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Alex MacLean Books In Order

Publication Order of Detective Allan Stanton Books

Grave Situation (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
One Kill Away (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Sorrowful Road (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Banished (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Alex MacLean is an investigative mystery author best known for writing the police procedural series The Detective Allan Stanton series. He wrote the first novel of the series “Grave Situation” in 2011 to much popularity and critical acclaim. Apart from his writing, MacLean is also an avid reader who loves reading about cultural history. He also loves to practice martial arts which is not surprising given that he spent most of his adult life working in the security industry in Canada. His long-awaited single standing novel “Banished” was published in 2019. He currently lives in Canada and is still working on more titles in the Allan Stanton series.

Alex Maclean does reinvent the police procedural in his Detective Allan Stanton series. Most procedurals would emphasize either the victim, the killer, the science or the investigators. Stanton writes his stories from the perspectives of both the investigators and the killer, and balances the crime by including the perspectives of all people that are impacted by it. While there may be several stories in each novel from gruesome murders, to the story of a father trying to reconnect with his son a father trying to deal with a gruesome crime that destroyed his family, he brings it all together to make for a satisfying and solid story. While the stories that may be told in each novel are unique, they are all given equal weighting given that they are equally essential to the main story of the novel. Maclean showcases his exceptional skills in fully fleshing out his characters and portraying their experience in so much detail that despite the many stories in each novel, each feels like a full story. He also gives each novel note-perfect tone and setting by building realistic worlds that are populated by characters that emotionally and intellectually engage the reader. The fact that each story and each perspective dovetails perfectly into the overall story shows how skilled MacLean is.

Alex knows how to get into the heads of each of his characters fleshing them out with excellent backstories. Such is his knack for storytelling that you can feel appalled at their actions while also getting a sense of why they do what they do. Even with some of his worst characters, you can feel a hint of sympathy just from the history and motivations that MacLean gives them. This is because he is so good at humanizing the feelings and thoughts of his characters in a way no other procedural writer does. He also has the gift of painting his autopsies and crime scenes so accurately and vividly that one feels like they are at the scene. He knows how to use the exact word in a given situation to convey the smells, feels, and nuances of each scenario. The lead in Maclean’s novels is Detective Allan Stanton of the Halifax Police Force who is introduced in the first novel of the series “Grave Situation.” Just like many detective protagonists, he has his own problems in that his son and wife have left him and left town. He now has to deal with a frustrating case and he cannot seem to make any headway, which leaves him fast approaching burnout and questioning his career decisions. He is a great series character who often sees the worst in humanity that makes him want to walk away from it all.

“Grave Situation” the first novel of the Allan Stanton series by Alex MacLean introduces Allan Stanton, a troubled homicide detective in the Halifax Police Force. He has lost everything including his sense of justice having lost his family. He finally decides to leave the police force and start anew when he is put in charge of several murders that have all the hallmarks of a serial killer. MacLean switches viewpoints between the killer and the investigator and other characters. The novel starts with a senseless murder and investigators find little forensic evidence. But Stanton is not one to give up and as bodies pile up he starts seeing the links. The novel provides fair insights into the lead’s personal troubles and his life that helps to personalize and humanize the character. It is easy to know the killer from early in the novel as he provides his perspective. However, MacLean provides such an intriguing expose on why he is killing and keeping the parts of the dead people, which comes as a complete surprise.

In MacLean’s “One Kill Away,” Detective Stanton cannot take any more of the callous nature of human beings. His wife left him and now he has to take weeks off of work to get to see and bond with his son. But then he is recalled when his partner has a personal crisis, which means he has to pick up the slack. Audra who is Stanton’s partner is devastated when her teenage daughter attempts suicide. She had been the victim of aggressive bullying and had finally caved in to the pressure and wanted to end it all. Her parents never knew that she was in torment or even that something was wrong in their daughter’s life. Allan takes over her cases and learns that it involved the brutal murder of two men that the department believes were gang-related. However, Allan thinks there is something more sinister in the killing. The killer seems to be leaving clues at each scene and is clearly following a list. As he gets closer to apprehending the man, he suddenly finds himself the target of the deranged man.

“Sorrowful Road” the third novel has Allan Stanton haunted by a case he could not solve. It was the homicide of a twenty-two-year-old girl at one of the most tranquil spots in town – Point Pleasant Park. But then things get even more interesting when the body of another girl is found on the anniversary of her death. The modus operandi of the killer indicates that it may have been the same killer despite the long lull, which is atypical for a serial killer. Stanton is joined by Audra Price as they search for the cold-blooded killer. But they seem to have underestimated the callousness of their opponent as he turns out to be a unique psychopath. They soon learn that the man has a file of unsolved cases that run over a decade. He had cut a huge swath of carnage across the country conducted with bone-chilling efficiency. The only way to find the killer is by reliving their lives which will lead to the monster who already knows they are looking for him.

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