole was ok. The two stories were put together well but the serial killers life could have used more details. Kept me interested enough to finish, but took a while. The best part of the book is when the Lt was describing what happened durning the officer involved shooting.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Crocus on Dec. 03, 2011 :
This book kept me interested from beginning to almost the end. There were twists and turns in the plot that weren't too outlandish to believe, and the descriptions of the life of the police lieutenant who was hunting the killer and the way he became involved with the victims was well done. I do think the ending could have been a bit less flat, but that was really the only negative I would have to say about the book. I'm looking forward to the next novel by this author.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Diane Johnston on Dec. 02, 2011 :
This was a book I won via Librarything/Smashwords for a review. Really enjoyed this book, particularly because it took place mainly in Halifax, NS where I live! I've walked pretty much every street and area mentioned in the book and if I haven't, I know where it is so being able to picture it all as a real location made it that much better!

The book is a crime novel, and is about a police lieutenant hunting for a serial killer. We see the storyline from the officer's point of view and from the killer's point of view. Little by little we piece together the killer's background. We see bits of insight into the victims, their families and the personal life of the lieutenant as well.

There are very detailed forensic descriptions and some of the murder scenes are also descrited in detail and not for the squeamish, I'm afraid. There's a lot of trouble taken to make it very realistic feeling and it moves along really well. I very much enjoyed this!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Bill Thibadeau on Nov. 09, 2011 :
I won this book through LibraryThing in exchange for a review - so here it is.

The story is set in rural Canada and reminded me of John Stanford or Brian Freeman books. As I was delving into this book, I was thinking that this was a great debut novel worth high marks. The characters came to life for me. I enjoyed that the story was from two perspectives - the detective and the serial killer. The story flowed well and kept my interest until the story started winding down. The ending seemed a bit trite to me and underwhelming. I think the ending was a decent concept but not well executed. I remember thinking, good idea but it just fell a bit flat.

I liked the novel and recommend it heartily.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: jordan chapman on Nov. 08, 2011 :
Was an amazing read even though I felt that the plot kind of skipped certain parts, but the twists and investigation really kept me captivated. I got this through Library-thing and don't regret it!
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: CynDaVaz on Nov. 05, 2011 :
I won this book on Library Thing and I'm glad I did. It was well-written and engaging. I had a few minor issues with how some of the characters were over-developed, and a couple others weren't given enough development so that the ending felt a little more rushed than I would have liked. But overall, this was a great first effort by the author. Recommended.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Deb Novack on Oct. 28, 2011 :
This was an excellent read, that I could'nt put down. I almost felt as though I was in the middle of a real police investigation. Everything was tied into the plot, with so many different twists and turns throughout the story. Not only are the crimes heinous, but you also follow the struggles of a police detective that is overworked and stressed out about the way his life is going. While reading this book I could actually feel myself being drawn into the stories and lives of all the characters involved.
P.S. The ending was not what I was expecting. Great storytelling and writing.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Tony Brennan on Oct. 26, 2011 :
Dark crime thriller set in Canada covering both rural and urban environments. The subject matter is very grim and we are exposed to the underbelly of modern life.We follow Allan Stanton a police lieutenant in Halifax as he attempts to solve multiple murders in his bailiwick and the effect of dedicating your whole life to ambition and your profession and the consequences for himself and his personal life. There was a nice couple of twists in the story and the novel was a page turner and a very good example of the crime genre.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Mike Davis on Oct. 25, 2011 :
This is a very well written police mystery in the mold of Patricia Cornwell. The author demonstrates a very good knowledge of forensic analysis and the value of evidence. His chapter on autopsy is very well done and his command of medical terminology is evident. The story begins quickly and holds interest throughout with an unexpected solution and tense ending scene. I look forward to seeing more of Alex MacLean's work.

This was received from the author as an eBook in exchange for an honest review.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Kim Stone on Oct. 23, 2011 :
I won this book on Library Thing member giveaway in exchange for a review.

I loved this book! It is a very dark and detailed read. Believe me when I say you will have no idea what the crimes are all about until the end of the book.

The author had me concerned for Detective Stanton and his personal situation...I liked the end and would like to believe this is not the end of this multifaceted character.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Tona Cruz Dominguez on Oct. 19, 2011 :
I was not expecting such a dark story. This book read like an actual Police investigation. You feel for the overworked and burnt out police officer investigating the murders. The suspect is so mental twisted after years of abuse and neglect you end up feeling sorry for him. There are so many details into the mental aspect of the suspect that you can see his descent into a vicious psychopath. Definitely not a book to read at night.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Christopher Kellen on Oct. 16, 2011 :
Grave Situation is not the kind of book I normally pick up off the shelf. Generally speaking, I tend to stick to the realm of urban fantasy when looking for a detective-style yarn, although I do enjoy procedural crime TV shows on occasion.

The story is gripping, dark (dark dark dark) and draws you in even as you find yourself both fascinated and disgusted. Clearly, Mr. MacLean knows his crime fiction, and based on his apparent knowledge of the processes and procedures regarding everything from following a lead to an autopsy, may have first-hand experience. Everything was very convincing, and the plot expertly constructed. It is disturbing at times, with a relentlessly grim vision of the world and its main character, and achieves an excellent level of verisimilitude.

On the technical side, this book feels like one which is just teetering on the knife-edge of that polished, professional level that we’re all unconsciously looking for in a book. The formatting of the ePub version has no hyper-linked chapters, meaning that when I was using my online reader (Bookworm by O’Reilly) I was not able to close the window, as I would lose my place – and the one time that Firefox crashed on me, I had to manually click through the chapters in order to return to where I was. Also, I noticed a few minor typos, and one word confusion in a prominent place at the beginning of the book (‘except’ instead of ‘accept’).

Grave Situation is an engaging, gripping, psychological mystery that questions the wisdom of giving your whole life to your profession, and what happens when that whole house of cards comes crumbling down.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: ciska on Oct. 14, 2011 :
The book is telling two stories. One of lieutenant Alex Stanton working on some serial killings and the other of the serial killer.
There are several bodies found who all seem to be connected. Alex is put on the case and he gets personally too involved. How will he handle this when he finally faces the killer.

The book takes of a bit slow, a lot of detail and a lot of repeating. Specially the personal story of Alex seems to be repeated at some point. Despite that the book does catch an intriguing tone which makes you continue the book.
What I liked a lot is the detailed description of some parts of the book, it makes you feel like your watching an episode of CSI combined with Criminal Minds. (they could pick the script up easily) on the other hand those detailed description might stop some other people from continuing the book.

If you like a good crime novel and are not easily freaked out by well detailed description this book makes a good read.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Amy Siggelow on Oct. 08, 2011 :
I won this book from LibraryThing's Member Giveaways.

I enjoyed reading this book. The author spent a lot of time describing details which makes the reader feel as though they are actually part of the book. There were quite a few people in this story, which became confusing for a little while. I liked the way the author linked together events that happened at the beginning of the book to events happening later. It was like going through an actual murder investigation. Very good book!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Haresh Daswani on Aug. 30, 2011 :
Grave Situation was a unique detective mystery book. I have usually encountered many commonplace books of whodunits, but this book, pretty much like Pallahniuk's concept, revolves around strongly educating the reader to better understand and be put in the shoes of the main character, and other strong characters in the book.

I have always enjoyed being engrossed in the insanity of the character. The murderer here had strong issues, and it was presented well. While I could write on and on as to what was presented, it might ruin the story and the author, who has done an excellent job, will despise me.

Overall, this is a book every detective crime fan should read through. In fact, every other detective out there should go through this book as a refresher.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Heather O Shannon on July 16, 2011 : (no rating)
Wow!!! This is such a great book. One of those books that once you start reading it you turn on all the lights in the house and stay up all night reading it.
Congratulations Alex, Well done!!!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Roxanne on June 27, 2011 :
A great book to curl up on the couch with and waste away an afternoon. Grabs your attention and holds it throughout the story.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

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