Author – Stuart MacBride
Published – 2005
Genre – Crime fiction
It is perhaps inevitable that if you buy a book for someone else in your household, there’s a fair chance that sooner or later you will have the opportunity to read it. So there may have been an ulterior motive in giving “Cold Granite” to my husband for Christmas last year. He’s not a huge fan of crime fiction, but my excuse was that we both enjoyed hearing Stuart talk at Reading Festival of Crime Writing last November.
So – the book. This was MacBride’s first book and starts off the series that features DS Logan McRae. Oddly the book makes you feel as if you’ve just walked into the middle of a story – but then I guess life is like that. McRae has been off sick for a year (something to do with a stabbing) and an attack on his DI sees him drafted in to work on a case involving the mutilated body of a small boy.
The book is full of sub-plots, and red herrings. but despite being fairly long the story does keep moving along. As well as the murdered boy, McRae also has to contend with missing children, frantic parents, a pushy journalist, and a knee-capped gangster. Despite all of this MacBride also finds time to fill in a little of McRae’s backstory, and a smattering of love interest.
I really like McRae as the main character – he’s a very “normal” detective, without the clichéd flaws of many others in crime fiction. I thought the other main characters were also well written and engaging and they made a great ensemble. I hope they all make a reappearance in the series.
The book has a very Scottish feel, as well as the constant rain and snow, MacBride infuses the whole book with the language and you can hear the Scottish accents in the dialogue.
I know some people will find the subject matter (murdered children) distasteful, but it wasn’t something that I was personally bothered by. In fact I think that it wasn’t actually very graphic and although there is strong language, nothing felt out-of-place or jarred.
If I have any grumbles it would be that there were a few points in the book where I wanted to shout at the pages with frustration (I was commuting – I resisted the temptation). I don’t want to give anything away, but sometimes the investigation seemed to ignore things which seemed obvious to me as the reader “go back & look at such and such” I was (mentally) shouting. With a bit of luck this sort of thing will disappear in the subsequent books.
A great police procedural, I look forward to buying my husband more of MacBride’s books!
Score – 4/5